Day 45: The Infinity Man!

“There is an awesome, indescribable crash of cosmic thunder! Then –”
“Those who summon the Infinity Man — summon justice!

When Mother Box levitates, and the young members of The Forever People place their hands on her and recite the mantra, “TAARU!” they disappear and in their place materializes The Infinity Man.

The conceptualization of The Forever People, that of being a basically non-violent group of young people, however fantastical, might have proven a slight quandary for Jack Kirby, the king of violent, bombastic comics, and it could be The Infinity Man was his clever solution. The character, who bides his time in another dimension until called forth by the super-kids, is obviously a warrior for justice. Sure, you could say, the FP/IM connection has an antecedent with the Captain Marvel/Billy Batson switcheroo, right down to the magic word (Shazam!). But so what? It’s a device that works.

Somewhat unfortunately, I think, The Infinity Man wasn’t used enough — or explained with much depth — as he had but few appearances in the mere 11 issues of The Forever People. A gorgeous pin-up page in #4 is captioned, “From the far reaches beyond space and time, where real and unreal have no meaning, emerges a champion whose powers are not governed by the laws of our universe!” He is a joy to behold, with golden skin (could he be “Him”?) and wonderfully Total Kirby Costume.

Still, why exactly do the kids have this changing-places “arrangement” with The Infinity Man, using a word Big Bear says in #1? Certainly, though they profess peaceful interaction, the group is plenty powerful given Big Bear’s ability to concentrate his atomic structure into almost invulnerable strength, Mark Moonrider’s “Megaton Touch,” Vykin the Black’s “Magna-Power,” and Serafin’s multi-purpose “Cosmic Cartridges.” (Beautiful Dreamer? Well, she can convey scary images…).

Anyway, for whatever reason, Jack omits The Infinity Man from the action in the majority of issues, #4-10, but his reappearance in the final issue (which sports a nifty “Infinity Man Returns!” blurb on the cover) contains a great, old-fashioned slugfest and, let’s just say, IM goes out in style…

His powers? Well, he gained them from “distant regions — where natural laws do not apply,” and they include: He can fly in our atmosphere and survive in space without mechanical assistance; pass through solid objects (a very cool moment in #3 has the character gliding through rock, telling us, “Earth and stone become as fluid as sea waters — and I move through them as does a swimmer in the blue deeps!” I mean, just imagine that ability!); cancel out detection beams; possesses super-strength; has powerful “Infini-Beams” emit from his hands; manipulates the atoms of objects to restructure them… yikes, what can’t this guy do?

3 thoughts on “Day 45: The Infinity Man!

  1. patrick ford

    The Infinity Man seemed like a Samurai to me. His skin tone is, like Sonny Sumo’s, the comic book shorthand used when depicting Asians. His costume with the striping and high shoulders also somewhat resembles Samurai attire.

    Like The Black Racer, he’s not a resident of either Apokolips or New Genesis and enters our universe by way of a mystical exchange.

    Echoes of Thor; there are some indications in Kirby’s border notes that Kirby saw Thor as displacing Donald Blake, something which Blake would have feared. In the version Stan finally settled on, Blake was no more than a figment created by Odin, not a real man.

  2. Axel M. Gruner

    He’s a fantastic concept, and maybe there’s a close conceptual connection to the original Captain Marvel: CM is the adult ‘image’ conjured by the child ‘artist’, the Infinity Man is called from “the far reaches beyond space and time, where real and unreal have no meaning”… the realm of imagination? Kirbyspace? The Imaginal?

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