The second issue of The New Gods opens with a spectacular description and image of the opposing worlds of Apokolips and Highfather’s home, then a double-truck view of Supertown taken from the surface of New Genesis, where futuristic children are at play on fantastic devices. Next Highfather is taking heed of The Source’s latest message — “WAR — FOLLOW ORION” and young Lightray pleads with the wise leader to join Orion on Earth in the great fight, but Highfather refuses the new god’s request. Then we travel to the third locale in the epic at hand, humble Earth.
On Earth, the home of mortal man, Orion the Hunter moves among strange allies and fearful enemies! Man is only dimly aware of the forces maneuvering, lunging for alignment on his world — for somewhere in man himself is the key to victory for the warring factions of… The New Gods!
Orion is the first to enter his ally Dave Lincoln’s apartment, the four recently freed Apokolips hostages behind him. Calmly, patiently sitting on a simple padded chair is the most malevolent power in the universe, O’ Deadly Darkseid! “Hold, friends!” orders the New Genesis warrior, “Do not enter this room! It is accursed!” Darkseid conveys his greetings, bidding his nemesis, “Welcome to Earth, Orion! It is known to me that you raided Apokolips before arriving here!”
What Orion does not see is the figure, back rigid against the wall, standing behind the door. Our hero, hands up and ready to throttle the King of the Damned, delays his attack on Darkseid. “You hesitate, Orion! You can sense why — but you don’t know — do you? But Darkseid is free of mysteries! He can act!”
Or, more correctly, can get his surrogates to act, as the form behind the door lunges and zaps Orion with a wand-like weapon, telling the ruler of Apokolips, “Your fighting arm strikes, master!” Darkseid gloats, “Loyal Brola has been at the ready! His is the power of the Shock-Prod — and the Hand of Stone!” The next caption states, “The Shock-Prod hisses and stuns and lashes at Orion, who finds no escape from it!” But Orion is without his Astro-Force equipment — where did he leave it… in the street? — and must endure the violent charges without the aid of a weapon. “I’ll have to risk the shocks and turn on my adversary!”
Brola is stunned by Orion’s stupendous stamina. “Incredible! He lives through this! He advances — even as I unleash maximum power!” Orion grabs the attacker’s arm wielding the Shock-Prod. “Aaaaaaa! He’s done the impossible!” Brola cries. “In the cause of New Genesis,” Orion growls, “I can do no less, Brola!” But his enemy grabs an opportunity by slamming Highfather’s stepson with his free appendage. WHOK! “You seized the wrong arm, Orion! You forget my Hand of Stone!”
Then we get a closeup of the villain’s mitt, looking like a hand melded to a brick, as Orion strains to keep it from bashing his face. “You’re done, Orion!” predicts Brola. “This lethal blow shall never fall! I-I must summon my last spark of strength!” says Orion, and throwing off his adversary, “–and end your vicious career!” Smashing through Dave Lincoln’s apartment wall, Darkseid’s agent is incredulous. “No living thing could have survived my attack! I have been fighting a mad, cosmic animal!” About to plummet to the street far below, Brola implores, “Darkseid! Master! I call on you to save one of your own!”
Then — POOF! — the wielder of the Hand of Stone vanishes in the night sky and, as Harvey Lockman observes, “Old Granite Puss is gone too!”
Darkseid and his chagrined fighter have escaped via Tele-Ray and appear in “one of the secret bases established in the city.” An underling cries in joy at their arrival. “The master has met Orion and brings news of a victory!” The Master of the Holocaust is disgusted with his “fighting arm.” “Look at whipped Brola and think again! No, there was no victory!” Bowed, nearly on his knees, Brola implores, “There is a madness in Orion, master! He fights with the fury of one born of Apokolips!” Now Darkseid is furious, kicking Brola with contempt. “Enough, dog! Find your kennel and nurse your well-deserved wounds!” Brola simpers, crashing to the floor, “I go, master, I go!”
And, verily, Orion’s hope to end Brola’s “vicious career” comes true, as this is the last we get of this relatively nondescript bad guy in the Fourth World opus. I mean, we only get to see the villain in an even dozen panels in the story and hardly once to we catch a decent view of the poor bastard. Well, maybe that’s enough and we’ll leave Darkseid’s onetime “fighting arm” in his dog house, licking his aging scars and whimpering into the water bowl.