With this issue we get a long, hard look at the Great Villain of Jack Kirby’s opus and, as a kicker, a splendidly vile portrayal of his number two man, the sinister Desaad. Especially resonate too is the overview of this Super War slowly engulfing Earth, as Orion shares with his newfound Earth friends nightmare visions of servitors and monsters roaming our unsuspecting planet. (The creatures of panels two and three on page 14, never seen again in the Fourth World, while relatively generic in Kirby terms, are especially enticing and one can only dream what Jack intended to show of their dastardly affairs!)
The creator is still setting the scene initiated in the debut number and, again, it’s a spectacular vision — the opposing worlds of the new gods on page one (note the para-demons flying above Apokolips!), the idyllic paradise of New Genesis on the double-page spread that followed, the Moses-like majesty of Highfather conferring with Lightray (sporting a one-time only metallic mask that is especially groovy), and Darkseid himself aloof in a chair with an Earthling’s humble apartment before disappearing (Orion says to his allies, staring intently on that piece of Dave Lincoln’s furniture: “As for the arch-enemy of all life — you have seen him –! That empty chair still reeks of his presence!” Will Murphy’s Oil Soap take care of that stench, ya think?)… Too much!
Brola and His Hand of Stone…? Well, not much to brag about but the Fear Machine is impressive! Most of all though, Darkseid is (umm) set in stone as a character here and the hints of Orion’s origin, mayhap as one born on Apokolips, adds a fine texture. Two thumbs of stone up!