by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, Scott Koblish and HiFi
The creative team that brought O.M.A.C. to the New 52 book reunite to showcase the adventures of The New Gods in the all new Infinity Man and the Forever People. Keith Giffen, Dan DiDio and Scott Koblish introduce some of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters to the New 52 universe. No prerequisite is needed for readers unfamiliar Kirby’s colorful and iconic characters from 1970 as long as they read carefully through this first issue. Giffen and DiDio are creating a new start to The Forever People cast for both a new audience and to please long time Kirby fans.
The New 52 is no stranger to some of the New Genesis residents. Darkseid, Desaad, Kanto Orion and New Genesis have made appearances in the pages of Geoff John’s Justice League, Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman and Paul Levitz’s World’s Finest. This is the first series dedicated to part of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World epic from which the aforementioned characters first appeared. The issue begins with a graduation speech presumably meant for the book’s protagonists. Five characters of the series are gathered together to make a trip to Earth using a Mother Box. The first act of the book carries out as if readers are already familiar with these characters, names are spoken but only once and not for the whole crew. This might cause some confusion for new readers. Not until the five Boom Tube make their way to Earth are new readers given names and small background details of the New Genesis characters. Vykin Balduar, Serifan Balduar, Beautiful Dreamer and Mark Moonrider are given proper introduction by a cleverly named bio-engine owned by Big Bear. Big Bear welcomes the five and informs of some of the features on Earth. The issue ends with short glimpse of the antagonist of the premier story arc.
Similar to Kirby’s plot, the Forever People are sent from New Genesis to protect Earth. There are some minor changes implied. According to Big Bear’s dialogue, a reader might infer that this might be a missionary group as well as defense team against the invasion of Darkseid’s minions. Giffen and DiDio are planting familiar seeds of discourse among the members of the team. The writers reveal some tensions between group members that come across slightly forced especially since this takes place before new readers are given a small background for each character later in the book. This may confuse readers at first but does not hinder the overall enjoyment of the book once it’s read in its entirety.
Giffen and Koblish recreate the same energy and style that made O.M.A.C. a beautiful book to behold. This time the art style has a bit of a John Byrne flare however there is no mistaking that Giffen is at the helm. Giffen’s heavy pencils and gratuitous speed lines embody the other worldliness that should accompany the premise of this book. Giffen keeps natural proportions along with animated facial expressions. Koblish embellishes the block like features and adds extensive shading and depth. HiFi’s colors are a bright and nice contrast to the heavy dark lines. The art team provides nicely detailed backgrounds and creates a 70’s vibe complimentary of the book’s source material.
Aside from a slightly ambiguous first chapter, Infinity Man and the Forever People is a fun read. The title has potential to provide diversity and light hearted adventure to the New 52 line of books. DiDio and Giffen will hopefully be able to introduce more characters from Kirby’s Fourth World saga as the title continues.