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Death of the New Gods #4

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2008
By: Michael Deeley

Jim Starlin
Jim Starlin (p), Art Thibert (i)
DC Comics
An unknown entity has been killing the New Gods of New Genesis and Apocalypse. Lightray, Dr. Bedlam, and dozens of others had fallen to this unknown foe. When Big Barda is killed, her husband, Scott Free, unleashes his hidden power: The Anti-Life Equation. Scott, Orion, and Superman have confronted Darkseid who claims ignorance of the killerís identity. But his own investigations have led him to the Anti-Life force unleashed in Cosmic Odyssey, and an early experiment on humans. Meanwhile, Takion, leader of New Genesis, has lost his connection with The Source of the Universe. He sees The Wall between the universe, and the Source displays the bodies of the newly dead. He also finds the remains of The Black Racer, death itself, before he is killed. But if death is dead, how can the gods be dying? Metronís investigations through time have revealed the identity of the killer. But heís more interested in the entity that empowered him.

In this issue, Scott, Orion, and Superman search for the Forever People whoíve been spotted at the scenes of several recent murders. They find the Forever Peopleís long-dead corpses. Scott uses his Anti-Life powers to revive the bodies and interrogate them. They recount their deaths but are compelled not to reveal their killerís name. They destroy themselves first. But based on what they and Lightray said, Superman suspects the killer may be the Infinity Man, who can only be summoned by the Forever People. Superman also secretly confides to Orion his fears about Scott Freeís sanity. Later, New Genesis scientists have found evidence of Orionís presence at the crime scenes. Meanwhile, Kalibak and Mantis, believing New Genesis responsible for the deaths are leading an invasion of the planet.

And long ago in Earthís prehistoric past, Metron is meeting the thing thatís orchestrated these killings.

I was looking forward to this series. Now Iím looking forward to its ending. Itís not that itís bad; itís just not as great as I was expecting. This is the death of all the New Gods, the end of an era, the apocalyptic conclusion of a rich mythology. This should be an epic grand guignol. Instead, we get a slow-moving murder mystery. Seeing the New Gods killed in their beds seems beneath them. Beings that are larger than life should have deaths that shatter the planets. These quiet deaths are beneath them.

I do like Starlinís portrayal of Superman. Kal-El is compassionate and intelligent. Itís he who deduces Infinity Manís involvement. He takes the time to monitor a despondent New Genesis and prevent a suicide. He defends Orion when heís accused of murder and worries about Scott Free. Why havenít we seen Starlin write a Superman comic? He seems like a natural fit.

The artís fine. Like the story, itís not spectacular or terrible. Itís clear and easy to follow. Thibertís a great inker for Starlinís pencils. But there were times when it felt like Starlin wasnít trying very hard. A lot of open spaces and sparse panels. There are also instances of figures and panels being recycled. I canít help thinking Starlin is working below his abilities. And yet, the comic still looks decent.

Iím frustrated that the story is moving forward so slowly, and they pulled the old, ďI know who it is but canít say yetĒ trick. Itís not as great as Iíd like it to be, but itís still not bad. I get the feeling the Source itself is orchestrating these deaths as part of a larger plan. Hopefully the entire story will provide a decent capstone to the current lives of the New Gods and lay the foundation for a new age.



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