June 21, 2008

Tales of the New Gods [2008]

 This collection of post-Kirby Fourth World stories concludes with a single new story, the 5-page "Infinitely Gentle Infinitely Suffering" penciled by Steve Ditko, inked by Mick Gray and written by Mark Millar. It was originally done as a back-up for the ORION series back around 2000, but not used at the time. This publication gap makes it the first non-reprint Ditko comics to appear (outside the substantial amount of creator-owned work published by/with Robin Snyder) in almost a decade. It's also the only time Ditko drew the Fourth World characters, which is an interesting historical footnote since reportedly Kirby's early plans for the books involved him handing off the characters to other artists under his editorial supervision, with Ditko being among those considered.

Anyway, this story has the celebration of Darkseid's "mortis-nacht", which I gather from the vague text is the anniversary of his mother's death, and his head torturer DeSaad bragging to Granny Goodness that he's found the perfect gift for Darkseid by exposing a creature composed of pure love to one composed of pure pain. Unsurprisingly, this backfires on DeSaad.

Other than for the aforementioned curiosity factors, this isn't much of a story. Gray does a good job with what he's given in a few places (the large close-up of Darkseid on the title page is quite good), but a lot of the faces just don't seem right. I'm on the fence about the visual of the creatures of pure emotion. It's almost goofy enough to work.

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