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Thursday, 6 July 2017

1st Issue Special 13 - 1st Issue Special ends with the Return of the New Gods

1st Issue Special comes to an end with issue 13 (April 1976) as Gerry Conway, Denny O'Neil and Mike Vosburg bring back the New Gods. Most of the characters who appear in this story had not been seen since the wedding of Mr. Miracle and Big Barda, back in the final issue of that hero's book in 1974. Mr. Miracle and Big Barda had actually appeared just after that, in Brave and the Bold.

The story seems designed not merely to bring back the world of the New Gods, but also to avoid the fight to the death between Orion and Darkseid, which had been prophesied. The tale starts with Orion back on Earth, fighting Kalibak. He has a new costume, one that makes him look much more like a superhero.

Orion gets bored during the fight (yes) and his mind wanders. This allows a flashback to his time on New Genesis. We see Mr. Miracle and Big Barda hanging out in a garden with Metron and a mopey Highfather. Orion has gone to check out Apokolips, and returns with news that Darkseid and his forces are preparing for a war on Earth.

So Highfather allows Orion to return to Earth, which is how he wound up in battle with Kalibak. He defeats his half brother, and finds that Kalibak was standing guard for Granny Goodness. Surprisingly, she has a weapon able to take Orion down.

Meanwhile, back on New Genesis, the Source Wall gives another prophecy, "When son slays father chaos reigns." To understand this further, Metron opens a sort of viewing Boom Tube, allowing him and Highfather to watch Darkseid chatting with Dr. Bedlam. Darkseid explains that he has had a device implanted in his heart, and if he dies, Earth will be destroyed as a result. The best touch in the entire issue is Darkseid revealing that he is aware of Metron and Highfather watching him, and closing off their access.

Orion is released by Granny's troops and heads to kill Darkseid. Metron and Highfather arrive just in time to stop him.

So the story ends with a stalemate, and a way to avoid the prophesied final battle. It's not great, and this sure looks nothing like Kirby (although Darkseid himself looks pretty decent). But it did allow for the characters to return in the DC universe, and return they did within the next few months, in revivals of New Gods and Mr. Miracle, as well as Secret Society of Super-Villains.

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