Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kirby Power

Kirby: Genesis Volume 1: written by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross; illustrated by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert (2011-2012): This sprawling, hyper-dense assembly of characters and concepts created by, and owned by, the late, great writer-artist Jack Kirby ends up being quite a bit of fun, though it takes an issue or two to get its traction.

So far as I understand it, the goal here was to introduce pretty much every character in the Kirbyverse in one epic miniseries. Mission accomplished. Early on, it feels a bit like a roll call (or maybe a role call). As the story progresses, Busiek's strengths as a humanistic chronicler of superheroes get a chance to breathe, though the story nonetheless adheres to the kitchen-sink approach of some of Kirby's later books: characters and concepts pile up on the page. This is the opposite of decompressed storytelling.

The mesh of Jack Herbert and Alec Ross's art works pretty well for the most part, with Herbert supplying the more traditional pen-and-ink drawing and Ross (and his painted, hyper-realistic art) moving in and out of the narrative with full-and-double-page spreads for the really epic moments. Many of Kirby's tropes are here, from space-gods to misunderstood monsters, along with character designs from a never-implemented reimagining of Marvel's (and Kirby's) Thor that are really something to see in action. Recommended.

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