The Death of the New Gods

14 Dec

This Christmas I asked my wife to buy me the New 52 hardcover being released this week.  It came today but she won’t let me read it because it is my Christmas present.  I have read many of the single issues but there are several I haven’t read so I look forward to the experience.  To help me pass the time, I finally decided to break down and read The Death of the New Gods. 

Now, I must confess I have an unusual relationship with this book which kept me from reading it.  I love Metron, Darkseid, Barda, and my personal favorite, Mr. Miracle.  Many love them and many hate them but I really think they are Jack Kirby’s greatest creations in comics.  The thought of a mini-series devoted to their “ending” filled me with fear.  Still, I felt I owed it to the characters to read it.  Being a fairly modern fan, though, I wasn’t all that familiar with Jim Starlin.  I knew he wrote a few crossovers in the 80s, when I was a little tyke and I had never read them.  I also knew he wrote a book recently furthering the confusion in Hawkman, one of my all time favorite characters and a story for a later date. 

Furthering keeping me from reading the book was that it was tied to Countdown, a book I wasn’t reading and was constantly hearing bad things about.  It was also a lead in to Final Crisis, a book I wanted to enjoy but knew I wanted.  I may be the only person in the world who sees Grant Morrison’s name and wants to run from a book.  Still, with it being the “final” part in the Crisis triology I knew I would have to read it.  And to keep me from the Death of the New Gods, I heard that the two books would contradict each other.  I decided to read Morrison’s book which completely disappointed me two years ago.  Because of this, I decided this year to give it a shot so I would have a conclusion to Kirby’s masterpiece.

So with all of the history of my thoughts about reading the book aside, how was the book?  I will be honest, I thought it was great.  Over the last two years, I had wikied the general plot and so I knew what to expect.  A mysterious killer is killing the new gods, good and evil.  Superman comes along due to his lengthy history with them.  Darkseid the last to fall.  But the characters deaths were tragic.  I remember Superman thinking about one of the character’s passing.  He said he was always bothered by the claims of godhood by the new gods until he saw them pass.  Their nobility and heroic fight to the finish proved their “godhood” to Superman in the end.  This was classic.  Likewise, watching Scott Free fall to madness over the loss of his beloved wife was heart wrenching and well done. 

Maybe you wondered whether you should read this miniseries?  Maybe you know that it was basically rendered moot a week later due to Morrison’s Superman singing a song to beat Darkseid (my head still tries to wrap around that).  Maybe, you enjoyed the characters and wonder if this is a decent storyline.  I completely recommend it.  It was an emotional farewell to some of the greatest characters in comics’ history.  In the new 52, Darkseid is set to reappear in a few months.  Hopefully, he will be followed by his “friends and family” who have bene missed in the last few years.  I am looking forward to seeing. 

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