The cover: The Forever People meet their next super threat? A cow wearing a blue cape taunts them with a single moo, but they will not fall prey to its words and must battle the beast…At least that’s the way this cover by Howard Porter looks. Readers are obviously missing some key backstory if this even does occur in this issue. The bovine is next to a Mother Box, so they might think that the animal took it. Also on the cover is a black bat logo stating “GRATUITOUS BAT-APPEARANCE!” …Please note the coloring on the cow’s face. It’s a silly cover and I like it. I love the serious looks on the People’s faces. This must have been a treat for Porter to draw something silly. Overall grade: A+
The story: Keith Giffen and Dan Didio do the story chores on this issue and it’s a little sillier than previous ones. The group lands in Ventura, California after their Boom Tube trip is interrupted. Pages 4 and 5 have some funny dialogue and moments for the cow, with the closing dialogue on 5 really good. Page 6 takes the story back to a serious tone as there is some backstory and a conflict given that places these New Gods in a unusual position. Page 9 returns to Venice Beach, with the commentary given by the Forever People about the public transportation of the city being spot on (Could this be Giffen and Didio’s way of telling the DC staff what to expect when the offices move to LA?). There’s a pool party going on in their complex, and that alone made me laugh. Giffen and Didio are bringing the wacky 1960s vibe of the original series to the present with the hipster California cliché life. I love Mark’s response at being told of the party. They find someone in their apartment and she brings some conflict, but not as much as those pool guys. This is just fun, plain and simple. The story is a great mix of serious adventure and silly fun, with a dash of cosmic powers thrown in. The last page has me wondering how these characters will fit into the ongoing Godhead storyline, as one lantern makes a tease at the issue’s close. Overall grade: A+
The art: Making a surprise return to pencils is Keith Giffen, with Scott Koblish providing inks. Giffen is doing his best to mirror Jack Kirby’s classic style on this series and is succeeding. The explosion looks like something the King would have drawn and that opening maw on Mark Moonrider underneath it is right in the master’s mold. Giffen is also using big panels to tell the story; this is not the nine panel style that Giffen was using years ago on The Legion of Super-Heroes. The characters are big and muscular, making them look incredibly powerful. The angles are even similar to what Kirby would do (Page 2, panel two; Page 4, panels three and five; Page 5, panel five; and Page 19, panel four, etc.). I love Kirby and I love Giffen, so this is match made in Heaven for me. There are also some really good visual jokes, such as the cow’s facial markings, Page 10, panel two (HA!), the POP panel on 13, and I love the clothes on the pool worker–which do not match that face. This book is the perfect mix of new and old, fun and serious heroics. Just thumbing through the visuals make me smile. Overall grade: A+
The colors: How should a colorist color work that’s aping Kirby’s style so well? Bold, baby, bold! This book sweetly captures the striking color scheme of comics from the late 60s and early 70s. Hi-Fi is the perfect group to do this book because they’ve never made a misstep in any of their work. Take a look at that first page: a Boom Tube is being interrupted and the skies above a farm in Ventura are glowing with red, orange, and yellow energy. This power is influencing the normal earth tones below it, and they are shaded appropriately. Once the energy has dissipated, the sky is a beautiful, strong blue, with colors used to enhance motion or character stress, such as on Page 4. I love the holographic blues on 7 and the new energy that appears on 8. Once at their apartment, the colors are as strong as the characters. I love every part of Hi-Fi’s contributions. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, opening title and credits, signage, scene settings, and sounds all originate from Travis Lanham who’s got his classic comic sound effects in full swing this issue. I love all that he did. Overall grade: A+
The final line: This is fun. It captures the classic spirit of the characters with adventure and humor, strong images, and powerful colors. Why can’t more books be like this? Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.