[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Story and Art: Lee and Michael Allred
Colors and cover art: Laura Allred
Young Animal has decided to show some love to the King. That seems like an odd choice, but that is great news! Break out the PB and Banana sandwiches! Wait…what? Oh, Jack “The King” Kirby — not Elvis. Duh. That makes way more sense. He would have been 100 this year. Okay. Break out the New Genesis source guide.
Here is the deal. Forager, also known as “Bug” by his co-workers, is a Fourth Worlder who may or may not serve Orion, fight Darkseid and pal around with Big Barda. He is not totally sure of his own origin. He wakes up from a strange dream where he had the opportunity to be an individual instead of a bug in a hive only to find that there are “weirdies” keeping him asleep, a ghost girl who is setting up dominoes and a talking teddy bear who seems to know more than he is letting on.
After plenty of fight scenes and exposition by the supporting cast, we finally see the Sandman, who has been keeping Forager asleep by using his magic whistle that makes dreams flesh. As is often the case, in the middle of long winded exposition, someone shows up to thwart everyone’s plans. In this case, it is the villainous General Electric who has a whistle of his own. He wants to keep the Sandman in the flesh so he can influence dreams and reality by making his wicked dreams come true.
The look and feel of this book is straight out of Jack Kirby’s brain. The Allred family took great pains to make sure that anyone who picked up this book would not know when this was published. Other than the price on the cover, this could have been a Kirby original. The star here is really Laura Allred. Her coloring is bold and reminiscent of times long past. I read a digital copy of this, but it feels as though I had a glossy paged edition. Take a look at some of the dazzling colors.
Brothers Lee and Michael Allred are clearly big Kirby fans and dug deep into the well to pull this character out of oblivion to honor the King. I can not help but notice the nod to Franz Kafka. His work, The Metamorphosis, changed the lives of plenty of book nerds. Just like the tragic hero of that book, the story begins with him waking up only to be totally disoriented and lost. While this is total speculation on my part, it can not be a coincidence.
The biggest knock on Kafka is that the stories just sort of happen. There is no back ground. The stories are not told in any particular order. In some cases, the readers just must accept the actions taking place and deal with it. That is just what is happening here. If one does not have the aforementioned New Genesis guide, this book is not going to make a lot of sense. I will admit that I had to do a lot of research and even then, I was still a bit lost.
This is only a six issue mini-series, so the Allred clan has a lot to do to make this come together. I am intrigued by the story and totally enamored by the art and colors.