[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Mark Evanier & Sam Humphries
Artists: Scott Kolins & Steve Rude
On the evil planet of Apokolips, Darkseid rules with an iron fist. But down on the streets of the city, someone is desecrating statues in his likeness. Darkseid knows a resistance is forming and it must be stopped immediately.
Meanwhile, Makayla and her friends, Jaydon and Lukas have recently escaped the evil orphanage run by the sadistic Granny Goodness and are running for their lives. A furious Darkseid calls his dreaded Female Furies to hunt down the escapees and crush any resistance that stands in their way.
This book showcases one of Jack Kirby’s greatest creations: Darkseid. Evanier doesn’t sugar coat or waste time humanizing Darkseid in anyway either… and that’s a good thing. Darkseid is represented exactly as he should be, as a ruthless killer without any remorse. Darkseid is the evil ruler he’s supposed to be. He rules with an iron fist, rules by fear and immediately crushes anyone that shows signs of opposing him.
However, it’s Evanier’s depiction of Apokolips that is the real accomplishment of the issue. Apokolips is painted as the epitome of hell, the worst place you can imagine in the universe. The people are slaves that have little, if any, hope in their lives and their living conditions are reprehensible. Dead bodies are cast out in the sewage as if they mean nothing and any resistance is crushed by hordes of Parademons. There’s no doubt in the reader’s mind that this world is pure evil.
As with the other Jack Kirby Specials, along with the primary story, this issue also comes with two backup stories, one OMAC tale by Sam Humphries and Steve Rude, and the other, a classic Fourth World tale by Kirby himself. Suffice it to say, you get your money’s worth story wise.
For a book called Darkseid, you might expect more Darkseid within the pages. However, Darkseid isn’t the main character and unfortunately he isn’t even in the book very much. There is no doubt his presence is felt throughout, but the focus is on the escapee, Makayla. The story itself is decent enough as a standalone, but for the Special, I would’ve liked more focus on the actual character of Darkseid.
The story is not a complex one by any means but it is a fun read. These Specials are meant to celebrate Jack “The King” Kirby and show how much he influenced the industry with his versatility and what seems like endless creations. Darkseid is one of his most intriguing characters and has become a major character within the DC Universe. If you like Kirby, comic book history, Darkseid or just self-contained stories, then you will enjoy this issue.
On a side note, (not sure if it’s a positive or a negative) this issue is also very topical considering this issue begins with the desecration of statues of Darkseid. I’m not sure when Evanier actually put pen to paper to write, but the timing is spot on with today’s headlines.