Super Powers, Jack Kirby

I remember Jack Kirby’s return to DC—after nearly a decade—being trumpeted in some magazine in 1983 or so. Probably Comics Scene or Comics Feature. He was ostensibly back to finish up the Fourth World saga, a project dear to Kirby that DC had so carelessly abandoned in 1972. I was so excited by this turn of events and couldn’t wait for the results of this deal to see print. But wait and wait I did. And it wasn’t until mid-1984 that this ad screamed at me from whatever comic I was reading. Jack was back!

Truth to tell, I thought this Super Powers thing looked like a bit of a Secret Wars knock off, and that black smoke creature looming in the background was clearly DC’s answer to the Beyonder. But, otherwise it looked great, with Kirby really seeming to put some effort into this piece—it was going to be great to see Jack handle some DC charaters he’d never gotten his hands on before. His Batman here looks fabulous, and I remain convinced a Kirby Batman comic would’ve been a joy.

Sadly, Super Powers ultimately turned out to be something of a damp squib. It was tie-in to a line of action figures, and read like it. Kirby plotted the five-issue series, and handled the full script and art for the last of these. I don’t know how detailed that plot was, but I’m guessing he didn’t put a great deal of thought into it. It didn’t really need it. His art, too, had deteriorated quite badly by this point due to the effects of illness and was but a shadow of his former self. Joey Cavalieri and Adrian Gonzales did the honours elsewhere.

The remainder of this phase of Kirby’s career consisted of the much-vaunted—and ultimately disappointing Fourth World “finale”—a bunch of character pages for Who’s Who, half of a Superman/Challengers of the Unknown team-up and a second Super Powers series, this one with art throughout by the King. It was even less distinguished, and Kirby retired soon after.

I still dig this house ad though.

Image ©2012 DC Comics