(Return of the) New Gods #12, July 1977

Here we see Al Milgrom doing his best Kirby impression on this wild cover for the first issue of Return of the New Gods. Or, at least, that’s what the logo says. Officially, however, the title remained just New Gods. Picking up from where Jack had left off some five years earlier, this series saw Gerry Conway and Don Newton (spectacularly inked by Dan Adkins) bring the God-War to a close.

That ending, however, would not be seen in the pages of this mag, oh no — for the big finale you have to look deep into the back pages of Adventure Comics #460. Buried away therein is the final fate of Darkseid as good triumphs over evil, the folk of Supertown sing songs and lauch fireworks, and Orion, inevitably, broods.

As the series had failed after just eight issues no one felt any compunction to stay true to the finale, and so Darkseid was revived a few years later in JLA. After that he went on to become a true superstar villain following his appearances in the Legion of Super-Heroes, and X-Men/Teen Titans.

But, you have to wonder what would have happened had RotNG been a hit. DC and Conway had fully intended to continue the series beyond the death of Darkseid and the end of the God-War. What direction that would have taken, and what new concepts and adventures it might have opened up, will forever remain a mystery.

Ultimately, of course, Jack Kirby was enticed back to DC and he just continued on from where he’d left off. RotNG became just another of comics forgotten blind alleys.

©2009 DC Comics