Sunday, March 23, 2014

On The Horizon: Infinity Man and The Forever People

I have, for reasons that are primarily financial in nature, taken a break from purchasing new comics in recent months.  However, while looking over J. Caleb Mozzocco's monthly rundown of upcoming comics from DC at Everyday Is Like Wednesday, my attention was caught by one particular item that might just be enough to pull me back to the Laughing Ogre for at least one Wednesday a month.
The second week in June sees the release of Infinity Man and the Forever People #1.   This is yet another updating of one of Jack Kirby's Bronze Age concepts by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish. That's the same team responsible for the late OMAC title.  Given the success, or, rather, lack thereof, of OMAC, that might not really be something to brag about.
I enjoyed OMAC quite a bit and it was widely hailed as one of the best  books of the original New 52.  Sales, as is too often the case, did not match the critical acclaim and the series met a premature end after eight issues in the first wave of New 52 cancellations.
With just the limited information provided by the solicitation to go on, there are a couple of things about this new series that strike me as interesting or curious.  The first is the title of the book itself, which gives top billing to the Infinity Man.  In Kirby's original series, Infinity Man played a very small part, appearing in less than half, four out of eleven to be exact, of the issues.  He was, quite literally, a Deus Ex Machina, showing up at the end of an issue when the Forever People touched their living computer, Mother Box, and shouted a magic word in order to mop up the bad guys and get the Forever People out of whatever mess they'd gotten themselves into in the preceding twenty pages or so.  Infinity Man was never much of a well rounded character in his own right.  He spoke in cliched heroic platitudes and displayed little personality beyond a selfless nobility and devotion to the Foerever People.  His true nature and origins were never explored, though perhaps, if the book had continued past its eleventh issue, they might eventually have been. The series was, to be honest, much better off without him in my not so humble opinion.  Giffen and Didio have a lot of work to do with Infinity Man if they're going to develop him into a character worthy of star credit.
Secondly, as I looked over the cover, this little detail caught my eye:

It appears that in this new series, Giffen and Didio have made Serifan a woman.  While I don't really think this is such a major change to the original concept and won't make too much of a difference, I do predict howls of outrage all over the Wild, Wild Web from Kirby purists.  For me, it all comes down to how its handled, and I generally have pretty high expectations of Keith Giffen, so I'm somewhat optimistic.
That is, I'm optimistic for the creative success of Infinity Man and the Forever People.  Commercially, I honestly don't expect it to do much better than OMAC.  That series managed to match the eight issue run of Kirby's original series, so my prediction is that Infinity Man and the Forever People will do the same and last a whole eleven issues before being cancelled.
Giffen has been doing the best art of career in the past five years or so, and his stories are always entertaining, so I'm sure that Infinity Man and the Forever People will be worth reading however long it lasts.


  1. I'm currently buying no DC titles. These series are a good example why: I have zero interest in buying New Gods-era titles by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen. I've disliked Giffen's art since I first saw it around 1977. He cribs from Kirby without really understanding the structure of Kirby's art - it's all surface. When he drew in the style of Jose Muñoz - well, just see the Controversy section of his Wikipedia entry. Giffen gets an extra demerit for creating Lobo.

    I would love for DC to publish comics with artists and writers I enjoy and leave them alone to create great comics.

    1. Until OMAC, I never liked a comic book that was both written and drawn by Keith Giffen. His artwork looked drab and garrish, his layouts were uninspired, and his characters looked grotesque. For the longest time, the only Giffen titles I liked were Justice League and Omega Men. Giffen left Omega Men fairly early (issue 6, I think) and Justice League had the advantage of teaming Giffen with a long list of very talented collaborators.
      While the New 52 OMAC wasn't as imaginative as Kirby's original (OMAC is one of my favorite Kirby comics of all time.) it was still a fun read and Giffen's artwork was the series' major selling point. The pages were simply a joy to look at. So why the change?
      I suspect it was 52 (the 2006/07 series) that caused him to improve. Giffen drew the page layouts for that series, having to turn in four book's worth of layouts every month for a year. Maybe working at a Kirby-like pace during the duration of that series taught him those structural lessons he didn't have back in the day.
      I don't expect to change Michael's mind on the matter. Saying "that guy who's art you've always disliked is better than he used to be" isn't a strong argument. But I might join Ray in checking out Infinity Man and the Forever People. (Or borrow Ray's copies until I've made my mind up on the series!)