Thursday, 31 July 2014


JO #137 cover by Jack Kirby
Welcome, once again, to Fourth World Thursday as another chapter of Jack Kirby's cosmic opus comes under scrutiny. We're back down to Earth again this week, in fact so far down that we're underground. Yes, we're back in the crazy world of Jimmy Olsen. Now, as you'll remember the last issue of Olsen had Mokkari and Simyan of the Evil Factory "breeding" a new genetic terror to unleash against Jimmy and his friends at The Project. All we saw last time was some "thing" with four arms starting to emerge from a giant egg.  
Well, at the start of this issue we find the titular Four Armed Terror in all its Kirbyesque glory, rampaging through The Wild Area, where it encounters Yango and Gandy from the biker drop-outs The Outsiders. You remember The Outsiders don't you? The biker gang that made Jimmy Olsen their leader? Well, I'm glad you remember them because Jimmy obviously hasn't. He's not mentioned them once since he reached The Project. How soon they forget!
The Four-Armed Terror on the loose!
Anyway, The Terror makes short work of the two bikers and continues on its way to The Project, leaving Gandy and Yango to dash back to The Habitat to alert their compatriots to the oncoming danger.
Meanwhile, back at The Project, unaware of the impending danger, our intrepid heroes are participating in a Hippy love-in. By using a "Solar-Phone", a strange Hairie invention that, we are told, "gathers in the radio-signals from the stars and convert them into mental musical images", which basically gives Kirby an excuse to do three pages of his patented "Kirby Photo Collages", through which Superman, Jimmy, The Newsboy Legion and various Hairies float gracefully.
Suddenly our heroes psychedelic trip comes to a crashing end as a series of explosions rock The Project. Yes, the Four Armed Terror has arrived! And he's on a direct course to The Project's nuclear reactors! Somehow, I don't think this can be a GOOD thing! Superman takes off to investigate, telling Jimmy and the Newsboys to stay behind. Yeah, like THAT'S going to work. No sooner is the Kryptonian out of the room then the youngsters are in hot pursuit.
Yango takes command!
The Four-Armed Terror's arrived at the nuclear pile and starts tearing at the machinery, setting off a series of explosions that tear through The Wild Area causing a mass evacuation by the leaderless The Outsiders. Jimmy Olsen may have forgotten them, but never fear, Yango is here! Yes our goofy, but lovable, dropout takes it upon himself to assume the leadership role. And he does a pretty good job too, getting his biker chums to safety as Habitat and The Wild Area crumble around them. 
Despite the fact that they're heading straight into a radioactive zone, Jimmy and the Newsboys continue to follow Superman, who by now has encountered the FAT... er, the Four Armed Terror and has engaged it in one almighty punch up. So when the youngsters turn up all they succeed in doing is distracting the Big Blue Boy Scout just enough for the Terror to get the upper hand (or hands). For, by using some bizarre ability, the Terror is able to absorb radiation from the pile and convert it into "some strange form of energy particles" which it fires from its hands. These energy particles coalesce around the heroes forming a giant pink "egg" around them. With the heroes disposed of, the Terror continues to demolish the atomic pile, while watching from their secret base Simyan and Mokkari congratulate themselves on a job well done. For their single Four Armed Terror is surely going to destroy the reactors and cause an explosion large enough to destroy not just the Project, but the city of Metropolis, which just happens to be right above them.
Monsters On The Loose. This is NOT a good thing!
And while our Apokaliptans are gloating, in the depths of their base another egg hatches producing another Terror. And another. And another...
"The others are stirring!" proclaims Simyan. "They're breaking free of their protective shells Mokkari!"
"It is their time, Simyan!" replies Mokkari. "Their birth heralds the age of holocaust! Hail Homo Usurpus! Earth lies before you for the taking!"
"Aaruk! Aaruk!" cries a Four Armed Terror.
Things are NOT looking good here! Not good at all!
Who will save the day? Well, there's a clue in the books title. And it sure ain't Jimmy Olsen!
So the saga of The Project continues apace. The King's plotting seems to have tightened up since the earliest chapters and the artwork, still inked here by Vince Colletta, is vintage Kirby.  In fact, the grotesque Four Armed Terror feels almost as if it had wandered over from one of Marvel Comics pre-hero monster titles such as Tales Of Suspense or Journey Into Mystery. And there's even a hint of character development as Yango steps up to the plate to protect The Outsiders as their new leader. Sadly that's the last we'll see of him, at least in the Kirby Fourth World stories. We will, however, come across him when we reach the apocryphal Fourth World tales as Yango does show up briefly in Lois Lane and the post-Kirby Olsen.
Next time however, it is time to look in once again on Scott Free as we once again visit Mr. Miracle. I'll see you then, next time for the next Fourth World Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Still waiting for your next post, Steve. Hope everything's okay with you.