Thursday, 17 July 2014


Forever People #2 cover by Jack Kirby
You know, I didn't realise until quite recently that I came to The Forever People quite a bit later than the other Fourth World titles. For some reason the newsagents I used to get my comics from rarely got in Forever People, although they never missed New Gods or Jimmy Olsen. Mister Miracle was usually available, although the odd issue was skipped here and there. So it wasn't until I started frequenting specialist shops and comic marts a few years later that I was able to read that missing corner of the Fourth World. And maybe because I was that bit older, or possibly because I just wasn't reading it contemporaneously with the other titles, I was never quite as attached to our bunch of super-powered biker-hippies.
Anyway, this issue starts off in a light-hearted vein as the Forever People arrive in the big city and promptly cause all manner of problems by parking the Super-Cycle in the middle of a busy intersection.
This obviously lead to more than a little bit of resentment, leading to one onlooker to suggest that the police act to get rid of the "Hippies", much to Big Bear's amusement, leading to the following exchange...

BIG BEAR: The dialect is primitive, brother! But the humor cries out for a straight man! Tell me, Mister Corn! What's a hippie?
ONLOOKER: Ha, ha--dat's easy! All ya gotta do is show him a bathtub--an' if he runs--he's a hippie!
BIG BEAR: HA HA HA HA! It's like direct involvement with ancient vaudeville! Thank you, for the experience, brother!

At which point Big Bear gives said onlooker a,  er... bear hug! And practically kills the poor bloke!
The FPs finally twig that just maybe they have outstayed their welcome in this neighbourhood and pile onto the Super-Cycle and depart for other parts by using the vehicle's "Phasing" capacity - which basically means it disappears from one place with an almighty "FZOM" and appears somewhere else.
Now, Big Bear's comment about ancient vaudeville is interesting. Either he's learnt a lot about Earth history or there was something similar in New Genesis' past. And that is something I find it hard to believe.
Done! Done! DONE! After my nap!
Time to look in on our bad guys. Darkseid is giving a bit of a tounge-lashing to one of his henchmen, an insect-like fellow called Mantis. Mantis is pulled screaming out of his "power pod", which he needs to recharge himself , by two of Darkseid's minions and thrown on the ground in front of old stony face. Mantis, it appears, has been a very naughty boy by sneaking off to Earth behind Darkseid's back to try to claim it for himself. Not that Darkseid seems to mind. Mantis is welcome to Earth as long as he doesn't try to challenge Darkseid's power. For Darkseid has a bigger prize in mind. The bollocking over, Darkseid dismisses Mantis, who promptly jumps straight back into his power pod for a nap.
Back to the Forever People, who have materialized in a decidedly seedy part of town where they encounter a crippled kid called Donny and his elderly uncle, Willie. Uncle Willie isn't too impressed with the Forever People and threatens them with a gun. Time for Beautiful Dreamer to lay a whammy on Willie by using her abilities to make him see them as normal kids. Willie agrees to rent out an apartment to the FPs in the building he and Donnie live in.
Midnight. And in a nearby graveyard Mantis stirs, and starts making his way into the city firing bursts of power from his hands.
Even though it's late the FPs are hard at work, finding furniture for their new home. Big Bear refers to the stuff they've found as "pure camp", while Mark describes an old broken TV set as "A pure representation of early, post atomic, middle class home visuals!" Looks like Mark's also done his homework about old Earth!
Infinity Man reappears in a blast of Kirby Krackle!
Serafin gets the TV working by using a Cosmic Cartridge which he describes as "sensitizers, probes-- receivers" that "resonate with the universe". In other words they basically do whatever is needed for the plot...
At this point a news report comes on with report of the chaos in the city. Serafin quickly recognises Mantis and summons the rest of the Forever People. The five cosmic teenagers promptly decide that discretion is the better part of valor and use the magic word "Tarru!" to summon Infinity Man. Oh wait! It's now "Taaruu!"
Obviously it's spelt (or, more probably, pronounced) differently if there are all five Forever People present rather than the four we had last time. On the other hand, Infinity Man's awful dress sense is still in place no matter what combination of FPs are used to summon him.
Most of the rest of this issue is Mantis vs. Infinity Man and once again Kirby shows he is the Master of the battle scene. Mantis runs riot through the city, despite the best attempts of the local police to stop him. Infinity Man joins in and quickly gets the upper hand over his insectoid foe, but Mantis turns the tables by using his energy powers to encase IM in a block of ice and then goes off on another rampage. Fortunately Infinity Man can draw "upon powers gained in distant regions -- where natural laws do not apply!" to "manipulate the atoms of this frigi-block -- re-structure it - so I am freed!". Or, as they say in Latin, "Duex Ex Machina".
Battle rejoined, IM uses a "infini-beam" to release all of Mantis' power in one fell swoop. Defeated, Mantis crawls off to his pod for a power nap, while Infinity Man again returns from whence he came, returning the Forever People back to Earth. Beautiful Dreamer says "But we were one -- and so, shared his experience". Which seems to suggest that Infinity Man in indeed a gestalt of the five teenagers. The youngsters muse about the direction that the war has taken, while Darkseid and his number one henchman Desaad watch Mantis skulk back to his pod. And there the story ends, with old Stoney Face actually seeming to be slightly amused by Mantis' defeat. And a next issue box promises us "Life Versus Anti-Life". That sounds like the mysterious "Anti-Life Equation" that has been mentioned both here in Forever People and over in New Gods will finally be explored.
That will have wait for a few weeks as next week it's time to return to Orion in the next chapter of New Gods, "O' Deadly Darkseid".
See you then,

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