December 2, 2008

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Jack Kirby's Silver Star

Written by Jack Kirby
Illustrated by Jack Kirby
Image (formerly Pacific)

Wow. I'm really sorry about this review, because I know there are people who absolutely love everything Jack Kirby ever did. Unfortunately, that's not me.

Jack Kirby was insanely talented and made some of the best comics and comic characters ever. However, after a certain period of time, he apparently felt that any attempt to review his ideas was too constricting. This, in my opinion was a mistake. And perhaps exhibit a of this problem is Silver Star, a Kirby creation for Pacific Comics.

It's totally appropriate that Image would reprint these comics as in a way, this was an attempt by Kirby to get out from under the Big Two, just like the Image Seven did low those many years ago. But like those early Images years, where the ideas flowed faster than the quality, this book just lacks the execution of a title that had proper editing and a quality inker. As a result, other than those who *really* want to read everything Kirby every did, this one really doesn't have anything to recommend it.

The plot basically involves a new race of men created to survive the effect of a nuclear blast, which back in the 70s was a quite popular fear. (We've now had about a 10 year break, and are right back into being afraid of nukes again.) One man--the Silver Star--fights for humanity. The other---Darius Drumm--fights to destroy all, hoping to rule in the aftermath. The book, after a very rocky start, settles in to a series of battles orchestrated by Drumm. The trouble is that these things were done better when Darius was called Annhilus, and perhaps even better when he was called Darkseid.

In addition, there are the art problems. The folks who first produced the book politely imply that the inking duties were not their first choice, and I can see why. Kirby's art is really over the top here, and one of his frequent collaborators, like Dick Ayers or Joe Sinnott would have helped reign things in a bit. Instead we have some folks I've never heard of, and the results are muddled faces and backgrounds that, well, just fade into the background.

Last but not least, there's Jack's writing. As a writer, Kirby's a great artist. While the plot is not bad, there's all sorts of ham-handed and clunky interplay, with a lot of over-the-top comic book stuff that probably seemed a bit cliched then, and really looks bad now.

In all, this just didn't work for me at all. There's some flashes of an interesting story here and there, but I can't say it's worth picking up. All in all, I'm afraid I'm just not much of a fan of Kirby solo. If you are, then this is for you.