alexarkadin wrote:Not surprisingly, I disagree entirely with Alex and the guy he quoted.
I felt The Hunger Dogs was one of Kirby's strongest works. It was right up there with The 70's Fourth World books, Silver Star, Captain Victory, the Captain America Treasury edition, and the Captain America "Mad Bomb" serial.
There have even been several long thoughtful reviews of the book posted online.
I particularly enjoyed Jeff Lester's review at The Savage Critics.
Lester begins his review of the Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4 this way:
"reading the first 250 pages of the fourth volume is like watching the weakening death throes of a formerly-powerful animal: it’s awesome in a truly depressing way."
He's talking about the later issues of Mister Miracle which were sort of cast out in the wilderness, but then Lester gets to The Hunger Dogs, never having read it, and expecting to be disappointed:
But, of course, that wasn’t the end for the Fourth World Saga. In 1984 and ’85, Kirby was given the chance to come back and create an ending in the form of The Hunger Dogs, an original graphic novel, along a forty-seven page prelude titled “Even Gods Must Die!” that bridged the original stories and the graphic novels. We get apologies for the material both in the front with Paul Levitz’s intro (“[F]or if the Hunger Dogs is neither the ending Jack originally hoped to do nor crafted with the same sure hand as had a decade earlier, it is still noble to try[.]“) and Mark Evanier’s afterword (“Jack gave it his all. Jack gave everything he did his all but he really put his heart and soul into this one, and ordinarily it would have been more than enough…but with all the problems, especially the short page count, it wasn’t enough,” as well as “Finally, The Hunger Dogs was published. I wish I could tell you that it was everything Kirby fans had been expecting by way of a Fourth World conclusion, but it really wasn’t that. For one thing, the Fourth World wasn’t concluding. For another, Jack still didn’t have the thousand or so more pages it might have taken for him to build his story to the kind of climax he’d imagined.”) It’s safe to say the current take on this final work is not favorable.
And that’s a shame. Because I found those final hundred-plus pages to be absolutely brilliant, some of the most stunning stuff Kirby’s ever done. I’ve had The Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 4 for maybe three weeks now, and every night for the first two I’d read those last 100-plus pages again and again."
That is just the start of Lester's long and insightful review. Lester honed in on the theme of the book, technology pushing aside the old ways.
"Like “Even Gods Must Die!”, The Hunger Dogs is a victory stolen from the jaws of defeat and loss, and the irony is this victory is accomplished by open acknowledging defeat and loss. In The Hunger Dogs, Darkseid sees his coming obsolescence in the face of The Micro-Mark, the digitized destroyer that is the brutal male successor to the kindly Mother Box. In a staggering page, Darkseid listens to the Micro-Mark’s inventor crow about the passing of Himon and wordlessly realizes that his own time has also passed. “His day is over, great Darkseid!” the collaborator boasts. “Regard him as a pitiful, harmless object! This is Micro-Mark’s hour! There’s no need for intrigue or great strivings–the cosmos lies open to button-pushing babes!”
However, I'm basing my opinion solely on the artwork, which I thought was so weak and ugly, that there was no possible incentive for me to tackle Kirby's usually off-putting writing.
And I agree with the assessment of the last half dozen or so issues of Mr. Miracle. They were really, really bad. Bad, bad, baaaad but not in a good way like some of Kirby's more zany stuff.
I have conjectured on various occasions that the failure the 4th World Saga - for whatever reasons (let's not start that discussion again - crushed Kirby's (creative) spirit and it shows in those final issues of Mr. Miracle, which were just plain silly, missing any of the grandeur or invention of the 4th World.
Post 4th World, Kirby was going through the ropes with diminishing returns. Most of his subsequent concepts were highly derivative and unoriginal.
Specifically, the relative merits and/or demerits of the Hunger Dogs, who agrees with me that Jack's heart went out of his work with the demise of the 4th World and who doesn't and why?
I'm particularly curious about people's views on the Hunger Dogs because it seems to be one of Kirby's most controversial works and that's saying a lot for Kirby.
Maybe I'll try and read it again.
I'm also curous about how people feel the last post 4th World issues of Mr. Miracle stack up against the first 10 issues, which I feel had some legitimate klassik Kirbys.
I think though, that the last 10 issues were particularly bad, especially compared with the first few issues of Demon and Kamandi
I don't expect to read anything new but that's never stopped us having a Kirby discussion around here before.
No legalese please, no Kirby vs Lee comparisions.