Gods of the Pacific

I’ve previously discussed the Super Powers series as one bit of Jack Kirby’s New Gods-related work that isn’t going to make it into the four-volume Fourth World Omnibus.

Orion and Son Turns out there’s another bit of Kirby’s New Gods-related work that will likewise be left out.

In the late 1970s, San Diego’s Pacific Comics was one of the best-known comic book stores in the country, with ads in all the major comics. (I remember buying a back issue of Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey series on my one visit there, in the spring of 1977.) Well, in the early 80s Pacific Comics transformed itself into an independent comics publisher in competition with the giants DC and Marvel, and managed to sign some of the most prominent talent in the industry, including Neal Adams, Sergio Aragones, Steve Ditko, Mike Grell, P. Craig Russell, Jim Starlin, Berni Wrightson, and of course Jack Kirby. Its most famous product was Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer.

One of Kirby’s projects for Pacific was a series (running for thirteen issues plus one special issue) called Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers. As the series went on, it gradually became clear that it was a sequel to New Gods and that the lead character, Captain Victory, was the son of Orion. (I’m actually not convinced that this was Kirby’s intention from the beginning, given some continuity problems posed by the early issues – though admittedly the later issues are not free of these either.) Of course Kirby could not be completely explicit about the connection, given that DC still controlled the rights to the New Gods characters and situations. Hence Darkseid is called Blackmass while Apokolips becomes Hellikost; but their intended identities are evident enough.

So, how is it? The early issues are frankly not so great; but as the New Gods material starts moving toward the forefront Kirby seems to be finding his feet with the material and it begins to get quite interesting – just before cancellation.

After Kirby went back to DC to write Hunger Dogs, was he still planning for Captain Victory to be in continuity? It’s not clear; Captain Victory implies the destruction of New Genesis, which Hunger Dogs shows; but it also implies that the final battle between Darkseid and Orion ended with Orion’s death, Darkseid’s survival in energy form only, and Darkseid’s minions still in charge of Apokolips – which is not how Hunger Dogs ends, but of course these events could have come later.

Image Comics is rumoured to be planning a collection of all the Captain Victory issues some time this year.

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