Ever since DC Comics implemented their “New 52” initiative wherein they rebooted all of their monthly titles as new first issues, nearly two years ago (God, “New” is not so new anymore is it?), a select group of hard-core fans have patiently been waiting for only one thing:
The return of the DC Comics Fourth World.
It seems that the Fourth World has been teased, periodically, within the pages of the Wonder Woman title. But today, those teases triumphantly end. Today, the Fourth World is finally in the here and the now, an integral part of the new and ongoing Wonder Woman mythos and part and parcel with DC’s (somewhat) “New 52”!
But what is the Fourth World, you ask?
Oh, it’s something special. Something with lots of history…
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by: Cliff Chiang
Published by: DC Comics
In 1970, after a falling out at Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby, the single greatest comic book creator in the short history of the medium, left for DC Comics. There, the man who had successfully created or co-created Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men the Hulk and many others for the “House of Ideas”, plied his trade at his one-time competitor.
At DC, Kirby produced his Fourth World series of characters and stories through connecting comic book titles. In many ways, it could be viewed as the beginning of a shared and tightly interwoven comic book universe – the same philosophy that the major two publishers follow, perhaps too intently, to this day. The Fourth World dealt with the battle of good versus evil between two distinctly different planets: the war-torn, abused and ugly Apokolips and the beautiful garden world of New Genesis.
Shakespearean in scope, Apokolips was ruled with an iron fist by Darkseid, a character most comic book and/or animation fans would recognize, and New Genesis was lead by the character known as Highfather. To complicate matters, Highfatehr raised Orion, Darkseid’s very own son, in order to oppose the tyrant who sought the Anti-Life Equation which, when found, could control the thoughts of all living beings.
There were never greater stakes in literature, never mind 1970’s comic books!
The Fourth World series of titles and characters never took off the same way Kirby’s Marvel creations had, but it was always an unpolished jewel in the DC crown. A dedicated group of fans awaited the day that the characters would stand shoulder to shoulder with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
A few months ago, under the pen of writer Brian Azzarello, Orion showed up within the pages of Wonder Woman as a burly and roguish male chauvinist – but absolutely compelling and likable at the same time. A great trick by the writer, indeed! While Wonder Woman is off smooching Superman in the pages of Justice League (which premiered a mysterious Darkseid in the early issues), in the pages of her own monthly comic book, readers are wondering if she might be developing a “thing” for this impossible “New God” named Orion.
Issue #22, released today, goes to some lengths to beg that question some more. Here, Orion takes the daughter of Zeus to his home world of New Genesis where she meets Highfather for the first time.
Old Gods, New Gods, “New 52”.
Wonder Woman is one of the best comic books out there right now. Introducing the Fourth World set of characters, potential storylines, and tropes within those pages only makes it even more mandatory reading.
Make the run to your local comic book shop today. Seek out Wonder Woman #22, New Genesis and a whole new world!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!