As many of you know, today marks the release of INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE #1, the debut issue of the newest ongoing monthly comic to join The New 52. However, there are likely just as many of you scratching your heads. The Baldaur siblings and their crew are great characters, but they’re not exactly Batman and Superman. If you’re a new or more casual DC Comics reader, we could totally understand why you might consider passing on this title.
But if you did that, you’d be missing out on a great new series that has a little something for everybody. Trust us, you’re not going to want to do that. But we get it. It certainly helps to know a little bit about what you’re in for before you commit to something totally new. So why don’t we lay the groundwork for you? If you’re new to the world of Infinity Man and the Forever People, here are five things you should know.
It’s the first New 52 title focusing on the New Gods.
Since its launch in 2011, The New 52 has focused on many corners of the DC Universe, but we’ve yet to shine a spotlight directly on the world of the New Gods. Infinity Man and the Forever People will change that.
We could fill an entire encyclopedia on the history of the New Gods, but here’s their Twitter bio for those of you who are unfamiliar with them. They’re a race of immortal beings that help maintain the balance of the universe. Some of them are benevolent and live under the guidance of the wise Highfather in the floating city of New Genesis. Others are evil and live on the nightmarish world of Apokolips, ruled over by the powerful overlord known as Darkseid. They’re extremely powerful, possess mysterious devices known as Mother Boxes and travel around the universe through wormhole-like tunnels known as Boom Tubes. And while prior to now they may not have had their own series, they HAVE played a significant role in the New 52. Heck, Darkseid’s attack on Earth was what first brought the Justice League together back at the very beginning of the New 52. However, Infinity Man and the Forever People is the first time any New Gods have been given their own series.
The New Gods and the Forever People were both created by Jack Kirby.
If you don’t know who Jack Kirby is, Google him. Seriously. You really need to know this guy.
However, we’re going to assume you do. The New Gods and The Forever People were two related comic book titles written and drawn by Kirby in the early 1970s, shortly after Kirby began working for DC Comics. Technically, the characters in both were New Gods, though the comics were pretty different. While the New Gods comic was very cosmic and dealt with New Genesis’s struggle with Apokolips, The Forever People was set on Earth, focusing on a team of young New Gods who settle on our planet. (In a recent DC All Access interview, co-writer Dan DiDio compared them to the Peace Corps, which is pretty appropriate.)
One thing to keep in mind when reading a Forever People story is that this was created very much in the Summer of Love/Age of Aquarius heyday, which explains some of the “trippier” aspects of the New Gods, as well as why some of the Forever People have names like Beautiful Dreamer and Mark Moonrider. However, like most of Kirby’s work, the Forever People have maintained their relevance because of the struggle that’s forever at their core. They’re charged with defending the people of Earth from threats, despite not fully understanding them or always agreeing with them…or with each other. This is a team book after all.
And it’s a good thing it’s a team book, since summoning Infinity Man is a team effort.
Maybe we should preface this with a SPOILER ALERT, but Infinity Man doesn’t show up in this first issue (but he’ll show up soon—he’s right there in the title and on the cover, after all). However, traditionally he’s summoned by the Forever People through their Mother Box, and it takes all of them. Any squabbles or differences need to be put aside.
Infinity Man is an extremely powerful hero, with strength and abilities that could rival Superman. (They’ve fought in pre-New 52 comics.) Of course, considering some of the villains that the Forever People have faced in the past, this is a good thing. They’re traditionally New Gods from Apokolips, such as the insect-like Mantis, who is one of Darkseid’s most powerful acolytes, and Glorious Godfrey, whose unbreakable power of persuasion can literally convince nations to rise against the New Gods.
Infinity Man and the Forever People is something of a tribute to Kirby.
DiDio and his collaborator Keith Giffen, who also handles much of the art, have devoted a fair amount of their New 52 work to characters created by Jack Kirby. Their first New 52 collaboration, OMAC, was also based on a Kirby character, albeit a greatly updated one. Expect some updates here as well, though it’s hard not to see the debut issue as a bit of a love letter to Kirby’s style. Certainly the art, with its bright, retro coloring and generous use of “Kirby Krackle” is a clear throwback, but there’s also the nickname Big Bear’s given to his Communal Reconstruction Bio Engine—Kirby.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to be familiar with Kirby’s work to enjoy or understand Infinity Man and the Forever People. It’s completely accessible to new readers. However, if you are a fan of Kirby, there are plenty of nods and easter eggs here for you to enjoy.
It could hold serious ramifications for the DC Universe.
Infinity Man and the Forever People begins simply enough, and we doubt you’ll see folks like Green Lantern or Wonder Woman showing up too soon (although they could—both have had run ins with New Gods in the past). However, the New Gods aren’t exactly street level characters. They’re cosmic on a massive scale. Their actions tend to have serious consequences, and the villainous ones are almost always Justice League-level threats. Earth 2 has been devastated by Apokolips at the hands of the ruthless Steppenwolf, and we know that a new Earth 2 focused weekly series will be debuting later this year. DiDio and Giffen have promised that the threat faced by the Forever People may be enough to bring the entire multiverse to its knees. In light of that, it seems very reasonable that this series could play a key role in what lies ahead for Earth 2 and the entire DC Universe, doesn’t it?
Look, we don’t know, but considering how different Infinity Man and the Forever People is to the rest of The New 52, we’re happy enough to be along for the ride. So perhaps the real question is…will you be joining us?