Unless you are a comic book continuity person or have recently done your Young Justice homework and read the original series, then the folding in of all the Jack Kirby madness that is the Fourth World into the Junior Justice League’s journey can be a little overwhelming. In the Peter David/Todd Nauck series (which I’ve already mentioned several times), the team goes so far as to travel into space and visit the planets Apokolips and New Genesis on more than one occasion. At first blush, pitting a team of legacy characters against the most frightening foes in the DC Universe may have struck some as strange, but it is canon!
Last week I wrote about Halo. She was folded into Young Justice alongside Geo-Force and another character—a literal Bug named “Forager.” With a total of nine Young Justice: Outsiders episodes now under our collective belts, I am 1,000% in love with Forager. He has quickly become one of my favorite additions to the team simply for how alien he is. There was no chance I wasn’t going to take this opportunity to dive more into this classic character.
If you have been as taken with Forager as I, but find going all the way back to the original Kirby NEW GODS series a might too intimidating, last year DC put out a six-issue miniseries called BUG! THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER by Lee, Mike and Laura Allred that presents a more contemporary take on the character rendered with stunning art and a tone very similar to the character on Young Justice: Outsiders.
I’ve already thrown the name of the legendary Jack Kirby around several times, so it probably doesn’t surprise you to learn he is the creator of Forager, along with the rest of the Fourth World that Forager’s a part of, during the Silver Age of comic books. Forager made his comic book debut in NEW GODS #9, back in 1972. On Young Justice: Outsiders, we meet the bugs running about the surface of New Genesis. In the comics, they originally dwelt beneath the surface of the planet where they did their work in the style of insect drones we’re used to seeing here on Earth.
Being an integral character means there’s no way Forager could remain a lowly drone, and it is heavily implied throughout the Kirby New Gods series that Forager is a descendant of gods in his own right. When not operating on a hugely cosmic level, Forager is at odds with Mantis—someone else we saw recently on Young Justice: Outsiders! I can’t quite parse out yet if Forager’s godhood is something we’re likely to see coming into play in future episodes of the show, but if we get to the point of a full-on Darkseid War and Forager winds up in a position of power on either New Genesis or Apokolips, the show would find itself with a fascinating base reality going into season four.
We all want to see a Young Justice season four—am I right?
Forager, as we know him on the show, isn’t even the only Forager out there. The Fourth World comics were progressive enough to introduce a female Forager to the greater DC Universe in the 1980s. She popped up after the original Forager fell in battle and became a legendary hero to the Bugs. In an even stranger move, the female Forager has a brief romantic relationship with Jimmy Olsen. While I don’t believe this is something we’re terribly likely to see on Young Justice (or Supergirl or anywhere else, really), it was one of those wonderfully weird storylines you can only find in comic books and you can only enjoy in the strangeness of the Fourth World and its inhabitants.
Forager’s death turns out to be something of a red herring when he comes back to life just in time for the Allreds’ amazing Bug series, which was a part of Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint. Like a real-life bug, Forager regenerated from a dormant state. It actually really echoes the moment on Young Justice: Outsiders where we, the audience, learn that the show’s Forager wasn’t crushed by Lobo and the power of his toxic masculinity, but shed his skin in order to distract the Main Man from causing further harm to Forager or his hive. One of the most interesting traits Forager has is his innovation and the creative ways he approaches solving the problems that can only strike those residents of the Fourth World.
I predict many boom tubes and portals opening up in our Forager’s future, which are likely to take everyone in his hive to strange new places.
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Ashley V. Robinson writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel.