Super Powers #5 – Reviews Of Old Comics

I was thinking about really great super-hero toy lines and thought instantly of the Super Powers toy line. Being the comic book guy here at Needless Essentials, I opted to look at the mini-series that came out at the same time. These aren’t the little mini-comics that were included with some of the action figures. In deciding which issue to cover, I wanted to go with the first one that was drawn by Jack Kirby.

super powers 5Super Powers #5

November 1984

Writer-Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Greg Theakston

The Justice League and the villains Joker, Penguin, Luthor and Brainiac are stranded on Apokolips, facing a strange machine that appeared from nowhere. Darkseid has left for Earth to launch its conquest. When the Flash touches the machine, it transports them from one alien world to another.

On Earth, Darkseid initiates the invasion of Earth from the top floor of a skyscraper. Metron rescues the heroes and villains bouncing around worlds. He intends to add their abilities to the Worlogog and thwart Darkseid’s intended conquest of Earth, and hopefully curb his ego.

Darkseid’s attack, split into four waves. The first wave goes through time to Metropolis in the year 80,000 AD. There, its computerized assault monitor defeat Darkseid’s troops by gathering them up into one mass and launching them into space. A second wave is sent back to prehistoric era, and transformed into a regressed evolutionary state, where they destroy themselves fighting among each other. A third wave is transported to the bottom of the ocean near Atlantis. Darkseid and his generals watch as the fourth wave is transported to a psychoactive dimension.

With his goal accomplished, Metron sends the villains away aboard Brainiac’s ship and instantly teleports the heroes home as he himself vanishes, warning them to remain vigilant, as Darkseid cannot stand defeat.

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Review:

Jack Kirby is the King. While this comic is rooted firmly in the 1980s, and the fun storytelling the time had, it actually holds up a little if you try to put it into a more modern framework. It does really fall into a problem that a writer has of putting the heroes into a situation of facing a vastly more powerful opponent with overwhelming forces. The victory that they have is not theirs but by an outside force that assists them or essentially defeats the foe for them. With Metron arriving and putting the heroes into a machine which uses their abilities but without Metron, Darkseid would have just conquered Earth and the heroes would have just bounced around realities forever.

However, Kirby does an excellent job of illustrating the effects in a way that few artists can. The sense is that when dealing with the New Gods, and Metron specifically, what we get is something spectacular. For modern readers, Jack Kirby’s style may take some getting used to, but it is consistent, and does not spare from setting an environment, except possibly whenever the heroes and Metron are talking among themselves and when the fourth army is defeated. Instead of showing the dimension, which may have been spectacular, Kirby went to show Darkseid’s subdued reaction, incorporating the final fate of the generals from previous issues, a court martial, and almost certain death.

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Notes:

As I mentioned, you can get this book currently in print. It shouldn’t be hard to find at all, and chances are if your local comic shop is currently sold out, then they get more copies from Diamond, so ask. A first printing in Near Mint condition will run a few dozen dollars, definitely more if it’s slabbed.

Final Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)

This story is not meant to be canon, and should be treated exactly as it is intended, to tie into and support a toy line. It does that excellently, and in the process tells an entertaining story. While this issue has been collected (see below), finding it for an affordable price shouldn’t be too hard. Depending upon condition, I would recommend not paying more than $10 for a Near Mint copy, but if you shop around, you might even find it in a bargain box, albeit in a lower grade.