Kirby: Genesis is a big book, with big ideas, big concepts and big creators. It is a book that pays tribute to and uses much of what the legendary Jack Kirby created in his life, to tell a story that grabs a hold of you and sucks you into a new world of gods, mysticism, myths, creatures fantastic and superheroics, and all of it centered around a young boy named Kirby. Some of the characters in the book will be familiar to some readers, such as Silver Star and Captain Victory, while others have never been seen by anybody except Kirby himself, or those close to him like Rokki, Krayg and Dr. Killhausen. It took a lot of talented people to bring this story to life, among them Kurt Busiek, Jack Herbert and Alex Ross and a publisher like Dynamite to release it into the wilds of the marketplace.
The story deals with the Pioneer 10 space probe that has been off in space for many years, carrying with it a message and it was only a matter of time before that message was to be answered. Thus it is that Kirby, his friend Bobbi and her father will be sucked into the adventure of a lifetime as Earth becomes the meeting place for Norse gods, lost islands, space aliens, bounty hunters from the stars, a race from within the Earth that is older than man and celestial-like beings. It will push Kirby to the limits of his core, especially as Bobbi is transformed into one of these super-beings and he realizes that he wants nothing more than to be with her again.
Kurt Busiek writes a fantastic story with Kirby: Genesis, one that is engrossing and hard to put down. The first issue is a little bit slow to start off and the first couple of issues are so jam-packed with characters that it is hard to keep track of everyone and everything that is going on in the book. That soon ends though and the book soon just rockets forward with a ton of thrills and a pace that is break-neck. Before the book was ever released, it was said that it would feature a lot of characters, but the sheer amount that appear in this title is almost staggering and most, if not all of them, are incredibly interesting and quite fascinating. Many of these characters are fairly new, at least to the reader and it makes one wonder what would have become of them if they had been introduced to the public many years ago or were part of the larger Marvel or DC universes. As such, it is a good thing to see what Dynamite has done to finally bring them to light and live upon the page at least once.
The most interesting of the newer characters are Dr. Killhausen, Rokki and Krayg, who give off a vibe of being one of those old Hanna-Barbera science fiction cartoons of the 1960s. Captain Victory and Silver Star still resonate as much as they did in years past, though it helps to be updated a little courtesy of Busiek and company. Kirby is quite intriguing as our everyman hero and protagonist, a boy who turns into a man by series end and one we as the reader can identify with among these heroes, villains and gods. The characters that were the least engrossing were the big god-type beings, serving as more of a thematic element than anything else, and to a lesser extent, the Norse gods. The Norse gods were still fun characters, but after seeing versions of them featured in various Marvel comics for so many years, they were not as appealing as the rest of them which also included Thunderfoot, Tiger 20 and the Glory Knights.
The artwork, to say the least, was spectacular. No matter what property Jack Herbert draws, whether the Shadow, Miss Fury or these very characters, his work always looks utterly polished and beautiful. Alex Ross has been drawing marquee characters for years for a variety of publishers and seeing his work gracing not only the covers, but the interiors of this book for select scenes is wonderful to see. One of the better things about having these two artists on the book is the way they manage to merge in some of Kirby’s stylings into their own work to create a truly unique looking title that not only looks modern but classic as well. To top it off this book also features some of the brightest colours known to man within its pages courtesy of Vinicius Andrade. Everything is big and bold and just jumps from the page providing some of the best eye candy you could ever ask for in a comic book.
Aside from overwhelming the reader with too many characters all at once early on in the series, the book really delivered on its premise of providing the reader with many of Kirby’s undeveloped characters and concepts in one fantastic package. Busiek is as deft as ever with his words and he really hooks you in just as if this were another chapter of his Astro City series. The characters and the situations, all different from one another in many different ways, all fit together like some astounding puzzle that could only happen in this book, and as a reader, it is fun to watch as the creative team puts it together. This is a book where you may not know what you are about to get into, but it is the discovery along the way that truly makes it a definite ‘must read.’
4.5 out of 5