O.M.A.C. Team Of Keith Giffen & Dan DiDio Reunite For ‘Infinity Man And The Forever People’ [Video]
Put as succinctly as possible, the Forever People are a bunch of space hippies with individual powers and gimmicks, but when they’re in trouble they can combine to form the Infinity Man, who is a gestalt organism. First introduced in 1971, they are part of Jack Kirby’s expansive Fourth World tapestry of “New Gods” characters and comics, and the focus of a new collaboration between storyteller Keith Giffen and co-writer Dan DiDio, creators of the New 52’s last major Kirby revival, the short-lived OMAC.
One of the standouts of DC Comics’ original New 52, OMAC was at once a reimagining of Jack Kirby’s original “One-Man Army Corps” and a joyful homage to the late comic book master. Written and drawn by Giffen with co-plotting by DiDo, the book was an energetic, colorful and frequently funny alternative to the uniformly tense and dour aesthetic of DC’s relaunched line of cape comics, making it a favorite of many, including contributors to this website.
Naturally, it was one of the New 52’s first sales casualties, and was cancelled after just eight issues.
It’s hard to say whether OMAC’s demise was due to lack of interest in the concept or reader rebellion against DiDio, whose decisions as DC Co-Publisher have many times prompted unhappiness in fan circles. Cartoonist and CA contributor Tom Scioli speculated it was a little of both, writing, “OMAC was my favorite title of DC’s initial New 52 relaunch, but being based on a Jack Kirby character that’s more obscure than Kamandi and Devil Dinosaur combined probably didn’t help when it came time for DC to trim its first wave of underperforming titles. The fact that it was written by fanrage magnet DiDio made for marketplace kryptonite. You could’ve lined the interior of the book with 20-dollar bills and nobody would’ve bought it. ”
In the intervening years this site as well as other commentators and critics have advocated strongly for DC to dedicate more energy to alternatives to the aesthetic limitations of the New 52, and revisiting Kirby’s Fourth World creations in particular. It’s likely that Infinity Man and the Forever People will be embraced warmly by the same people who enjoyed OMAC. But as good as that series was and as consistently excellent as Giffen’s work tends to be (his out-of-nowhere Masters of the Universe one-shot landed on CA’s list of the Best Comics of 2013), it’s surprising to see the same strategy and the same team sent on the same mission, presumably with the expectation of different results.
News of the Infinity Man book is some of the only we’ve heard of the Fourth World since OMAC was cancelled in early 2012, which itself came not long after the characters were at the center of two ostensibly related but totally incongruous and ultimately negated event comics, Death of the New Gods and Final Crisis. Kirby’s enduringly popular villain Darkseid has since appeared in Justice League written by Geoff Johns, and the hero Orion has been a supporting player in the Wonder Woman series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang.
Could Infinity Man and the Forever People be the first movement in a comprehensive revamp of the Fourth World? In any event, there’s reason to believe it’ll be an enjoyable comic book for however long it lasts.
News of the series came via the latest episode of DC’s All Access, in which a host pretends to have clandestinely entered DiDio’s office and improperly absconded with the Giffen artwork above. It is later suggested she traveled to Los Angeles before DiDio was the wiser, but it seems likely that he will see this video and that she’ll be identified and terminated. The whole thing is very bizarre.
The video also contains brief remarks by the aforementioned Azzarello about his Wonder Woman work with Chiang, as well as Kevin Smith hyping the previously announced Batman ’66/Green Hornet crossover.