In Review: Infinity Man and the Forever People #5

More action than laughs, this time out, but still enjoyable.

The cover: Big Bear and Vykin try to stop Guy Gardner from grabbing the Mother Box. The energy coming out of the device is the same color as Guy’s ruby ring, so that can’t be a sign of good things to follow. Guy looks like a mountain man in this image by Raymund Bermudez. I know that he is supposed to look wild, but he shouldn’t look like he’s going to go prospecting for gold after this issue’s adventure is over. Bear looks worse–Look at his neck! Peter Parker should not be playing the Forever People’s biggest bruiser. Vykin is the only character that looks okay. The coloring is great, with the reds and violets perfectly telegraphing to the reader the Red Lantern’s power, so hats off to Hi-Fi. I couldn’t say who the inker is, as he or she isn’t credited and I can’t read their signature. Overall grade: C

The story: The first five pages of this issue start up with a recap of how Yuga Khan was slain by his sons, Izaya and Uxas, later to be known as Highfather and Darkseid. Why Uxas wants to kill his father is explained and justifies all of his anger in his future identity. Why the tale is being told is a preview of dark things to come in a future issue, but those two pages leave a strong impression. The final three words on Page 7 were a wonderfully ironic way to end this sequence. The story then goes to where last issue ended, Guy Gardner arriving at the Forever People’s pad. “…There Shall Be No New Gods!” by Keith Giffen and Dan Didio isn’t as humorous as last issue, though Page 14’s “Big deal, I was trained by a gorilla and a chipmunk” did make me giggle. This lack of chuckles is due to the first seven pages build up. When Guy shows up, punches tend to fly and they do so here. He’s there because of the recent events in Godhead, and this story states that this issue takes place after the events of Red Lanterns #35. The Red Lantern is not a fan of those from New Genesis, so he’s there to evict them and send them back home. Naturally he does so in the least polite way and the New Gods take issue with this. I was happy to see Mark’s initial reaction to the fight, as that’s how he should have acted. The ending of who will win this tussle isn’t really in doubt if one has been following Godhead. However, two new players at the end of the issue could change things up for next month. Overall grade: B

The art: I’ve always been a fan of both Tom Grummett and Scott Hanna, responsible for pencils and inks, and I was really pleased to see them doing this opening history lesson in how the New Gods came to be. The first page’s image of Yuga Khan is terrific. This is how the forefather of the New Gods should look! Also impressive are the early versions of Highfather and Darkseid, who looks more human than one would expect (goes to show you what evil deeds will do to the skin). The double-paged splash of 4 and 5 is impressive, but there’s a lot of wasted space on the right page. Yes, that effect should be major, but it needed a change in angles to not be so empty. Additionally, Uxas’s hands holding the weapon on Page 4 do not line up with his previous pose on Page 3–he should have been swinging that weapon like a baseball bat, because he’s not going to get enough momentum to get it into Khan’s body as he is on 4. Those complaints aside, Pages 6 and 7 are terrific, with the speaker on those pages being absolutely frightening. Guy looks as I expect him to be on the interiors, and his action on Page 11 was disgustingly perfect! Grummett and Hanna are an excellent team for making their characters look similar to Jack Kirby’s original creations, but have softened the hard lines to make their looks more modern. This is especially true on Mark and Vykin. The action looks great on this book and I’ll continue to follow both Grummett and Hanna on whatever they do. Overall grade: B+

The colors: Excellent work in the coloring comes from Hi-Fi. The first page is a wonderful composition of colors, as Khan’s yellow skin gets the focus, but the metal in his armor (complete with shine) and the vivid green in his garment are also strong. Having a red-orange background makes the ferociousness of the fighting all the more fierce. The bright yellow in this issue’s title draws attention as well. That double-paged splash of 4 and 5 could have been saved had the coloring of the energy not so closely matched the background. This a rare error from Hi-Fi. The speaker on Pages 6 and 7 has wonderful skin tone–even with his head bowed on Page 7 he’s a monster! I also enjoyed the backgrounds changing to match the mood of the art–yellow for the peaceful beach and red for Guy’s rage or scenes of action. And I can’t neglect the wonderful greens and brown on the final page–Superb! Overall grade: A

The letters: Travis Lanham provides narration and dialogue (the same font), opening title and credits, sounds, a scream, editor’s note, and a unique individual’s speech for this this issue. For a Kirby based book I’m expecting some big sounds, and Lanham provides them provides them; the third page’s KRAK was my favorite. Overall grade: A

The final line: A big prologue for future conflict cuts into Guy Gardner action. More action than laughs, this time out, but still enjoyable. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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