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New Gods:

Death of the New Gods (2007-2008)

As part of the larger Countdown to Final Crisis event, DC created several related mini-series and specials. One of that event’s many storylines focused around the New Gods, particularly their deaths. Lightray died in the pages of Countdown #48, but most of the New Gods would be killed in the pages of Death of the New Gods, an eight-issue mini-series that would theoretically give these characters the send-off they deserved.

To helm the mini-series, DC chose Jim Starlin, who had produced Cosmic Odyssey (and helped launch New Gods Vol. 3 in its wake). Starlin had a reputation for cosmic work (including on Marvel’s Thanos, to which he had recently returned), and he was a logical choice.

Unfotunately, the mini-series itself largely failed to live up to its promise. To some extent, this was due to the somewhat antiquated style of the narrative and art. But the culprit behind the mysterious murders of the New Gods turned out to be the Source itself. For a while, as Metron discussed events with the good side of the Source, depicted as a small sphere, this twist seemed like a combination of Kirby’s mythology and something resembling serious science fiction. But the good part of the Source combined with the evil part, becoming a rather silly-looking entity that was rather disappointing as the final culprit.

Admirably, the story tried to make sense out of all of New Gods history, even incorporating elements of general DC Universe history. But this history was also a problem, in that readers had seen Darkseid (and others) die many times before. In the end, the Source combined New Genesis and Apokolips, which readers had also already seen. Also, the fact that the Orion who would finally confront Darkseid was a kind of zombie, and that this confrontation occurred with the rest of the New Gods already dead, detracted from the prophecy of their confrontation. Still, Starlin probably did the best within the constraints he had.

Finally, the series was also lessened by the fact that it was a tie-in to the incredibly poor Countdown to Final Crisis. In fact, the deaths of the final two New Gods — Orion and Darkseid — occurred in the pages of that series, not in Death of the New Gods. (While Death of the New Gods wasn’t favorably reviewed, it was certainly better than the series of which it was an offshoot!) Supposedly, all of this was to set up Final Crisis, but the silly Source entity (perhaps for the best) would not reappear, nor would the combined world formed by New Genesis and Apokolips.

Death of the New Gods #1

“So Begins… the End” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Matt Banning
  • the Black Racer and Big Barda die

first issue; cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Dec 2007

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Death of the New Gods #2

“Celestial Genocide” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Matt Banning
  • The Justice League investigates Big Barda’s death, and Superman joins the narrative (remaining a part of the story through its end)
  • Mister Miracle changes his costume’s colors to indicate his mourning

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Dec 2007

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Death of the New Gods #3

“Armageddon Tarantella” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Matt Banning and Mark McKenna
  • Takion is killed
  • Mister Miracle confronts Darkseid, who isn’t responsible for the deaths

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Jan 2008

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Death of the New Gods #4

“Bearing Witness” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Art Thibert
  • the Forever People are found dead

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Feb 2008

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Death of the New Gods #5

“Mistakes” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Matt Banning and Art Thibert
  • Metron meets the Source, an entity shaped like sphere, as he creates the Old Gods (including Odin), who recounts the New Gods’ origins and history from its perspective and who is killing the New Gods to make way for a Fifth World
  • Kalibak and Mantis die

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Mar 2008

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Death of the New Gods #6

“Sacrifice” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Art Thibert
  • Orion dies

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated Apr 2008

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Death of the New Gods #7

“Seraphic Reunification” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Art Thibert
  • Mister Miracle battles Infinity Man and destroys the Source Wall
  • the good and evil parts of the Source combine into one entity
  • Mister Miracle and then Metron ask the combined Source entity for death, and both requests are granted

cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated May 2008

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Death of the New Gods #8

“The End” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Jim Starlin; inks by Art Thibert
  • Darkseid reveals that he’s been tapping into the dead New Gods and that he plans to remake the universe (as seen in Countdown to Final Crisis)
  • confronting Darkseid, the Source entity resurrects Orion to fight Darkseid, but Darkseid escapes
  • Superman witnesses New Genesis and Apokolips combine as part of the Source’s plans for a Fifth World
  • the resurrected Orion is sent to Earth to kill Darkseid (as seen in Countdown to Final Crisis #1)

final issue; cover by Jim Starlin and Art Thibert; published by DC Comics; $3.50; cover-dated June 2008

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Death of the New Gods

collects Death of the New Gods #1-8; published by DC Comics; 256 pages; hardcover; $29.99; cover-dated Sept 2008

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Death of the New Gods softcover

collects Death of the New Gods #1-8; published by DC Comics; 256 pages; softcover; $19.99; cover-dated Aug 2009

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Tagged Countdown to Final Crisis, Death of the New Gods, .