Sequart on Twitter Sequart on Facebook Sequart on Google+ SequartTV on YouTube Sequart on Patreon

New Gods:

Mid-’90s Relaunch (1995-1996)

In 1995, DC launched a new New Gods ongoing series, joined about half a year later by a new Mister Miracle ongoing, and two months after that by a new ongoing titled Takion, starring a new character connected to the Source.

It was an ambitious plan. Prior relaunches had included New Gods and Mister Miracle. But the addition of Takion made the Fourth World family of titles consist of three series for the first time since Kirby’s original run. The subject of Takion also suggested that DC was letting the Fourth World continue to evolve.

It wouldn’t last long, however. The three new titles (especially New Gods) were defined by a mid-1990s, post-Image-Comics aesthetic that, while not uncommon at DC at the time, rarely succeeded critically or commercially. The Justice League family of titles had a similar aesthetic, and they were being cancelled at this time to make way for Grant Morrison’s (far more successful) JLA.

The story was also disappointing. In the first two issues, Orion killed Darkseid, only to contaminate the Source and himself in the process. This spurred the various gods to go mad. Orion was clearly harboring some surviving element of Darkseid, and Darkseid popped out of Orion in the sixth issue. Lightray claimed the throne of New Genesis and waged war on his own population. Highfather, apparently trying to stem the madness, had a mental asylum created on New Genesis (after visiting Arkham Asylum!) — and then locked only himself up in it. With the Source contaminated, an ancient leviathan named S’ivaa rose from the depths. Then New Genesis and Apokolips were combined into a single planet. The pace was fast, but the story was uncontrolled, filled with dramatic events that didn’t carry the narrative weight they should’ve.

The three titles also didn’t coordinate well with one another. The early issues of Mister Miracle saw him being installed as Highfather’s replacement (presumably after Highfather imprisoned himself in his new mental asylum), despite Lightray’s madness making him want to rule. Worse, Orion and Lightray seemed to be getting alone, despite Orion gunning for Lightray in the pages of New Gods. Meanwhile, Highfather created Takion (in Takion) because of the Source’s corruption — yet this wasn’t part of his plans as shown in New Gods. Highfather’s appearances in Takion are hard to place between issues of New Gods.

John Byrne took over New Gods (with issue #12), taking it in a different direction with a very different aesthetic. During his four issues on the title, both Mister Miracle and Takion came to an end with issue #7. And with Byrne’s four issues concluded, DC brought New Gods to an end as well, relaunching the series as Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

Overall, this era of New Gods history is a bit of a mess. But it’s also an interesting artifact of mid-1990s comics. Tellingly, this era’s highlights don’t fit this mold. Keith Giffen’s art for New Gods Vol. #9 makes the issue fascinating, recasting everything into a kind of fun and stylized Kirby pastiche. The final four issues by Bryne (especially #12, which is simply a well-told tale) are another highlight. Takion isn’t great and misses some opportunities (why did it matter that the protagonist was blind before he got his powers?), but it’s based on an interesting concept (essentially a Source elemental) and certainly has its moments. It also managed to explain the plot of New Gods better than that title did.

New Gods Vol. 4 #1

“Attack on the Source!” -- 23 pages

  • written by Tom Peyer and Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey
  • Darkseid returns to Apokolips
  • when Darkseid penetrates the Source, causing disturbances, Orion attacks his father

first issue; cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Oct 1995

New Gods Vol. 4 #2

“The Source of the Beast!” -- 23 pages

  • written by Tom Peyer and Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey
  • continues directly from New Gods Vol. 4 #1
  • Darkseid and Orion battle across space, inhabiting different people in a surreal battle, until Orion kills his father
  • ends with Orion lost and drifting in space

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Nov 1995

Additional Images:

Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips — Dark Uprising #1

“Apokolips: Dark Uprising” -- 40 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Stefano Raffaele; inks by Steve Mitchell
  • broken into four chapters and a prologue
  • Apokolips struggles with revolution in the wake of Darkseid’s death
  • Neron acquires Desaad’s soul

was supposed to be priced $2.95 but was instead erroneously priced as if it were a standard-sized issue; cover by Stefano Raffaele; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Nov 1995

Additional Images:

New Gods Vol. 4 #3

“After the Fall” -- 22 pages

  • written by Tom Peyer and Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey
  • Metron finds Orion and returns him to New Genesis, where Orion seems to be corrupted by his encounter with Darkseid and the Source
  • Highfather receives a prophecy that he will destroy the Source

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Dec 1995
New Gods Vol. 4 #4

“The Flowers of Hell” -- 21 pages

  • written by Tom Peyer and Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey
  • Desaad is still impersonating Darkseid
  • Metron seems to be going crazy
  • Highfather is reeling from the prophecy he received in New Gods Vol. 4 #3
  • Orion visits Earth and acts violently but is brought back to New Genesis by Highfather
  • Lightray proclaims himself ruler of New Genesis, gets weapons from Metron, and attacks New Genesis’s population

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Jan 1996
New Gods Vol. 4 #5

“Descent into Madness!” -- 22 pages

  • written by Tom Peyer and Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey
  • to learn about insanity (which everyone on New Genesis seems to be suffering from), Orion visits Arkham Asylum (no, really)
  • Orion visits Apokolips and is attacked by Granny Goodness’s girls

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Feb 1996
New Gods Vol. 4 #6

“Destruction of the Beast!” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Brian Garvey and John Nyberg
  • Highfather, having discovered that the Source itself is contaminated, plans to build an asylum for the gods (presumably based on having visited Arkham Asylum in New Gods Vol. 4 #5)
  • Orion battles Kalibak on Apokolips, then exposes Desaad (who’s still pretending to be Darkseid)
  • Orion splits into two, allowing Darkseid to return (on the final page)

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Mar 1996

Additional Images:

New Gods Vol. 4 #7

“The End of the Gods” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; art by Stefano Raffaele
  • continues directly from New Gods Vol. 4 #6
  • Darkseid sends Orion to New Genesis, where Lightray is still rampaging
  • Lightray blasts Orion (their fight will begin in New Gods Vol. 4 #8)
  • Highfather imprisons himself in his new asylum

Darkseid and minions pin-up by Luke Ross

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Apr 1996

Additional Images:

Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #1

“Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make…” -- 22 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Steve Crespo; inks by Marcio Morais
  • begins on New Genesis, featuring Orion and explicitly after the events of New Gods Vol. 4 #6 (and thus also #7, which continues directly)
  • features Lightray, who seems a little evil but is hardly the maniac seen in recent issues of New Gods Vol. 4 (this is incompatible with New Gods Vol. 4, in which Orion returns to New Genesis in #7 to confront Lightray, whom he isn’t hostile to here)
  • focuses on Scott Free ascending to the throne of New Genesis (why Lightray, ruling New Genesis, would allow this is unclear), though Highfather reappears (which is very confusing) and the ceremony isn’t completed
  • Mister Miracle goes to Earth, where he begins fighting some Justice Leaguers (Wonder Woman, Fire, and Obsidian) who are possessed by the (now evil) Source
  • Granny Goodness attacks New Genesis and kills Big Barda

first issue; cover by Steve Crespo and Marcio Morais; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Apr 1996

Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #2

“…Nor Iron Bars a Jail” -- 22 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Steve Crespo; inks by Marcio Morais
  • continues directly from Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #1
  • Mister Miracle battles the possessed Wonder Woman, Fire, and Obsidian, then returns to New Genesis and tries to bring his wife back from death

Big Barda and Oberon pin-up by Dwayne Turner

cover by Steve Crespo and Marcio Morais; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated May 1996

Additional Images:

New Gods Vol. 4 #8

“Sins of the Fathers” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; pencils by Dean Zachary; inks by Brian Garvey
  • Orion battles Lightray on New Genesis, then confronts Darkseid and brings Highfather back from self-seclusion
  • Darkseid reveals that he planned to get Orion to kill him (in New Gods Vol. 4 #2) in order to corrupt the Source, but it’s backfired

cover by Luke Ross; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated June 1996
Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #3

“Freedom’s Not Just Another Word…” -- 23 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Steve Crespo; inks by Marcio Morais
  • to return Big Barda to life, Mister Miracle joins with Darkseid’s minions who are invading New Genesis

cover by Steve Crespo and Marcio Morais; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated June 1996

Additional Images:

Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #4

“…for Everything Left to Lose” -- 22 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Steve Crespo; inks by Marcio Morais and Chip Wallace
  • continues directly from Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #3
  • Big Barda gets resurrected
  • Highfather appears (with an editorial note referencing New Gods Vol. 4 #10, although that’s in error) and banishes Scott Free
  • Darkseid also appears
  • Scott Free and Big Barda move to Earth

cover by Steve Crespo and Marcio Morais; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated July 1996
Takion #1

“Birth Pains” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Gary Martin
  • Highfather (because of the Source’s corruption) makes Joshua Sanders (a blind man living in New York City) into Takion, who struggles to control his powers
  • Green Lantern Kyle Rayner appears

first issue; cover by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated June 1996

Additional Images:

Takion #2

“Dark Matter”

  • continues directly from Takion #1
  • Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Captain Atom, and the Flash try to stop Takion, who can’t understand or control his powers
  • Takion leaves for outer space

published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated July 1996

Additional Images:

Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #5

“Free, like a Child!” -- 22 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Marshall Rogers; inks by Terry Austin
  • Mister Miracle finds that he still has some of his powers (despite apparently losing them in Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #4)
  • features Wonder Woman
  • Scott Free and Big Barda battle the villainess Skin Dance, then try a trial separation
  • Big Barda (who feels that her identity is that of a warrior) asks Wonder Woman to go to Themyscira, while Scott Free joins Oberon’s company Miracle Workers

cover by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Aug 1996

Additional Images:

New Gods Vol. 4 #9

“The Lord of Destruction” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; art by Keith Giffen
  • Orion returns to his battle with Lightray, who is imprisoned and insane
  • S’ivaa rises at the end of the story

cover by Keith Giffen; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated July 1996

Additional Images:

Takion #3

“Demons” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Jordi Ensign
  • Takion encounters a (previously unseen) Darkstar named Tarant
  • Darkstars Ferrin Colos and Donna Troy appear
  • Highfather (at the end) seems to be (calmly) spying on Takion

cover by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated Aug 1996
Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #6

“Sometimes the Only Escape…” -- 11 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Mike Collins; inks by Barbara Kaalberg
  • Big Barda fights Wonder Woman, then talks about Wonder Woman’s warrior code.

“…Is No Escape” -- 11 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Marshall Rogers; inks by Terry Austin
  • Mister Miracle stops a wife-beater
  • contains flashbacks to Scott Free’s childhood (continuing those in Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #5)

cover by Walt Simonson; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Sept 1996

Additional Images:

New Gods Vol. 4 #10

“Sacrifice of the Gods” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; pencils by Stefano Raffaelle; inks by Brian Garvey
  • Highfather and Darkseid summon Superman
  • Orion reveals that all universes “exist inside bubbles in the one reality of New Genesis” and that these universes are tiny (the Boom Tubes adjust a traveler’s size)
  • Darkseid and Highfather visit the Source, where Highfather is apparently destroyed

cover by Stefano Raffaelle; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Aug 1996
Takion #4

“Blind Faith” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Jordi Ensign
  • Takion learns more about what he is (described as an “avatar” of the Source) and battles Stayne (his corrupt, female equivalent)
  • Stayne refers to how Darkseid almost has conquered the Source (referring to the end of New Gods Vol. 4 #10)

cover by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated Sept 1996

Additional Images:

Takion #5

“Homecoming” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Jordi Ensign
  • Takion’s summary of recent events in New Gods clearly places his creation after Darkseid’s resurrection (as cover dates would suggest)
  • Stayne flees at the end
  • Highfather appears at the end but is rejected by Takion (perhaps accounting for Takion’s absence in New Gods Vol. 4 #11)

cover by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated Oct 1996
New Gods Vol. 4 #11

“Restoration” -- 22 pages

  • written by Rachel Pollack; pencils by Sergio Cariello; inks by Brian Garvey
  • concludes the story begun in New Gods Vol. 4 #1
  • S’ivaa is defeated
  • Superman appears
  • all seems restored, and Lightray is cured
  • in the epilogue, both New Genesis and Apokolips face some sort of cataclysm (leading into John Byrne’s work)

cover by Stefano Raffaelle; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Sept 1996

Additional Images:

Mister Miracle Vol. 3 #7

“Freedom is Blind” -- 22 pages

  • written by Kevin Dooley; pencils by Steve Crespo; inks by Marcio Morais
  • Mother Box screams, reflecting a disturbance in the Source (it’s not clear how this reflects New Gods Vol. 1 #11, though it’s intended to)
  • warriors from Apokolips, unable to contact their planet, attack Earth (apparently meant to reflect the aftermath of New Gods Vol. 1 #11)
  • features Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner (a.k.a. Warrior), Flash (Wally West), Lady Blackhawk, and others
  • at the end, Mother Box functions again (reflecting the Source’s return, also echoed in Takion #6) and can’t find either New Genesis or Apokolips (reflecting the aftermath of New Gods Vol. 1 #11)
  • at the end, Scott Free vows to go to New Genesis and reconcile with Big Barda (when he’s shown again, they’ve already reconciled)

final issue; cover by Steve Lightle; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Oct 1996

Additional Images:

Takion #6

“Dark Dawn” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Jordi Ensign and Phyllis Novin
  • Takion briefly recounts his participation in Final Night (but there’s no other connection to that crossover in this issue)
  • Takion finds that the Source is gone, then feels its return in some altered form (it’s not clear how this reflects New Gods Vol. 1 #11, though it’s intended to)

cover by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated Nov 1996

First Storyline

New Gods Vol. 4 #12

“After the Fall” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Bob Wiacek
  • Metron, on Earth, recounts recent (previously unseen) events, culminating in the merging of Apokolips and New Genesis
  • Takion appears at the end
  • a far more sophisticated story than most past issues

cover by Walter Simonson; published by DC Comics; $0.99; cover-dated Nov 1996
New Gods Vol. 4 #13

“Night of the Falling Sky” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Bob Wiacek
  • Mister Miracle and Big Barda meet Metron, then Takion

cover by Walter Simonson; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Dec 1996
Takion #7

“Moonlight” -- 22 pages

  • written by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Aaron Lopresti; inks by Jordi Ensign

final issue; Takion visits Eclipso’s palace on the Moon (introduced in Eclipso: The Darkness Within); Takion cures Lightray of his recent madness; Takion explicitly references New Gods Vol. 4 #13; cover by Aaron Lopresti and Jordi Ensign; published by DC Comics; $1.75; cover-dated Dec 1996

New Gods Vol. 4 #14

“The Gathering Storm” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Bob Wiacek
  • Lightray appears (explicitly following his appearance in Takion #7)

cover by Walter Simonson; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Jan 1997
New Gods Vol. 4 #15

“Closing the Ring” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Bob Wiacek

final issue; cover by Walter Simonson; published by DC Comics; $1.95; cover-dated Feb 1997

The Fourth World Gallery
a.k.a. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Gallery; cover by Walter Simonson; published by DC Comics; 32 pages; $3.50; cover-dated Sept 1996

Additional Images:


Tagged , New Gods, Takion.