Nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah… Bat-Cow! Bif! Bam! Pow! Moo?!?
Infinity Man and the Forever People #4 sees the team of Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish once again on art duties. No offense to all of the fill-in artists, but a little stability is certainly appreciated. Giffen, with co-writer Dan DiDio, picks up right where the previous issue ended (not counting last month’s Futures End detour) with the Forever People’s Boom Tube going, um, boom. The quintet from New Genesis fall just a bit short of their home base of Venice Beach, crashing into a Wayne Enterprises dairy & agriculture center in Ventura CA. It is there that they encounter this issue’s extra special guest star, from the pages of Batman Incorporated, the one and only Bat-Cow.
I like how Giffen & DiDio script the Forever People. On the one hand, they are New Gods, deities from an ultra-advanced alien civilization. On the other, they are newcomers to Earth with little knowledge of the planet’s cultures. Thus they are depicted as possessing a distinctive blend of sophistication and naiveté. That certainly lends itself to comedy, such as Big Bear & Serafina asking Bat-Cow for advice.
There is a quality to Keith Giffen’s writing that I have often observed. His stories either are bizarrely farcical and ultra-comedic, or they are extremely dark and intensely somber. Well, there is also the third option, where Giffen chooses to work with both extremes simultaneously. That is clearly the case with Infinity Man and the Forever People.
So throughout issue #4 there are several allusions to the war Highfather and New Genesis have launched against the Lantern Corps in the current “Godhead” crossover, the quarrel between Infinity Man and Himon, and a dark winged woman stalking Mark Moonrider. Yet you also have Bat-Cow, and the Forever People being forced to take public transportation home, and Serafina’s encounter with the off-kilter Doctor Skuba, who proudly declares “While I am a pool cleaner by profession, I earned my doctorate in the hydrological sciences.”
It appears Giffen & DiDio have a definite destination in mind for this series, as hinted at in the Futures End special, with artwork by Philip Tan & Jason Paz. Half a decade in the future Beautiful Dreamer references such occurrences as “Lord Aagog’s assault on Earth, and Himon’s planetary quarantine.” We also get a glimpse of Infinity Man in battle with OMAC. I was wondering if these were events that Giffen & DiDio would actually be building up to once the series returned to the present. Considering the “Femme Fatale” who was spying on Mark Moonrider is apparently an agent of the aforementioned Lord Aagog, yes, it appears so.
I appreciate the fact that Giffen & DiDio have long-term plans, but that they are also leaving room for some humorous asides and oddball tangents. I wonder if they could manage to fit in an appearance by Giffen’s irreverent creation Ambush Bug.
The covers for both issue #4 and Futures End are illustrated by Howard Porter. His style has changed since his days on JLA. Porter unfortunately suffered a severe hand injury several years ago and had to re-train himself to draw. While I do find his current work a bit sketchy compared to his older art, he is still very good. And I am certainly happy that he was eventually able to resume his career as a professional artist. His two contributions to this series are well done. The Futures End piece is moody and ominous, while the cover for #4 is quite humorous. It appears that Porter is going to be the regular cover artist for this book going forward. I’ve seen images of a couple of his upcoming covers posted online, and they look good.
Anyway, it’s nice to find a New 52 series from DC Comics that doesn’t take itself so damn seriously. After all, it’s certainly possible to tell dramatic, emotionally riveting stories that are also fun. Hopefully Infinity Man and the Forever People is finding an audience, because I’d like to see this series continue on. It has quite a bit of potential.