Written by – Lee Allred, Michael Allred
Art by – Michael Allred, Laura Allred
Release Date – May 10, 2017
Where to get it – Available in comic stores or digitally on Kindle/Comixology
Perhaps what is most impressive about Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is the sheer depth of the characters and story. Each panel is dense with world-building. So much so, that even small characters make a lasting impact.
Forager the Bug is certainly one of those characters. He has a very memorable story in New Gods, yet was really only a bit character. The character didn’t appear until issue #9 of that title. He had a similarly memorable, yet brief, role in 1988’s Cosmic Odyssey.
When a 6-issue mini-series exploring the character under DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint was announced, I was excited just to see more of the character. Having read the first issue, I’m now even more excited.
This issue not only honors Kirby’s creation of Forager, but also other characters, all while giving a fresh and modern take on the mythology. The Allreds – Lee, Michael, and Laura – put a strong stamp on the new, but familiar take on the character. If the first issue is any indication, it’s looks to be a fun romp celebrating the Bug.
The first issue picks up right where Forager’s story left off, after meeting his demise in the pages of Cosmic Odyssey. It turns out he’s not exactly dead and there is probably some scientific explanation that Metron could rattle off.
There are plenty of nods, Easter eggs, and references to Kirby’s other DC Comics work. The most important of these is Kirby’s Garrett Sanford version of Sandman. The character features heavily in this issue and is aided by Brute and Glob.
While Forager (or should I call him “Bug” now?) made a memorable impression to me in his earlier appearances, we still don’t know all that much about him. Getting a deeper look at his psyche was the highlight of the issue for me. This is clearly a character who has struggled trying to discover what he wants to be. I’m guessing that we will see Forager growing over the remaining issues to establish himself going forward.
I wasn’t familiar with the villainous General Electric at all, and it looks as though he has only appeared briefly in the pages of Kirby’s Sandman. He does enough to establish himself as a menace in this issue and I’m curious to see his role going forward.
Being such a fan of Kirby’s Fourth World, I was glad to see plenty of nods to that mythology. While I’m not expecting to see a ton of that going forward, I’m holding out hope for a few more references.
The artwork in this issue was also excellent. It felt respectful to Kirby’s original designs for the characters while having the fresh and unique look from the Allreds. It also helped the action feel fun and energetic, as we get to see Forager in action with his bug-like skills.
Overall, this issue was a fantastic start to the mini-series. It quickly got me re-invested in the Forager character and eager to see more and how he develops further.
The worst part of this issue? After you finish reading it, there will only be 5 more issues remaining. While I would love to see an ongoing series featuring Forager and others, it’s probably for the best that it is a mini-series. Fourth World titles haven’t had the best staying power as ongoing series and this allows for the Allreds to tell a concrete story. I am hopeful that it is strong enough to re-establish Forager and other Kirby creations in various other titles.
Up next – Bug!: The Adventures of Forager #2 – releases June 7, 2017