By: Kurt Busiek (writer), Alex Ross (art direction, layouts, covers), Jack Herbert and Alex Ross (art), Vinicius Andrade (colors), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Jack Kirby (concepts and characters)

The Story: In 1972, Pioneer 10 was launched to fly past Jupiter. It was fitted with a plaque, in case anyone in deep space ever found it, so as to be a first contact for humanity. The plaque shows the way to Earth. Issue #0 is about what happens to Pioneer 10, and the attention it draws.

What’s Good: Out of the gates, I have to say the art was superb. Ross’ layouts are strong and Herbert’s inks (as well as Ross’ own), convey a lot of texture and depth. And the raw awesomeness of Andrade’s colors really stood out on the double splash page of Jupiter and all of the brightly-colored Kirby creations that leapt off the page. Where the art team was going for a strong Kirby flavor (some of the poses, the reimaginings of the characters, etc), they did a great job and the Kirby tone just soaks through the paper. At the same time, they totally sidestepped all of Kirby’s problems with odd proportions and what I’ve always considered poor draftsmanship. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the King, but I think we’ll all agree that some of his art, even after 20 years in the business, could be pretty crude (his early Marvel stuff certainly showed he was conscious of being paid by the page). Whatever your feelings on Kirby’s draftsmanship, your don’t have to have any worries here. The art team brings beautiful detail to Pioneer 10, childhood exuberance, and reimagined Kirby aliens of all kinds (too many to list), bizarre Amazonian warriors, and space commandos with what looks like a battle bicycle.

Storywise, I wasn’t sure what I’d get. I loved Kirby’s Eternals and the New Gods, two series that really showed his taste for cosmic scope. I was hoping for the same and Busiek and Ross delivered in Kirby Genesis #0. Writing-wise, the text boxes, so out-of-style in modern comics, were deftly done, and the dialogue was crisp enough to propel the story and yet complete enough to also give us vital information. So, I was one happy camper with what Dynamite brought to the table.

What’s Not So Good: Honestly, my only complaint was that this issue was too short. I was immediately hooked and wanted more, but I contented myself with reading some of the genesis of the Dynamite series itself, which was almost as riveting as the story and gave me an idea of how much canvas Busiek and Ross have to work with (it’s a lot – there aren’t a whole lot of fences in their source material).

Conclusion: An issue #0 has to give the reader a good conceptual taste of what the series is about, without firing the starting gun. This issue completely succeeded and I can’t wait for Kirby Genesis #1.

Grade: A-

-DS Arsenault

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