22
Dec
11

kirbsday: the x-pit

Oh man, I plum forgot it was Thursday.

Last issue, a mysterious young man named Scott Free took up the mantle of Mister Miracle, super escape artist, to avenge the death of his friend Thaddeus Brown.

Scott evidently has access to far-out technology, but we don’t know why.

The follower is seemingly ruined, but Mother Box sacrifices itself to save Scott.

The crazy robot, Overlord, is controlled by Granny Goodness.

What is Barbara Bush doing in this comic?

God damn.

Granny’s minions abduct Oberon and the follower, mistaking it for Scott Free.  (The minute the follower shows up dressed up as Mister Miracle, you know the villain will fall for the ruse.  But that already happened when Overlord zapped the duplicate.  It takes a certain amount of storytelling balls to use the exact same trick twice.)

Scott gives chase, but:

The X-Pit!

Things get pretty rough: searing flames, electric jolts, hurricane winds, drowning in mud.  But of course:

Turns out that as Mister Miracle and Oberon were enduring the punishments of the “torment circuit,” the radiation of the X-Pit strengthened Mother Box to the point where she could K.O. Overlord.

Somewhat surprisingly, Mister Miracle has no inclination to arrest, beat up, or drive off Granny Goodness and her minions.

Busting vengeance-crazed, totalitarian viragos hellbent on your destruction isn’t Mister Miracle’s way.  He shows up, gets put in a trap, escapes from a trap, tells haterz to go fuck themselves, and leaves.  Probably not how Wolverine would handle the situation.

parent trap

We’re going to see a lot more of Kirby’s view on fatherhood in the later issues of The New Gods, but this issue really hits on motherhood issues.  In crude plot terms, Scott is shielded from harm by the sacrificial Mother Box, while Granny Goodness builds the sadistic X-Pit with the help of Overlord, her “baby box” which is this weird stunted fetus-machine.  Like the contrast isn’t clear enough, Kirby also installs Granny Goodness as the commandant of a concentration camp for orphans.  (This last bit isn’t totally made clear yet, but we’ll see it in a few months.

Obviously, the good mother facilitates the safety and growth of her children, even to the point of self-sacrifice.  Whereas the bad mother exploits her children for her own gratification–Overlord also is a kind of cosmic-cube wishing machine type of thing, which makes jewelery in addition to the X-Pit–and is threatened when her children show any sign of independence.  On Apokolips, even motherhood demands total control.

Anyway: Granny Goodness is an unforgettable character both in concept and in execution.  When’s the last time you came across a villain whose power was “evil motherhood”?   That close-up is an utterly convincing portrait of maternal fury.  She is just totally fucking psycho.  At least Darkseid is sane.


5 Responses to “kirbsday: the x-pit”


  1. December 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Really getting an Encounter Critical vibe from these Kirby posts.

  2. December 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I agree that Granny is just an awesome villain, even if I always now hear Ed Asner doing her voice.

  3. December 29, 2011 at 4:07 am

    I loved how Edward Asner did the voice of Granny Goodness in the Justice League animated show, in falsetto. Hilarious.


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