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From the depths of Jack Kirby’s D-List – Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers Special #1

September 25, 2010

I’m a Kirby fan, but I’m not a Kirby nut. I think the difference between the two is recognizing the man’s visual genius, but not being enthusiastic about everything that issued from his pencils and pens.

I’d throw Captain Victory into that “stuff-I’m-not-nuts-about” category. It was published intermittently by Pacific Comics in the early 1980’s and, I’m though I’m not overly familiar with the characters involved, I can safely say that none grabbed me in this special.  The art and story are unfocused, and lack the taut energy that characterized Kirby’s most transcendent work. I’ve never been all that crazy about Kirby’s scripts — they’ve always seemed a bit flabby, even the DC material that’s so warmly remembered — but at this point in his career even his pencils and inks had lost some of their steam.

This tale, with Victory and some of the rangers transported back in time and, yes, at one point donning the costumes of the Musketeers, rumbles along far too quickly for one to ever get acquainted with the characters or their surroundings. If this book were a person, you’d want to grab it by the shoulders and yell “Slow Down! Enunciate!” It’s a mess.

Still, there are moments where the old Kirby genius makes a cameo, most notably a couple of splash pages and tableaus like the one you see at the bottom of this page:

There are also some pin-ups in the back of the book of characters and devices — this one caught my attention:

The way Kirby drew such exaggerated, gigantic machinery, you might almost wonder if he was — *ahem* — compensating for something. This device in particular… I mean, it’s just an array of phalluses (phalli?). We get it, Jack! We get it, okay?!

The bottom line? This is a not-so-special special.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 12:20 pm

    Jared:

    I haven’t read this one yet, but have found most of the Captain Victory stuff I’ve read to be a step down from the King’s ’70s Marvel work (which I’m a big fan of). And, yes, I’d have to agree: I find the Asterider a bit threatening : )

    Cheers,
    Andrew
    ComicsBronzeAge.com

    • September 27, 2010 4:28 pm

      The King had a long decline, and this fits right in the middle of it. I suppose a lot of it has to do with him working with characters that today are largely forgotten, but even his work on the 80’s DC Super-Powers comics (work that I have a nostalgic fondness for) is pretty weak.

  2. Edo Bosnar permalink
    September 28, 2010 5:58 am

    Actually, I have to disagree slightly – I largely enjoyed that first, invasion-of-Earth story arc in Captain Victory (about the first 6-7 issues) . But everything after was pretty much forgettable – in fact, in my mind I remember the series going downhill at about the same time Pacific switched to that slick Baxter paper.
    As for this Special, I agree completely: most of it had me scratching my head and thinking WTF? – and not in a good way.

  3. Forager permalink
    March 12, 2012 5:34 pm

    Captain Victory seemed to be a secret sequel to the New Gods, and Capt Victory himself may have been Orion’s son.

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