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Review: 1st Issue Special #1

1st Issue Special #1 cover
Cover by Jack Kirby

1st Issue Special #1
Published and © by DC, April 1975

Title: “Atlas the Great!”
Synopsis: A powerful young man is on a quest to avenge his parents against Hyssa, the tyrannical lizard king.

Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Kirby
Inker: D. Bruce Berry

Review: This debut of Jack Kirby’s Atlas is not so much a story proper as a notebook of ideas to explore if fans demanded the character’s return. They did not, so this not-done-in-one outing reads like a promise incomplete. There’s little new in this fantasy world of the Crystal Mountain people, or the devil-worshipers of Ishtak, or the forbidden region of fire. But, looking back now, Atlas feels like a lost opportunity. With its creative promise, wooden dialogue and powerful art, 1st Issue Special #1 is a typical mid-’70s example of Kirby’s specific brand of genius.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “Pretty enough, but the story was flat and uninspired. 1/2 out of 4 stars.” – Jack Abramowitz, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1595, August 2004 … “Forgettable.” – Steve Whitaker, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Entertaining.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Another whole world of Jack Kirby magic …
Not-so-cool factor: … that the King never got the chance to explore.

Notable: First appearance of Atlas. … Includes a one-page essay “The Story Behind the Story.”

Character quotable: “I am Atlas! … And I care little for pompous worms who travel on the backs of slaves!!” – Atlas, working-class hero

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 14, 2021.

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