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DC Graphic Novel #4: The Hunger Dogs

Image yet to come
"The Hunger Dogs"
Jack Kirby: writer
Jack Kirby: pencils
D. Bruce Berry, Mike Royer & Greg Theakston: inks
D. Bruce Berry & Mike Royer: letterers
Greg Theakston, Bill Wray & Tony Dispoto: colors
Nicola Cuti: associate editor
Joe Orlando: editor

In Slum Area 9, amidst the streets of Armagetto, the Hunger Dogs (rebellious denizens of Armagetto) run rampant. As Darkseid laments on the sudden boldness of these denizens of Apokalips, he also oversees his workers constructing plans to destroy New Genesis once and for all.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Armagetto, Orion, who was seemingly killed by Darkseid's troops (in New Gods [reprint series] #6, "Even Gods Must Die!"), is revived by the elusive Himon. He is healed by Himon, and attended to by Bekka, Himon's daughter. While Orion recovers, Darkseid approached the abode of Micro-Mark, a being who plots with Darkseid to destroy New Genesis and its peoples. The Micro-Mark presents Darkseid with a "pygmy," which can be used to destroy a continent, and an even larger "pygmy," which they plot to destroy New Genesis itself with. Suddenly, Himon phases in and steals this oversized pygmy from Darkseid's clutchs. He and the lord of Apokalips exchange words, defining their forever-opposing relationship of hope vs. fear, after which Himon vanishes again. However, as Himon returns to his hiding place, Darkseid managed to neutralize the bomb he's stolen.

On New Genesis, Highfather summons Lonar back to Supertown, where he tells the young god of what he has learned: New Genesis is being poisoned by Darkseid. Lonar does not want to accept the truth, as he has for some time been a traveller of New Genesis, bearing witness to its many beauties. But he must accept, as he's seen some of Darkseid's poisoning with his very eyes. Both learn of the existance of the "pygmy bombs," and the grim truth that not only will New Genesis be poisoned, but destroyed by Darkseid as well. Listening on, Lightray decides to travel to Apokalips to inform his old friend Orion of these events. He penetrates the dark planet's shielding, and finds his friend in Armagetto with the young Bekka. A mechanical drone tracks Lightray and attacks, but both he and Orion defeat it. Lightray rewires the robot and follows it back to his point of origin, where the robot blows up, destroying its base in the process; another trick programmed by Lightray. In a flash, Lightray leaves to allow Orion to deal with Darkseid himself, as both he and Orion realize that their futures are on two different paths.

While Darkseid tests Micro-Mark's pygmy on a hapless and most unfortunate being of Armagetto, the Hunger Dogs become restless yet again. However, they now have a most powerful ally: Orion, son of Darkseid! As he riles the Hunger Dogs up with enthusiasm and hope, Darkseid consults with Micro-Mark himself: Esak, once a young god of New Genesis and student of Metron, now a deformed and twisted being bent on destroying his home world. When Darkseid learns that Orion is the cause of the fervor, he departs, leaving Esak and his troops at Orion's mercy. After a vicious thrashing, Esak's troops are no more. Using his terrifying technology to befall Orion, he tells of his youth on New Genesis, and how his experimenting with Metron's mysterious technologies transformed him into the deformed being he is now. But Orion uses Esak's bantering to recover, and a violent explosion later, Esak is dead. Orion asks the Source to forgive the young god, and it responds by transforming Esak, in death, back into the wonderful young being he once was.

Orion returns to Himon's abode, where Bekka awaits. After a passionate talk, Bekka reveals that she accepts Orion for not only the strong warrior he is, but for what he truly is: the son of Darkseid. As Orion and Bekka embrace, Darkseid attacks Armagetto with a ruthless fury. Then, he acts again...on New Genesis, as Apokalips itself shakes at the explosive death of its sister world. Darkseid is somewhat surprised that Highfather allowed New Genesis to die, but then suddenly realizes Highfather's strikeback: the paranoia that grips Apokalips at this truly awesome and frightening event. The Hunger Dogs are no longer controllable, and attack Darkseid's troops. The dark god himself retreats, somewhat uncertain at what will follow.

What follows is the utter breakdown of any sort of order at all on Apokalips, as Darkseid's legions everywhere are overcome by the sheer ferocity of the Hunger Dogs. "But, no force in the cosmos has ever held against the 'Hunger Dogs!' Their numbers are endless! Their fear is contagious! Their anger is raw power!!"

Darkseid makes his way to Himon's abode, and kills the old soothsayer of Apokalips as he tries to abandon the planet. But even in death, Himon has outfoxed Darkseid again: he has helped Orion free his mother Tigra from imprisonment. He, Bekka and Tigra flee from Darkseid, to parts unknown. A giant explosion rocks Apokalips, but even though the Hunger Dogs are victorious this day, Darkseid will one day rebuild and rule the planet completely. As for the former New Gods of New Genesis, they drift through the cosmos, in search of a new home, which they one day shall find when they find Metron, the god of knowledge.

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