The Forever People
+ The Infinity Man
» FIRST APPEARANCE: New Gods #1 + Forever People #1 (both March 1971)
The Forever People are a youthful group of pacifistic New Gods who hail from New Genesis — they called its floating city "Supertown." The group traveled by way of the Super-Cycle, a great four-wheeler equipped with the ability to fly, teleport, and become intangible.
Their personal stories and origin were not explored much in the original series. After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, an origin story was crafted that cast them as Earth children who had been selected by Highfather of New Genesis to fulfill a great destiny (in Forever People v.2, 1988). All of this was discarded by John Byrne when he wrote another origin story, presented in Jack Kirby's Fourth World #18-20 (1998).
This group has been the least utilized among Jack Kirby's Fourth World creations, but their original series introduced the concept of the Anti-Life Equation, a key component in the ongoing story of Darkseid.
The Forever People are:
- Beautiful Dreamer is a "flower power" telepath who can create convincing illusions. In original tales, she appeared to be romantically involved with Mark Moonrider.
- Big Bear is the powerhouse who becomes impervious by reinforcing his own atomic structure by channeling high density atoms that are around him. He can also use these "free floating atoms" to add density to others, and objects. Big Bear drives their vehicle, the Super-Cycle.
- Mark Moonrider, their leader, Generates a pseudo-electrical energy with his "megaton
touch," which allows him to shoot bolts of energy and disrupt solid matter.
Serifan is the youngest of the bunch. He uses his power to create colorful "cosmic cartridges," which can generate a number of effects including anti-gravitational force or force fields.
Vykin the Black wields the "repelli-force effect" which acts like magnetism and allows him to attract, repel, and levitate himself and other things. Vykin is the keeper of the Forever People's Mother Box.
The Infinity Man
The story of the Forever People begins thousands of years in the past. Drax was the elder son of Yuga Khan and his wife, Heggra, rulers of Apokolips. He and his brother Uxas interacted freely with the gods of their sister planet, New Genesis and Drax was great friends with its citizen Izaya. It was a time of peace between the planets and being pacifists, Izaya and Drax promised to keep it. Uxas, on the other hand, was the duplicitous sort and plotted to ascend the throne with the help of his friend, Desaad. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2)
Heggra liked to joke that the elder Drax was her favorite son, but mocked his proclamations of peace. She later admitted that she was grooming Uxas for the throne instead. Drax was pressured to assume his "god power," the terrible Omega Effect, a feat many before him had failed. One needed the fortitude to contain the power and the name which their prophesies paired with it: Darkseid. Drax acquiesced, donned protective armor, and prepared to enter the Infinity Pit — the passageway to ultimate power. (#3)
When Drax began channeling its energy, his armor malfunctioned (at Desaad's doing) and Uxas stepped in to seize the power instead. (#4) Drax was apparently vaporized but Uxas was transformed. He emerged from the Infinity Pit with skin like blue granite, now Darkseid. (#5)
But Drax did not die. He awoke to find himself badly burnt but alive on the world called Adon. He was greeted by another man from Apokolips, Astorr, the previous contender cast out of the Infinity Pit. All who sought the Pit's power arrived on Adon. They came to master a different kind of knowledge and power — the "ways of Infinity." Each added his own knowledge to the last's and created a persona called the Infinity Man. Astorr was now elderly and as he died, he passed the culmination of the years' studies down to Drax. Their order regarded this power as the opposite of Darkseid's, a response by the Source to oppose his dark potential. Drax became the new Infinity Man and began looking for a way back to his original home. (#18)
Somehow Drax made contact with his old friend Izaya on New Genesis. They made a plan that involved gathering five families together whose children were special in certain ways. The Source guided his selection and the youngsters were tutored separately from others. Each child was given a special Mother Box (a sentient, living computer connected to the Source). After training with the Boxes for five years, the children were brought back together for further indoctrination and to synchronize their thoughts, an ultimate exercise in concentration. More years later their efforts were put to a test. They produced their Mother Boxes, noting that each was differently shaped — this because they were designed to form one larger Box. Young Vykin was appointed this Box's keeper, and when the five of them touched it and chanted "TAARU," they brought forth (and traded places with) Drax, the Infinity Man. (#19)
The Forever People
The Forever People first came to Earth when Beautiful Dreamer had been kidnapped by Darkseid. He believed that she could interpret the elusive Anti-Life Equation. If mastered, the Equation would provide total control over living things. The boys' presence drew the attention of Superman. They assumed that because he had great powers, he was also from New Genesis. Indeed, this made Superman wonder if he was. Each of the youngsters had their own unique abilities, but when they touched their Mother Box together and cried "TAARU!", they swapped places with a cosmic warrior called the Infinity Man. Together they drew out Darkseid, who had already given up on Dreamer. He released her saying she did not have the knowledge he sought. (Forever People v.1 #1) Note: This was their first appearance in print.
The five remained on Earth out of curiosity. Like other Mother Boxes, theirs allowed for teleportation — or "phasing out" as they referred to it — similar to the Boom Tube used on Apokolips. They set up shop in a derelict Metropolis apartment building, where they befriended a young boy, Donnie, and his uncle Willie. Darkseid had departed but his minion, Mantis, came out of hibernation from his pod, and did battle with the Infinity Man. (#2)
Earth was infested with Darkseid's agents such as Glorious Godfrey, who began a church of sorts. Godfrey did not believe in the Anti-Life Equation. Instead, he practiced a form of mass mind control he called "inventive selling." Godfrey's recruited Earth men as enforcers called Justifiers. Justifiers were willing to become suicide bombers that detonated with Darkseid's Omega energy. They targeted the Forever People and the Infinity Man was brought forth again. But Darkseid himself stepped in and unleashed his Omega Effect to banish the Infinity Man to parts unknown, and the Forever People were captured. (#3)
The five were imprisoned in a faux amusement park called Happyland, a playground for Desaad where captives were tortured in disguise before the eyes of unsuspecting park-goers. Twisted Desaad also attempted to torture their Mother Box until the device teleported away. It sought Sonny Sumo, a human who proved to be a genuine receptacle of the Anti-Life Equation. (#4) Mother Box led Sonny to free the Forever People. Sumo then demonstrated the terrible potential for the Equation's power, but restrained himself and command the Justifiers to fall to sleep. (#5) They destroyed Happyland and Darkseid came to take matters into his own hands. He used his Omega Effect to banish the Forever People to places unknown — all save Serifan whom he believed posed no threat. (#6)
Serifan thought his friends were dead but Dreamer and Moonrider were transported to the time of Abraham Lincoln's assassination; Vykin to Florida in the time of Ponce de Leon; and Big Bear amidst the Romans' retreat from ancient Great Britain. Meanwhile Serifan used his cosmic cartridges to single-handedly fight off Glorious Godfrey. Highfather eventually intervened and recalled the Forever People to New Genesis. Sonny Sumo, however, remained stranded hundreds of years in Japan's past, where became a notable spiritual leader and left a legacy of peace. (#7)
When they returned, the Forever People landed in the grip of Billion-Dollar Bates, yet another human with the power of Anti-Life. Bates was accidentally killed by one of his own guards before Darkseid could exploit his power. This time the tyrant released the Forever People, explaining that "Greatness does not come from killing the young!" (#8)
The title's final issues featured an unlikely guest star, Deadman. (#9) The group began to settle in to life on Earth with Dreamer becoming a model and Big Bear a chauffeur. They helped Deadman find his killer by creating an organic Follower for his spirit to inhabit, and Serifan gave him a blue Cosmic Cartridge to aid cohesion between the two. (#10)
Their repose was short-lived because Darkseid changed his mind and attacked them anew. He unleashed his agent, Devilance the Pursuer, a powerful bounty hunter whom the Forever People could not defeatst. They fled across the globe until their Mother Box was able to reestablish contact with the Infinity Man. The hero had made constant attempts to return but failed to penetrate the barrier around his area of space. The connection reestablished, the Infinity Man returned and challenged the Pursuer and both were apparently destroyed in a conflagration when the villain's lance exploded. The Forever People were thus stranded in another universe on the paradise planet called Adon, unable to switch places again. (#11)
And Then... (Post-Crisis)
In the original 1971 series, the personal lives of the Forever People were not explored in much depth. The characters were abandoned on Adon and untouched until after the Crisis on Infinite Earths when, like many DC properties, they were reinvigorated. A 1988 six-issue limited series by J.M. DeMatteis and Paris Cullins picked up their story from Kirby. It honored original continuity, but took the Forever People in a totally new direction. All of the revelations from this mini-series were retconned by John Byrne's post-Zero Hour origin in Jack Kirby's Fourth World #18-20 (1998).
Forever People v.2
By this point, the Forever People had been on Adon for over a decade. They met the indigenous people of that planet, who were more primitive and child-like. They feared the visitors, but Vykin used Mother Box to alter their brain waves and genetic patterns to speed up their evolution. Vykin — and his Mother Box — was killed in a resulting explosion but he succeeded. Mark Moonrider fell in love with a native named Mina and they had three daughters, Starbright, Wendy, and Merry. He became the mayor of their new civilization called Forevertown. Big Bear went on to marry Dreamer, and they were expecting a child. Serifan was scarred by Vykin's death and became an outsider. He fell prey to the influence of a malevolent force called the Dark. (Forever People v.2 #1)
The Dark latched onto Serifan's desire to return to better days, and turned back the clock on Adon. Everything from their time on the planet was erased: Dreamer was no longer pregnant, Mark's family was gone, and Vykin was returned to life. Mark was traumatized to realize his wife and children were gone; likewise Beautiful Dreamer for her unborn child. Meanwhile, their former Mother Box had somehow bonded with the remaining energies of the Infinity Man on Earth and become a new sort of protector named Maya. (#2)
Maya transported the Forever People to Earth where Mark commenced to drinking. He fell prey to Fyre, a human agent of the Dark. (#3) His old friends tried to intercede but failed to stop the Dark's human agents from swarming and overtaking them. (#4)
The Forever People were taken to Castle Dark and Maya helped them to rally. Dreamer created an illusion of Mina and Mark's children to disrupt Fyre's influence. Mark then joined with the others to utter the word to summon the Infinity Man again (without their Mother Box). The Infinity Man cleaned up the Dark's agents then released the Forever People. This was the first time they had been present together. As his form receded, he explained that Maya had combined her power with his remaining essence to allow for his return. This was his last act; as he disappeared, Maya returned. (#5)
The team was restored and together they forced the Dark's wraiths to flee. Before leaving them, Maya revealed their origins: Highfather had paid heed to the Source, which said, "From time itself shall come salvation." He gathered five infants "whose lives would have been brief and painful" and brought them to New Genesis for special training among the Gods. They were groomed to protect Earth from dark forces. Maya restored their Super Cycle then her form changed to reveal that she had in fact been the personification of their Mother Box. The Forever People were fully reunited and Beautiful Dreamer discovered that Maya's essence had taken root inside her — Dreamer was pregnant again. (#6)
Highfather came to Earth to visit his son, Scott Free (aka Mister Miracle), and invited the Forever People to the Free's home for dinner. (Mister Miracle v.2 #3) It was a tense meal where from Scott stormed off after an argument with his father. He fell prey to Fyre and the Dark, who had taken over an old mansion. Meanwhile Beautiful Dreamer went into labor! (#4) Highfather and the rest of the Forever People helped take down the Dark's minions Fyre escaped. When they returned to the Free home, the baby was born. She was named Maya and could already speak intelligently. Highfather greeted her saying, "Welcome back dear one. There's much work ahead for you." (#5)
Dreamer and Big Bear raised Maya on Earth, where the Forever People felt more at home. They uncovered another one of Darkseid's projects at a nuclear plant. The situation escalated when Highfather sent Orion to help. Highfather was concerned for Maya, whom he said, "represents source of great strength to Darkseid." Desaad took this opportunity to attack the New Gods and set off a nuclear reaction at the plant. Desaad offered a solution: exchange Maya for his suppression of the explosion. (New Gods v.3 #24) Beautiful Dreamer nearly acquiesced, but the disaster was averted by the sacrifice of the plant's president. Desaad retreated, leaving Bear and Dreamer uneasy about the safety of their daughter. (#25)
The Forever People remained on Earth as sometime-intermediaries with the Fourth World. When the Female Furie called Lashina coerced members of the the Suicide Squad into helping her return to Apokolips, the Forever People responded to a call for help from their teammates. (Suicide Squad v.1 #34, 36) When things were resolved, they transported the Squad and Big Barda home. (#37)
When Brainiac created a panic in the sky, Superman gathered help from Earth's heroes, the New Gods, and the Forever People. (Superman v.2 #65) Brainiac invaded Earth from his Warworld, and the Forever People were so overwhelmed by his hordes that they summoned the Infinity Man, who fought alongside Captain Marvel. Marvel remarked that he sensed they had something in common. (Action Comics #675, Superman v.2 #66)
After Maya was born, the Forever People took up residence in the Habitat, an experimental place created within the sphere of the Cadmus Project. Their Mother Box failed to warn them when Maya was abducted, and they took the Super-Cycle to Metropolis for Superman's help. They went immediately to Apokolips and summoned the Infinity Man to dispatch Darkseid's dog soldiers. Darkseid found them and sniffed out the true culprit in the kidnapping: Granny Goodness. He was displeased with Granny; he hadn't ordered the abduction. Darkseid sent them all back to Earth but noted that Maya held the key to the New Genesis' future, and must be monitored. Highfather intercepted the young heroes and rerouted them to New Genesis. He convinced them to live there instead, with which their Mother Box agreed. (Adventures of Superman #495)
When Superman died in battle with Doomsday, the young gods joined Earth's heroes to attend his funeral. (Superman: Man of Steel v.1 #20)
After Zero Hour, John Byrne rebooted the New Gods to retcon away the events of Forever People v.2. Maya had never been born, and the group was made native to New Genesis, not Earth. And Beautiful Dreamer seemed to take more of a liking to Mark Moonrider than Big Bear (as it seemed Kirby had intended). This left the Forever People on Adon, and the story to pick up from there...
At some point during a great Fourth World crisis, Darkseid plucked the Forever People from Adon — because he had need of Vykin's aid. Darkseid considered him second only to Metron in intelligence. Darkseid and Highfather made a sacrifice to save their worlds from total destruction, and the New Gods were shunted to Earth and made amnesiac. The Forever People came to in the desert near Las Vegas, minus Vykin, but with Lightray. From his mind, Dreamer found clues from recent events. Their friend Takion arrived with the Super-Cycle, which could not locate Vykin. He was with Darkseid (and angry about the tyrant's deceptions). The dark lord would not let Vykin go. (New Gods v.4 #14) Darkseid needed Vykin's help to penetrate and exit from the Source. He was currently trapped within, and spoke via a weaker avatar. When they went to the Source Wall, the other gods converged on them as well. Darkseid broke apart the Forever People's Mother Box, showing that it was made from five individual Boxes. (#15)
They parted ways with Darkseid, whose true aim remained obscure. Serifan was called upon to help Mister Miracle and Big Barda free the god Odin from the Source Wall (this in preparation to oppose Darkseid). His Cosmic Cartridges succeeded in freeing Odin from the Wall. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #3)
Darkseid's schemes led an armada of aliens to attack Earth. Vykin deduced that the only power that could stop their weapon was Orion's Astro Force — but Orion was dead. They summoned Orion back from the Source while Beautiful Dreamer cast her powerful illusion ever to make the aliens think the Earth had exploded. (#4) Orion was dejected after his return and the Forever People took him to visit his former master, Valkyra, who was also Vykin's mother. She and Vykin were not terribly close and had philosophical differences. Valkyra coaxed Orion from his depression by battle. (#7)
Orion stayed with Valkyra and they became lovers. Dreamer sensed their first kiss, and likened it to a sign of spring. (#11-12) Their happiness was brief, as Valkyra sacrificed her life to save Orion's. During a battle with his brother Kalibak, she jumped in front of the Black Racer, who took her life instead of theirs. Vykin sensed her passing. (#17)
During another great threat on Earth, the Forever People attempted to stop a giant frightened mob. At Mark's request, they used their power in a new way. They joined hands upon Mother Box and were lit with divine energy, which calmed the crowd's minds and spirits and turned their thoughts to hope. (#8)
A group of teen heroes called Young Justice found a second Super-Cycle, unearthed from a crater on Earth. Their presence activated the vehicle and it bonded with them, becoming their primary mode of transportation. (Young Justice #1) Riding it across the globe, they found that it had a "phase out" feature to make them intangible. They were drawn to the mountains of China and inadvertently freed a prisoner from Apokolips called Rip Roar. It was he who had stolen this Super-Cycle — 2,000 years before. The Cycle chose Young Justice over its former master, and Rip Roar was reimprisoned under an erupting volcano. (#2)
On New Genesis, Mark and Dreamer frolicked in a field when their Super-Cycle went into lockdown and began attacking them. On Earth a similar scene unfolded for Young Justice, their Cycle going berserk and prompting them to open a Boom Tube to New Genesis. The teens met the Forever People, who said the second Cycle was stolen from them by Rip Roar years earlier. (#28) Dreamer tried to soothe the Cycles but they merged to form a giant stomping robot. The Infinity Man was summoned but this time the hero Impulse joined them and became a part of the fusion. This version of the Infinity Man was unstable and they were soon separated. Following more commotion the vehicles produced a sort of "offspring," a small three-wheeler that Dreamer named "Kirbee." (#29) Note: This was the first story to retcon away Big Bear's and Dreamer's relationship, though at the end of the story, she said the new vehicle was "the perfect size for our child to ride!"
When DC rebooted its multiverse to create the "New 52," the entire Fourth World was recast and reinvented. The Forever People starred in a new series that added a member to their roster, and changed Serifan to "Serafina," a darker-skinned female.
Superman/Batman: Generations III (2003)
After John Byrne left Jack Kirby's Fourth World, he wrote three Elseworlds (outside mainstream continuity) maxi-series starring the Superman/Batman team. In the third, Superman/Batman: Generations III, he heavily leveraged the New Gods and even managed to tie up some of his own dangling plot threads. The series spanned a thousand years, and in the second issue (set in 2025), Superman traveled to New Genesis, where he became trapped with no escape. Two hundred years later he had married Beautiful Dreamer. (#4) By 2525, they had a son named Lar-El and a daughter, Vara. Metron finally created the means for Superman to return to Earth, but after this he was cut off from his wife and children. (#7) It was another 200 years before he found the means to return to his family. New Genesis was in ruins but the Celestial City had survived. Darkseid had returned to full power and as he killed Beautiful Dreamer, his Omega blast shunted Superman shunted back to Earth. (#10)
At the end of this tale, the heroes defeated Darkseid and his time manipulations were undone. This erased Superman's time on New Genesis, and his family therefrom. The other Forever People were killed centuries before Dreamer's own demise. Surprisingly, she was one of the stronger gods, capable of surviving when their link to the Source was severed.
In the Multiversity Guidebook (2015), which delineated the New 52 multiverse, this universe was designated as Earth-12.
In Other Media
The Forever People guest-starred in an episode of the 2010 Young Justice animated series, in Season One, Episode 17. The young gods came to Earth in a vehicle that resembled the Newsboy Legion's Whiz Wagon (from Kirby's Jimmy Olsen), in search of other stolen technology from New Genesis. Somehow, their Super Cycle had come into the possession of the members of Young Justice. They intercepted Superboy who was riding the Cycle, and he helped them track down the problem. Desaad had armed Inter-Gang on Earth with weapons from Apokolips. Inter-Gang members included Ugly Mannheim (created by Jack Kirby) and Whisper A'Daire (a Batman villain). The Forever People merged to form the towering Infinity Man and cleaned up, with Superboy's help.
This episode harkens to early issues of the Young Justice comic book (1998), when the team began using the Super Cycle.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Action Comics #675
- Adventures of Superman #495 (Infinity Man)
- Armageddon 2001 #1 (Big Bear)
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #10
- Genesis #2
- Guy Gardner: Warrior #29
- History of the DC Universe #2
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World #3-20
- Mister Miracle v.2 #3-5
- New Gods v.3 #25 (Infinity Man)
- New Gods v.4 #14-15
- Orion #4, 5, 8, 9
- Suicide Squad v.1 #34, 36, 37
- Superman/Batman: Generations III #4, 7, 9, 10 (Elseworlds)
- Superman: The Man of Steel #20, 40
- Superman v.2 #65, 66
- Superman: The Dark Side #2-3 (Elseworlds)
- Young Justice #28-29
- Forever People, 11 issues (1971–72)
- Forever People v.2, 6-issue limited series (1988)
- Infinity Man and the Forever People, 10 issues (2014–15)
» SEE ALSO: