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%%[[caption-width-right:300:An Epic for Our Times!]]

->'''''There came a time when the Old Gods died!''''' ''The brave died with the cunning! The noble perished, locked in battle with the unleashed evil! It was the '''last''' day for them! An ancient era was '''passing''' in '''fiery''' holocaust! The '''final''' moment came with the '''fatal''' release of the '''indescribable power''' -- which '''tore''' the home of the Old Gods asunder -- '''split''' it in great '''halves''' -- and filled the universe with the '''blinding''' death-flash of its '''destruction'''! In the '''end''' there were '''two''' giant '''molten''' bodies, spinning slow and '''barren''' -- clean of '''all''' that had gone '''before''' -- adrift in the '''fading''' sounds of '''cosmic''' thunder... '''Silence''' closed upon what had happened -- a '''long, deep''' silence -- wrapped in massive '''darkness'''... '''it was this way for an age...''''' '''THEN--THERE WAS NEW LIGHT!'''
-->-- The prologue at the beginning of the first issue of ''NewGods''

Creator/JackKirby's MagnumOpus meta-series where he developed an entire cosmic mythology involving the New Gods of the utopia of [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas New Genesis]] and the dystopia of [[PollutedWasteland Apokolips]]. Collectively, they were called TheFourthWorld.

New Genesis and Apokolips were once one planet, but were split apart during the Old Gods' [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Ragnarok]]. New Genesis is ruled by the benevolent [[OldMaster Highfather]], while Apokolips is kept in the rocky fist of [[OmnicidalManiac Darkseid]]. Before the beginning of the series, there was "[[EnforcedColdWar The Pact]]," where to keep the peace between Apokolips and New Genesis, Highfather and {{Darkseid}} trade sons. Darkseid's son, Orion (pictured right), grows up to wield the "Astro-Force" and know that it is destined that he kill Darkseid in battle. Darkseid, in turn, raises Scott Free, who rebels against him and becomes Mister Miracle (and ends up marrying Big Barda, a reformed former member of Darkseid's Female Furies).

Other characters on New Genesis include: Lightray, Orion's cheerful and optimistic friend; Forager, one of the evolved bug people of New Genesis; and the Forever People, essentially hippies [[RecycledINSPACE FROM SPACE]].

Other characters on Apokolips include: Desaad, Darkseid's chief TortureTechnician and dirty old man; Granny Goodness, who specializes in [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashing]] people and having the evil Female Furies; Kalibak, Darkseid's other son and [[TheDragon second-in-command]]; and [[{{Mooks}} Parademons]].

Then there are [[TheWatcher Metron]], TrueNeutral if there ever was one, and [[TheGrimReaper the Black Racer]], Death on skis.

Other concepts of note include [[AppliedPhlebotinum the Source]], an ancient metaphysical [[BuffySpeak energy-thingy]] that's connected to the Source Wall; Mother Boxes, living [[MagicalComputer magical computers]] that some of the New Gods have; Boom Tubes, teleportation tunnels by which the New Gods travel through [[SubspaceOrHyperspace space]] in a degree of minutes; and [[MacGuffin the Anti-Life Equation]], which Darkseid is forever seeking.

The original Fourth World books were:
* ''New Gods''
* ''Mister Miracle''
* ''The Forever People''
* ''[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Superman's Pal]], JimmyOlsen''

It may be also important to note that the New Gods was abruptly canceled before Kirby could finish it, in part because only Mister Miracle caught on with readers (and even then got canceled several issues later). The New Gods and Mr Miracle were revived in the late '70s by DC minus Kirby's involvement and continued the original numbering but were cancelled in the "Great DC Implosion", with New Gods' last issues being published in "Adventure Comics" (as well as an arc on "Justice League of America" designed to bring Darkseid back).

Kirby was brought back to give his own official ending to the franchise, as part of a deluxe format reprinting of the eleven issues of New Gods that Kirby produced but the whole thing fell apart due to [[ExecutiveMeddling editorial interference]] (Kirby was forbidden from killing Darkseid and Orion off...maybe, some sources say otherwise). What ultimately came about was a new story called "Even Gods Must Die", which was a lead-in to the graphic novel "The Hunger Dogs", which suffered extensive executive meddling but offered a semi-decent ending to the series as Kirby (per DC's demands) ended his story with Darkseid overthrown by his slaves.

Later writers revived the characters and concepts, though with a great deal of decay in concept as only Darkseid and Mr. Miracle caught on with fans (with Orion and Big Barda tagging along). These stories included [[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} The Great Darkness Saga]], [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Rock of Ages]], [[CrisisCrossover ''Legends'', ''Cosmic Odyssey'', ''Genesis'']], ''SevenSoldiers'', ''The Death of the New Gods'', ''Countdown to Final Crisis'', and finally ''FinalCrisis'', which slammed the door on the New Gods once and for all, while giving Darkseid a hell of a send-off as the VillainDecay got shrugged off of him on his way out the door. However, after the ''{{New 52}}'', they were all (presumably) brought back to life thanks to CosmicRetcon.

Before that though, when Creator/{{Kenner}} Toys had the ''Super Powers'' toyline in the 1980s, they used a number of Kirby's ''New Gods'' characters as action figures and Kirby finally got some sort of a direct payoff for his creativity.

Some of the characters (Orion, Scott Free, Big Barda) were brought in for the Comicbook/KingdomCome story (as who wasn't).

Characters from the Fourth World have been featured in several DC adaptations; usually those involving Franchise/{{Superman}}.

* ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends''
* Franchise/{{DCAU}}:
** ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
** ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' and ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' (though with much alteration in concept)
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''

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!!This meta-series includes:

* AGodAmI: Darkseid.
* AboveGoodAndEvil: Metron's reason for not taking any side, though it doesn't stop him from aiding the good guys against Darkseid any chance he gets.
** The main reason he's considered neutral is because [[spoiler: in the early days of the war, he helped Darkseid develop boom tube technology, in exchange for the raw materials he needed for his Moebius Chair.]] Since then, he's mainly been seen aiding the good guys (perhaps out of remorse?).
*** He's worked with Darkseid on occasion since, as well, despite Darkseid never making any secret of what fate he intends for Metron. It's partly that Metron's primary motivation is ForScience, and partly because Darkseid and Metron have few intellectual equals who can stand them for long.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: DependingOnTheWriter,it seems the population of Apokolips is this. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch There are exceptions though]].
** Kirby's original comics suggested they were just that hopelessly brainwashed.
* AmazonBrigade: The Female Furies
* AmazonianBeauty: Most of the Female Furies qualify, but ''especially'' Big Barda.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: All the characters are, after all, ''gods''. Explicitly confirmed in ''FinalCrisis'', where Batman states the New Gods are Platonic Ideals.
** Darkseid is the personification of Tyranny.
** Mister Miracle is the Embodiment of Freedom. [[spoiler:When he gets shot, it signals the Victory of Evil]].
** Orion is war. His struggle with his violent nature makes him a personification of a ''just war'', fought only when necessary. His brother Kalibak is savage war, fought for the sake of violence.
** Lightray is the personification of joy and charisma, and the Forever people are the spirit of youth.
* ArmedLegs: Stompa's anti-matter boots.
* AStormIsComing: During JackKirby's run , someone warns {{Darkseid}} about an oncoming storm. Darkseid answers, [[BadassBoast "I am the storm!"]]
* BadAssNormal: Dan Turpin
* BeepingComputers: The Mother Box's "ping!"
* BigBad: Darkseid. Not just for the New Gods, but the rest of the universe
* BigGood: The Highfather. After his death this position is taken over by Takion. And of course, the [[strike:Force]] Source is ultimate universe-creating good of the series.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: New Genesis is [[{{Heaven}} unambiguously good]] while Apokolips is [[{{Hell}} totally evil.]]
* BoldInflation: '''One''' of Kirby's '''trademarks!'''
** Especially interesting here because it comes off so well. These are AliensSpeakingEnglish, and they're breaking it down for the foolish humans.
* BornInTheWrongCentury: Sonny Sumo, aka that guy who had the Anti-Life equation in his head. [[TimeTravel Darkseid ironically rectifies this.]]
* BrownNote: The Anti-Life Equation turns out to be this crossed with TheVirus.
** Although originally, the Equation itself wasn't a BrownNote, [[CompellingVoice it just made what you say a]] BrownNote.
* ButNowIMustGo: This actually happened to Mister Miracle and Big Barda when the original Kirby series was cancelled.
* CutShort: Kirby's original series; even ''Mister Miracle'', which wasn't cancelled, still got a heavy ReTool that divorced it from the New Gods mythos (until the final issue where TheBusCameBack).
* DarkestHour: ''FinalCrisis''. Not only for the New Gods, but for all of the DCU.
* DependingOnTheWriter: So much. So much. Are New Genesis and Apokolips in 'our' universe or another dimension entirely? (This was [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] once in a CharacterBlog for the series ''Checkmate'') What is the Anti-Life equation? Are the New Gods [[PhysicalGod real gods]] or SufficientlyAdvancedAliens? Much of this is probably because a lot of the writers didn't keep up with canon or [[ArmedWithCanon disliked certain concepts]].
* DivineConflict: The good, freedom-loving New Gods of New Genesis led by Highfather Izaya, and evil, oppressive New Gods of Apokolips led by {{Darkseid}} are locked in an eternal conflict with each other. It was settled through truce for a time with an exchange of Highfather's son Scott Free and Darkseid's son Orion, but when Scott escaped, Darkseid used that as a justification to restart the conflict.
* EvilMatriarch: Granny Goodness is this, put in a blender with a hardcore dominatrix, and turned up to eleven.
* EnforcedColdWar: The Pact. It doesn't really work.
* TheForce: The Source. In fact, rumor has it the Force from StarWars was actually based on this.
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: The Black Racer knows his next target! Who is it? He? She? You? And yes, he's staring at the reader.
* FiveBadBand: The main evil Gods:
** BigBad: Darkseid
** TheDragon: Steppenwolf or Granny Goodness, depending on the situation
** EvilGenius: Desaad
** TheBrute: Kalibak
** TheDarkChick: Glorious Godfrey
* {{Flanderization}}: Orion, Orion, Orion.
** Perhaps surprisingly, the same happened to Darkseid, who, in Kirby's take on the character, was rather more complex and well-rounded; in "the road to Armaghetto", the despot shows a somber, reflective side, wry humor and even restrained horror at the coming generation, which will be worse than he was. His 'evolution' into the most purely evil being in creation and designated villain for the universe seems degeneration into caricature.
* FluffyTheTerrible: '''Granny Goodness'''. Someone with that name can't possibly be evil, right? ''Right?''
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Even for a New God, Glorius Godfrey was a joke character - til ''CrisisOnInfiniteEarths''.
* FullyAbsorbedFinale: For the entire New Gods mythos (despite Kirby being denied his intended KillEmAll ending). The final fates of the New Gods are revealed in GrantMorrison's ''SevenSoldiers'' and in ''FinalCrisis'' (and tentatively in its leadups and tie-ins).
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: In Walt Simonson's run on ''Orion'', he had the title character deliver a TakeThat to the concept.
* {{Gotterdammerung}}: "There came a time when the [[{{Precursors}} Old Gods]] DIED!
* GrandFinale: ''FinalCrisis'', which restores much of the characters to Kirby's original vision of them, then slams the door on them for good.
** ''The Hunger Dogs'' was also intended to be this. It didn't work out, for a number of reasons.
* TheGrimReaper: The Black Racer. Interestingly enough, he had a human form of a paraplegic Vietnam vet.
** He was also a LegacyCharacter - the Vietnam vet was given the role by the previous Black Racer, who [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence returned to the Source]].
* HyperlinkStory: The original Kirby series attempted to be this. It never quite got to the "one big story" part.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Granny Goodness.
* KirbyDots: Of course.
* KryptoniteFactor: New Gods are only vulnerable to "Radion", a specific radiation. [[spoiler:Darkseid eventually kills Orion with a time-traveling radion bullet in ''Final Crisis'', and Darkseid is shot [[HoistByHisOwnPetard with that same bullet]] [[{{Irony}} by]] Franchise/{{Batman}}.]]
* LukeIAmYourFather: Subverted; Orion already knows he's Darkseid's son. He does have trouble resisting his [[InTheBlood inner violence]] though.
* MagicPoweredPseudoScience: The alternative to the SufficientlyAdvancedAlien view.
* {{Magitek}}: Another alternative interpretation, embraced by GrantMorrison and (arguably) Kirby himself.
* MeaningfulName: Everyone?
* NurtureOverNature
* OmnicidalManiac: Darkseid wants to enslave the universe or, if he can't, destroy it.
* OrcusOnHisThrone: Darkseid, usually. When he's not, well... that's bad.
* OrderVersusChaos: With Apokolips representing Order and New Genesis Chaos.
* PhysicalGod: See DependingOnTheWriter.
* PollutedWasteland: Apokolips consists of "fire pits" continually fueled by slaves.
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot: The New Gods started appearing in ''Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen''. It was the best thing that ever happened to the title.
* PunnyName: Scott Free. [[FridgeBrilliance For an escape artist]]. It was originally given to him ironically by Granny Goodness, to remind him that he'll never be free. The lesson didn't take.
* PurpleProse: In ''spades''. Check the Page Quote for a sampler.
* PutOnABus: Happened to the Forever People at the end of Kirby's series. Also happened to Mister Miracle and Big Barda, but they at least got to go to New Genesis. (Neither stuck)
* {{Sidekick}}: Mister Miracle's manager, Oberon.
** Ligthray to Orion, as well.
* [[RetroactiveLegacy Retroactive]] LegacyCharacter: In the original comics we have the Black Racer and Mister Miracle, although their predecessors only appeared for the issue where they gave up said legacy. Later comics revealed that Infinity-Man was also a LegacyCharacter, and Mister Miracle would get an AffirmativeActionLegacy with Shilo Norman.
** The Newsboy Legion and the Golden Guardian were more traditional Legacies; the Newsboys were sons of the original GoldenAge versions, and the Guardian was a clone. (A later RetCon would render the Newsboys clones, as well.)
* RoguesGalleryTransplant: Darkseid started off as a New Gods villain, and still is, but he is now better known as a Superman foe.
* RousseauWasRight: Seemingly Kirby's view of morality in the series. Darkseid and his court may be irrevocably evil, but they did not have to be. [[NurtureOverNature Orion is the son of the personification of tyranny itself, but was raised by a loving father and is a hero.]] [[InTheBlood Scott Free was raised to be a soldier of Darkseid, but maintained his free spirit and escaped,]] and Big Barda was a soldier who [[HeelFaceTurn changed sides]] when redeemed by [[ThePowerOfLove the power of Love.]] Ultimately, evil always loses, in the short run or the long.
* SceneryPorn: It was drawn by Creator/JackKirby, after all.
* ScienceFantasy: Probably the best description of the series's genre.
* SkySurfing: Mister Miracle and his disc thingies.
** The Black Racer as well, what with the skis and all.
* SplashPanel: Kirby ''loved'' using these.
* StatuesqueStunner: Big Barda.
* StatusQuoIsGod: The reason DC wouldn't let Kirby kill off the New Gods (or even let Darkseid die). (Though there are some sources who say Kirby didn't want to kill them either when he wrote "The Hunger Dogs")
** Also the reason that ''Death Of The New Gods'' is a pretty misleading title.
*** It doesn't help that it's all but CanonDiscontinuity.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: See DependingOnTheWriter, above. They still have aspects of this regardless.
* [[TakeOverTheWorld Take Over All Creation]]: Darkseid's ultimate goal.
* TakeThat: Kirby's original New Gods had several "Take That!" disses against Marvel:
** The Third World is clearly supposed to be Marvel's version of Asgard.
*** Could also be considered a MythologyGag; Kirby came up with the New Gods while still working at Marvel, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen and his original idea]] would have them be part of TheMightyThor mythos, with the two pantheons battling at Ragnarok.
** Funky Flashman, the toady conman who works for Darkseid and his manservant Houseroy were proxies of StanLee and RoyThomas.
** In the ''Legends'' crossover, Glorious Godfrey used the alias "G. Gordon Godfrey", a joint parody of [[RichardNixon Watergate]] participant (and later radio demagogue) G. Gordon Liddy and, well, [[SpiderMan J. Jonah Jameson]].
* TranslationWithAnAgenda: The Mexican editorial Novaro translated the New Gods in Spanish as the "Nuevos Ídolos". Back to English, that is "New Idols". A correct translation would have been "Nuevos Dioses". The editorial was run by conservative religious people, who would not accept to define any fictional characters as "Gods".
* UrbanLegend: "The Road to Armaghetto"; for years it was believed that the original version of the story did indeed feature Orion and Darkseid fighting to the death. It didn't (Esak is the only one who actually dies in the issue).
* WarriorPoet: In the original comics several characters have elements of this, [[WorldOfHam mostly because of the way it's written]], but Orion and even Darkseid are known to have talked to themselves about philosophical concepts.
* WorldOfHam: Just read the quote on the top of the page.
* VillainsOutShopping: Getting mugged and just analyzing the experience, or working the register at BurgerFool... Darkseid had a ''lot'' of free time.
** In the original comics, he tours an ''amusement park''. Granted, it was one [[CircusOfFear controlled by Apokolips]] but he seems genuinely amused when a pair of people mistake him for a guy in costume. And then there was that time Darkseid wore a costume...of course, that was part of a plan to get close to a human whose mind contained the Anti-Life Equation.
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