Colored by Glynis Wein.


     The story of Marak continues as he drives his growing hoards toward Jalessa’s kingdom.  No one in this stone age is able to stand against Marak’s bronze might.  As word of these conquests reaches Jalessa, she consults her own monolith, which tells her to join forces with this marauder to make each other more socially, politically and militarily powerful than any other force on earth.  The stone wheels of Marak’s war machine moves on as in the year 2001, the wheels of space in the form of a meteor storm pummels space station Liberty I.

     It’s leader, Herb Marik, gets his people out, but decides that now is a good time for this weary leader to end his days.  He sits on the command deck, watching the oncoming hoard of meteors on the view screen when a monolith appears outside the station.  Marik goes out to investigate, is absorbed into the stone, flung untold light years as he witnesses unbelievable sights, and lands safely in a world of the monolith’s making based on the romantic dreams of the old general.    But Marik doesn’t age as previous absorptions have, and doesn’t become a New Seed.  Marik, it turns out, is one of those rare failures of the monoliths, which don’t seem to mind at all.  The stone leaves Marik to live out his days in his idyllic dream as the monolith begins a new search for someone in the human race to join it in immortality.

     Although the series breaks from its tradition with issues three and four, it is a welcome change from something that could have become very derivative very quickly.  The two-part story harkens back to an earlier time in comic book history when stories of barbarians, pirates, air aces, detectives and the versatile old cowboy outweighed the superhero, and the revelation that the monoliths, or at least the powers that control them, could, in fact, make mistakes may tarnish the magic a bit for the purists, but it does offer a poignant contrast to the cold, calculating powers we were used to.  The Marak two-parter was one of the last times Kirby would seem to have a handle on his material, because his next two issues would begin a downward slide with a story that begins as a contradiction to the series’ very title.