Comic books have been cultural tastemakers for a long time, long before the current crop of live-action superhero flicks began to dominate the box office, and the influence of superhero comics can be found throughout pop culture all around the world. That’s why it’s not too much of a surprise that the upcoming season of Fargo starring Chris Rock takes more than a few pages from Jack Kirby’s New Gods. While that may seem surprising at first, it actually makes a lot of sense when you look at the kind of story the new season seems to be telling and the genius mind behind the anthology crime drama.
The original Fargo was a 1996 crime-thriller written and direct by Joel and Ethan Coen, in which a a car salesman played by William H. Macy hires two men to kidnap his wife in order to ransom her to his father-in-law, and a pregnant small-town cop played by Frances McDormand who is the only person that suspects him.
The first season of the Fargo television show debuted in 2014 and was influenced by the film more than it was a direct sequel. Each season of the Fargo television show has been its own self-contained story with loose connections between the larger world of the show, and has starred a number of well-known A-List actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst and Ewan McGregor. The upcoming season of Fargo is set to star Chris Rock as a gang leader, and according to its description, it seem somewhat influenced by a classic Jack Kirby story.
“Described as a story of “immigration and assimilation and the things we do for money,” season 4 of “Fargo” is set in 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri, where two criminal syndicates — one Italian, one African-American — have struck an uneasy peace. To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their eldest sons. Rock will play the head of one of the syndicates, who has surrendered his son to his enemy, and who must raise his son’s enemy as his own. But then the head of the Kansas City mafia goes into the hospital for routine surgery and dies — and everything changes.”
If you’re a fan of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories, you’ll notice that this sounds a lot like The Pact, the deal made between Darkseid of Apokolips and Highfather of New Genesis to bring peace between their worlds.
The story of “The Pact” was told in 1972’s New Gods #7 by Jack Kirby, Mike Royer and Ben Oda, and showed just how brutal the war was between the two worlds of gods, as each side lost family members close to them that led to revenge plots which led to even more drastic casualties. Ultimately, Highfather discovered The Source which led to him suggesting The Pact, a deal to bring the war to an end.
It was decided that the two leaders of their worlds would exchange sons and raise them as their own on their own worlds, with Orion of Apokolips sent to New Genesis, and Highfather’s unnamed son sent to be raised by Darkseid. Orion grew up to be one of New Genesis’ greatest heroes, despite his internal struggle with his potential for evil and Highfather’s son became Scott Free aka Mister Miracle, the heroic escape artist who broke free from Apokolips to find a new life on Earth and love in the form of Big Barda.
The Pact is a story about how good always wins against evil, and if you know anything about Noah Hawley, the creator of the Fargo television show, you’ll see why that’s such an appealing storyline.