The original Forager, artist Jack Kirby
|First appearance||New Gods #9 |
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer & artist)|
|Place of origin||New Genesis|
The female Forager first appeared in Countdown #29.
Fictional character biography
Evolving from the “micro-life” spread on New Genesis during their war with Apokolips, Forager's people are a society of humanoid bugs that thrive in colonies beneath the surface of the planet. These colonies are ruled by beings known as the Queen-Widow and Prime-One. Considered to be below the New Gods of the floating city, Supertown (both literally and figuratively), the bugs form a lower class on New Genesis and are sometimes the target of prejudice by the gods.
Although Forager was raised among the insect nation, it is implied in New Gods #9 that he is in fact not of their species and may be from the race of gods. His true background is never fully explored. When the bug society is threatened, Forager is sent by his colony's rulers to entreat the gods for aid. With help from Orion and Lightray, he prevents Mantis from slaughtering the bug species.
Initially treated as subhuman by the New Gods, particularly the hot-headed Orion, Forager proves himself to be a worthy ally against the forces of Darkseid. He is killed saving Batman's life and preventing the destruction of Earth from the embodiment of the Anti-Life Equation in the limited series Cosmic Odyssey. Later Orion carries Forager's body to the Insect empire by the decree of Highfather, and slowly comes to respect the warrior and his people.
A second Forager, this one a female, appears as the new defender of the bugs in a subsequent New Gods series in 1989. She is given the name of her people's fallen champion by the Prime One and Queen Widow.
She appears again in Countdown #40 spying on Darkseid to find out about Lightray's death, and she later recruits Jimmy Olsen to help her stop the murders of the New Gods. They later enter into a romantic relationship. Over the course of the series, she and the other protagonists of Countdown are witness to the entire Death of the New Gods, the "Great Disaster" and the corruption of Mary Marvel. In its final issue, she ends her relationship with Jimmy and joins forces with Donna Troy, Atom and Kyle Rayner in a new Challengers from Beyond, declaring to the Monitors that they will be acting as Multiversal "border guards" in the future.
In February 2017, DC Comics announced a new 6-issue limited series starring the original Forager titled Bug! the Adventures of Forager as part of its Young Animal imprint. The first issue launched May 10 of the same year.
Forager awakens in a cocoon and breaks out, only to seemingly find himself in a home basement on Earth. He recalls Metron saying he wasn't actually dead, but in a dormant state. Forager spots a teddy bear laying on a cupboard and hears it talk. A little "ghost girl" takes the bear and climbs the stairs. Forager follows the girl only to be confronted by monsters who keep referring to him as "the sleeper." He fends off the creatures and stumbles upon a room where the ghost girl is lining up dominoes in a pattern identical to that of a Mother Box circuitry grid, much to Forager's confusion.
The teddy bear asks Forager whether he will go back to New Genesis to rejoin either the New Gods or the Bugs. Forager says no; he has no intention of participating any further in High Father's war with Darkseid or going back to the Bugs just to "work 'til he dies." The teddy bear then asks Forager if he plans to go back to saving the universe, to which he also says no, he would much rather explore it. The bear then suggests that Forager is not truly "rebelling" due to his decisions being expected. Forager touches one of the dominoes, which causes him to experience a vision of various people. He then topples the dominoes, causing some kind of chain reaction. Frightened, Forager calls out to the ghost girl to make it stop, only to realize he is alone. Forager is then attacked by two more creatures, who he defeats easily.
He is then attacked by a costumed man. Once Forager inadvertently reveals himself as the sleeper, the man tells him that he intends to save him. The man introduces himself as Sandman and the two creatures as his helpers, Brute and Glob and tells Forager that it is their responsibility to police the Dreaming. Sandman also tells him that he is not in the real world, but a dream. He tries waking Forager by saying his name, but when that fails, he suggests saying his nickname, "Bug." It works and Forager reemerges from his cocoon in the waking world, and finds that his new acquaintances are there with him. The group is attacked by lizard-men, who they easily kill. Sandman reveals that he and his helpers can exist in the real world thanks to a whistle made of the reality warping metal, orichalcum. They then encounter the Nazi mad scientist, General Electric, who renders them unconscious with his own orichalcum whistle and takes Sandman's. Forager and his allies regain consciousness in a giant bottle within General Electric's lab. As Electric is gloating, Forager breaks the bottle open. He takes one of the whistles, and then accidentally steps into a seemingly random dimensional portal.
Powers and Abilities
Forager retains the attributes of The New Gods, including superhuman strength, endurance, speed and reflexes. The Forager's incredible strength allows him to face much bigger enemies, jumping several meters high easily and running to great speed without fatigue. Forager is extremely long-lived and immune to diseases. Also, he is an accomplished fighter, hardened by the bugs' harsh life of hunting and survival. In addition to his natural abilities, Forager carries a variety of tools including a shield, adhesive pads on his gloves and boots that allow him to stick or climb walls and surfaces, and his signature weapon, acid-pods, which allow him to shoot streams of burning acid at his opponents.
In other media
- The original Forager's first appearance outside the comics is in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips...Now!" Part Two.
- The original Forager appears in the Justice League episodes "Twilight, Parts I & II", voiced by Corey Burton. He first appears to aid Batman and Wonder Woman (who are trying to stop Brainiac) when they are attacked by giant worms on New Genesis. He is portrayed as very modest and reveres the Supertown Gods. Wonder Woman appreciates his help and recommends that he be treated no worse than other New Genesisians like Orion. During Darkseid's subsequent attack on New Genesis, the New Gods were forced to abandon Supertown and Forager gave several of its inhabitants shelter in his hive. For his kindness following Darkseid and Brainiac's defeat, Highfather promotes Forager to a higher rank.
- Forager appears in the third season of Young Justice, titled Young Justice: Outsiders, voiced by Jason Spisak. His power set is very different than his comic incarnation. He has a extra set of arms, is much bulkier, and can roll around like a boulder. He is actually a sentient alien humanoid insect, not a New God (though he does come from New Genesis), and is quite fun loving. He has an odd connection to sentient technology, mostly Sphere and Bioship, of which he has become the new unofficial pilot. He has trouble with language as he does not say pronouns, but this is attributed to his alien race’s unique sense of self. He enlists the aid of Young Justice to help stop a war between his kind and the New Gods, only to be banished from the hive by Mantis and earn the wrath of Ma'alefa'ak, the one who orchestrated the conflict. Since it was no longer safe for him on New Genesis, he joins the team on Earth and even goes to school with the help of a Glamour Charm under the name Fred Bugg (though he originally refers to himself as "Fred-Bugg-with-two-Gs", before he learns that saying "with-two-Gs" can be optional and not required). He and the other three members later joined the Team.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Forager I", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 129, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Forager II", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 129, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Sava, Oliver. "The Allred family pays tribute to Jack Kirby in Young Animal's Bug!". News. Retrieved 2017-08-26.