I feel like I’m finally graduating. After 30+ years reading comics, I hadn’t finished one of the foundation courses of being a comics fan. I had never read Miracleman. I acquired some digital copies at one time, but I wanted to experience the series as intended, with the remastered colors and retouched artwork that Marvel was putting together. I’m glad I waited.
I think this was probably more ground-breaking when it came out in 1982. There are lots of now-common concepts worked into these pages. The self-seriousness, the need to put aside the silliness of past comic books, these were fresh concepts at that time. Now, I’m pretty used to them. The ultra-violence of mid-80’s comics is on display too. The innocent bystanders caught up in the battle between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman is savage and destructive, but it pales next to the average new 52 title.
That said, Alan Moore’s genius is here too. I can’t describe this as over-serious, because while there is a great deal of sadness and betrayal in this story, there is joy too. Michael Moran takes pure joy in his Miracleman form. His wife fluctuates between intrigued and spooked, a perfectly natural reaction.
I think my favorite sequence was Miracleman’s exploration of the secret bunker. The overlaid narration of government officials provides a linear timeline, while the reader experiences things in the order Miracleman does; out of sequence and almost random. I also appreciated the wrap-up with the cleaners.
I really like that Warpsmith, Miracleman’s odd, alien companion can co-star in a dangerous battle against a returning foe. It is a great glimpse that Miracleman will have allies in his battle against evil. Of course, it seems something bad will be happening to his wife too. Bummer.
The other Warpsmith stuff is fantastically alien. The Warpsmiths are so weird, I can barely figure out what’s going on in their story. I love it. The art, the strange dialogue, the alien-ness, it just feels like a British comic! Like Captain Britain or 2000AD. I hope Marvel continues including these associated chapters in future collections.
Alan Davis might by my #1 favorite artist, so of course, I love seeing these glimpses at his early work. His lines are a lot smoother and the figures aren’t quite the paragons that he draws today, but the seeds of his future greatness are there. But look at those Davis covers! Absolutely gorgeous. I’m not overly familiar with Garry Leach, but his opening chapters are excellent. His use of shadows and silhouettes is reminiscent of Brian Bolland (and that’s high praise from me). (Forgive me if I’m missing obvious connections or anything between the artists.)
So basically, yeah. This is deserving of its place in the comics stratosphere. It is a compelling, well-told story that might have been repeated a few times over the years, but man, this is a GOOD comic.