Right, as of now there’s no mucking around with Marvel’s reprints of the Eclipse Comics Miracleman stories hit the John Totleben issues and after some 27 years it’s still great to see Totleben’s art, which in these reprints has been recoloured by Steve Oliff which does mean at times it’s not quite as effective as Totleben’s original work back in 1987, but on the whole Oliff does a great job.
This was also the issue which saw Alan Moore drop the style and format of the previous episodes and develop Miracleman’s style quite dramatically as he himself developed in the years since starting the strip. By the time this was originally published in 1987 Moore had done Watchmen and was moving on from traditional forms of storytelling (which he’d already redefined) to something else. Although Moore’s final six issues of Miracleman aren’t that world shattering in terms of style, it’s the content and tone which is important as they’ve almost single handily served as a template for thousands of superhero comics that followed it with the overwhelming majority being utter shite, but full of gore and dark darkness.
This issue sees Miraclewoman make her move to help Mike Moran/Miracleman, as well as a fight scene which shows how Moore has developed in between issue 10 and this one. Moore is less interested in showing us superheroes hitting each other rather he deals with how body swapping aliens would be seen by even a figure like Miracleman, who narrates the entire last six issues from a time when these stories are history to him, but to us, the reader, are new and unfolding.
It’s a brave change of tone and an interesting change of style even now. In fact reading it again, it’s amazing that much of the fight between Miracleman and the Qys (the aforementioned shape changing aliens) is told in the retrospective narrative. Even back then a reader would have expected it to unfold page after page, but instead Moore shifts the focus onto Miraclewoman protecting Moran’s wife Liz.
This is going to be a huge jolt for people reading this for the first time after they’ve got over the leap Moore obviously has made, not to mention for a lot of younger readers seeing Totleben’s art is going to jar with the smoother work in the Warrior issues, but his work really does stand up brilliantly. This is obvious in the extras for this issue which prints some of Totleben’s pencils and original art.
Sadly this issue is padded out by another old Mick Anglo strip which nobody really is going to read, but it helps Marvel pad things out so they can keep the original Eclipse numbering. A pity as it feels they’ve spun this out longer than necessary, but new readers are in for a treat in the last Moore issues, while older readers can relive the joy (and horror) that’s to come.