The cover for this issues of Marvel’s reprinting of Eclipse Comics Miracleman #14 is simply glorious and a lovely variant of the original cover John Totleben drew several decades ago. As for the contents of this issue, and indeed, the following two issues I firmly think these are three of the most influential comics of all time when it comes to the superhero genre. Sadly these three comics legacy isn’t really all for the good but in terms of returning to the source it’s fantastic to read this issue again for the first time in a long while. This issue picks up with Miracleman and his child Winter having a conversation about what’s exactly going on with her and their lives.
Miracleman is still clinging onto his humanity here, while Winter is moving far, far away from whatever humanity she had. It’s nice move by Moore here as he’s built Miracleman up to be a god, yet here he shows his place in the entire scheme of things and it’s small compared to them, but humanity is starting to be shunted into second place on it’s own planet and one the whole, none of them realise it yet. Though as pointed out by Miracleman’s new Warpsmith friends, things on Earth are going to change.
Miracleman also meets the Firedrake (an intensely powerful human who can create and control fires) and adds him to the growing group of superheroes. It’s worth nothing here that it seems that from reading it again that perhaps if Moore had had the chance to finish Marvelman in Warrior then this would have been spun out for more than a few panels in a page or two, but it works regardless. In fact the vast leap in Moore’s style and ability to tell a story from the early 1982 stories to these stories written in 1988 is noticeable by now.
So the rest of this story is about Miracleman’s life as Mike Moran ending as his wife Liz leaves him unable to cope with being with a god, and his daughter leaves to find the Qys and search out knowledge from them. At this point there’s not a lot of point being Mike Moran anymore so Miracleman decides to stay Miracleman from now on in a scene Moore and Totleben handles wonderfully.
This brings me to the rape of Johnny Bates. A lot over the years has been made of Moore’s use of rape, and indeed, sometimes Moore uses rape as a bad narrative tool, but in this situation Moore’s using a terrible, terrible thing to show us the reader that Johnny Bates can keep Kid Miracleman locked away at huge personal cost, but in this situation he can only fight back the one way he knows how and that means unleashing a monster.
From here on in this is a horror comic that has superheroes in it. It shows the horrors of what a psychopathic and amazingly powerful superhero can do to soft human beings that fall apart easily and it does not flinch. Other superhero comics since have tried to ape the horror in this and the next issue but 99% have failed mainly because they don’t have a writer like Alan Moore or a fantastic artist like John Totleben drawing some grotesque horrors.
The rest of this issue is Totleben’s original art and yet another part of a bad Mick Anglo Marvelman story that’s padding the issue out to justify it’s overly high price tag. Taking the price aside though, this will be by far the best ‘adult’ superhero comic comic you’ll read until of course, next issue which for new readers should be a fucked up experience and for old readers like me, will be a chance to relive some old horrors.