Another week of no decent new comics on Comixology so it’s time for another delve into the past with a genuine classic comic; Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle #1. Originally published in 1971 this was part of Kirby’s massive Fourth World storyline and from the off throws the reader right into the world of a super escape-artist.
However things aren’t as they seem to the modern reader’s eye, as this is the Mister Miracle before Scott Free, Thaddeus Brown.
Kirby starts with a bang, but he waits to throw in the cosmic elements of the characters choosing instead to introduce Inter-Gang; a Mafia analogue influenced by not just Kirby’s clear love of superheroes, but his experiences as a child growing up in the rough streets of Depression era New York. As this is a superhero comic, there’s a fight scene once these guys come on the scene but as of now there’s no real hint of anything cosmic. We’ve got a strange young man, and an ageing escape artist fighting ordinary criminals.
We’re also introduced to a boss of Inter-Gang, Steel Hand, who is called that for bloody obvious reasons.
Meanwhile Thaddeus and his assistant Oberon test Scott Free as Kirby slips in some hints that things may well not be as they seem.
Passing the test, Scott shows the pair his Mother Box, an almost magical super-computer that Scott uses to break free of his bonds.The next day Thaddeus is testing out a ridiculously dangerous stunt while Inter-Gang are out to kill him.
Thaddeus is killed, which means Scott steps up and this is the trigger for Kirby to go full-on Kirby as Scott becomes Mister Miracle in order to seek revenge for the death of Thaddeus by the hand of Steel Hand.
After escaping another deadly trap, Mister Miracle and Steel Hand have a big fight because this is Kirby!
Of course Mister Miracle wins, the baddie is beaten, Oberon becomes Scott’s sidekick and everything is established quickly with enough mysterious hints of a huge backstory for Scott yet at this point we don’t know how it’ll connect to the other Kirby titles DC published. Every single page of this is Kirby at his peak and because of that this comic is an utter joy. The storytelling is superb, and although the baddie is fairly bland by Kirby standards, he exists only to get defeated by the end. He’s a plot device to show how much more advanced Scott is compared to Thaddeus.
Comics like this made me love the medium as a child as it still does as an adult!