Comic Reviews: MiracleMan and Thunderbolts!
After a long and (extremely) winding road, modern comic book fans can finally get the chance to experience Alan Moore’s classic MiracleMan. Often called one of the greatest comic books of all time, the story of Michael Moran’s adult life has a ton of hype surrounding it, and after years of court cases and legal tie-ups, Marvel Comics has reprinted the long awaited tales. But after such a long wait, is it worth the hype?
I’ll be upfront, there’s not a whole lot here story wise. After a fun throwback storyline set in 1956, the action switches to current day (which is 1982) Michael, who’s now married and working as a freelance journalist. With no memory of his life as Miracleman (known as MarvelMan in the UK), Moran suffers from strange dreams and headaches, and he struggles to remember a secret word that has some strange meaning to him.
While covering an event at science exhibit, a group of terrorists attack the crowd. Suffering from another migraine, Moran sees the word “atomic”, triggering his memory. Just before he passes out, Moran says the word backwards (“kimota”), and becomes MiracleMan, subsequently rescuing everyone involved with the incident.
Even within this first installment, Alan Moore clearly plays up the common tropes of the superhero genre. Yet at no time does he mock it. Instead, the opening prologue reads like a story that could have come out of the “Golden Age” of comics: everything is bright, chipper, and the worst thing you’ll hear out of someone’s mouth is “holy macaroni”. Of course, some of the credit here should go to Mick Anglo, MiracleMan’s creator, who supplied the story for this opening.
The biggest example of this is when Moran returns home to his wife Liz as MiracleMan and recounts the pieces of lost information that has suddenly returned to him. His earnestness as he tells her of his past adventures is infectious. Even as Liz mocks the names of some of his enemies, Moran continues to tell her to “stop laughing”. The parallel between this and me trying to explain some important comic book lore to a non-comic book fan is not lost on me.
Gary Leach supplies the art for the main story of this issue, and it’s a perfect marriage with Moore’s prose. There’s a grim sense to everything around Michael until his transformation, and Leach’s depiction of Moran’s depression and pain is very effective. His pencils come alive once MiracleMan returns. MiracleMan practically leaps of the page, while the astonished looks on the civilians’ faces perfectly showcase the shock and awe of seeing a man take flight.
MiracleMan’s first issue contains, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, an incredible amount of content for the $5 cover price. There’s the original reprint of Miracleman #1, the back up story from Warrior #2, behind the scenes looks at original art, classic Mick Anglo reprints of MiracleMan comics from the 1950’s, and much, much more. This issue is absolutely packed with content, and you can feel the weight of the book in your hands. For once, I’m not angry at Marvel for the pricing of a single issue.
MiracleMan has returned, and we can now finally find out what all the fuss is about. And so far, the fuss is very, very good. I’m ecstatic to finally experience this story in an affordable way, and look forward to seeing how others react to it. Marvel has finally given us what we wanted when they acquired MiracleMan years ago, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Praise heaven (or hell), because Charles Soule has redeemed the Ghost Rider. The Thunderbolts writer immediately quieted my fears about Johnny Blaze joining the team within the characters’ first few pages. Rejoice, my fellow Rider fans, for Johnny is no longer depicted as a southern’ good ol’ boy!
Surprisingly, this issue of Thunderbolts is extremely new reader friendly. As someone who’s only read the first collection of the Marvel NOW! relaunch, I had some worries that I may be coming into this series blind, or at least playing catch up. Luckily, Soule has created a fantastic jumping on point for new readers that also has a lot of fun with the characters. The dialogue between Punisher, Deadpool, and the rest of the T-Bolts is a blast, especially when they poke fun at one another (well, really only Deadpool does that).
The art by Carlo Barberi is fantastic. His art is extremely dynamic, and every character looks unique. Thunderbolt Ross looks like the kind of man who would command respect, while Punisher looks like the ultimate badass. His Johnny Blaze is awesome. I won’t spoil his big stunt set piece, but it’s hilarious, especially after Soule has Blaze’s assistant mention that his “last two movies were stinkers”.
Thunderbolts exceeded my expectations with this issue. Granted, they weren’t very high, but I was extremely entertained by this issue, and I’m definitely giving the rest of this storyline shot. Soule’s take on this team is awesome, and while it doesn’t have a lot of Ghost Rider in it, the little that he is in is fantastic. Hopefully he sticks around when this storyline wraps up.
Posted on January 15, 2014, in Comic book reviews, Comic Books and tagged Alan Moore, All New Marvel NOW!, Carlo Barberi, Charles Soule, Ghost Rider, MiracleMan, Thunderbolts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.