365 Reasons to Love Comics #347
The B-Side to Kirby’s masterwork– the most sensational character find of 1971! (Archive.)
347. Mister Miracle
Yesterday, I talked about the New Gods and Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World. Another comic in that World was Mister Miracle, and it was a groovy book, filled with an equal number of big, awesome ideas as its fellow Kirby comics. Of Jack’s Fourth World line of comics, Mister Miracle would prove to be the most popular, lasting a good seven issues longer than its compatriots New Gods or Forever People.
Continuing the war metaphor, Mister Miracle was the story of the conscientious objector, the one who got out. Scott Free, the son of Highfather, traded to Apokolips as part of The Pact (New Gods #7), grows up in the evil Granny Goodness’ orphanage, but escapes and travels to Earth (unfortunately, that nullifies the truce set forth by the pact. Oops). There, he becomes friendly with Thaddeus Brown, an escape artist known as Mister Miracle. Tragedy strikes, however, and Scott finds himself thrust into the role of his mentor, teaming with his partner, the diminutive Oberon. Together, they travel around putting on shows and occasionally fighting the Apokoliptan evil that’s invading Earth.
The very premise of the book makes Mister Miracle one of my favorite characters: “super escape artist!” Houdini by way of Steranko, it’s taking a cool thing up to the next level, and producing a character idea that had never been done before. Also, it was filled with that wonderfully way-out technology that Kirby loved to draw. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to scan in a bunch of pages from my Omnibi, but I found some online– and I’ve also provided several covers. Kirby drew his best covers ever on this series.
Mister Miracle built up a great supporting cast in the beautiful, talented, and ass-kicking Big Barda, as well as the aforementioned Oberon andÂ Scott’s own protege, Shilo Norman. The gallery of baddies was excellent as well: Granny Goodness! Virmin Vundabar! The Female Furies! Doctor Bedlam! Great characters.
The series lasted 18 issues of death-defying stunts, unbelievable traps, and crazy adventures. Multiple revivals occurred afterward, and Scott enjoyed membership in the Justice League International for a while. Some of his greatest post-Kirby development, however, occurred at the very end of Walt Simonson‘s Orion series, in which we learned that Scott Free had possessed the Anti-Life Equation all his life, right under Darkseid‘s nose, but had trained himself to never use it. Only Mister Miracle could escape the ALE’s corruption.
Scott Free works best as a bright, laughing figure, especially in comparison to the grim Orion. Whether soaring through the sky on his aero-discs or using Mother Box to find his way out of a seemingly impossible trap, the man known as Mister Miracle always gave us fun, exciting stories. Jack Kirby was damn good at his job.
DC’s currently killing off the New Gods. Will Mister Miracle be spared? Will he be the one to escape death? I suppose we’ll find out in a few months.
For Mister-Miracle-by-Kirby goodness, snatch up the Fourth World Omnibi.