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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 206

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

In honor of the purchase of Marvelman by Marvel Comics, let’s take a look at perhaps the most memorable (and disturbing, natch) story from Marvel/Miracleman history, courtesy of Alan Moore and John Totleben…

Okay, so Miracleman’s former sidekick, Kid Miracleman, has sort of gone insane. Miracleman managed to defeat him by getting him to turn back into the little kid who turns into Kid Miracleman, Johnny Bates. Johnny Bates is then placed into a mental facility and things presumably are okay. However, later on, the young boy is beaten by some other kids, and when one of them actually goes to rape him, well, he snaps and turns into Kid Miracleman again, and thus begins a bloody display of carnage that Miracleman, Miraclewoman and the Warpsmiths (aliens who can teleport stuff) have a hard time stopping.

This takes us to Miracleman #15, by Alan Moore and John Totleben…

Finally, one of the Warpsmiths comes up with an idea, leading to the sad ending of the story…

Click to enlarge the last spread, if you dare…

“The” moment is quite difficult, but I guess it would be Miracleman breaking Johnny’s head off and then cradling the headless body.

Some twisted dark stuff there from Moore and Totleben….

31 Comments

I unfortunately haven’t read any of these issues, but from what you show here, it actually seems more like he punches Johnny’s head in/off, as opposed to snapping his neck. Not that either way effects the impact of the story. These are some twisted pages.

I also liked Jim Krueger’s homage to this in Earth X with Captain America and the Skull.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 26, 2009 at 5:18 am

And this particular issue is the reason why it’s hard to find back issue of all Moore’s Miracleman (sic Marvelman).

I consider this issue one of the bloodiest issue that I’ve ever read to date.

The Invincible Conquest storyline comes pretty close to a second.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 26, 2009 at 5:19 am

Also, Gaiman’s Eternals ending was a tiny bit homage to this issue, as well

“…The Aristocrats!”

Okay, you’ve pretty much settled it for me. I’m never reading that series. Disgusting.

Although I’m starting to get a feeling Geoff Johns was heavily influenced by this book.

The blood spattering on his face looks more like a laser beam boring into a moon-like craterface.

I actually thought the series got much more interesting in the next issue (Moore’s last) and in Neil Gaiman’s run. Even if you don’t think you’ll care for Moore’s run, you would be cheating yourself out of some very good comics if you don’t read Gaiman’s work. It’s quite different in tone.

VichusSmith: Brilliant.

that moment is proalby the one reason i kind of was afraid to finish reading the series and almost do not want marvel to reprint the thing again mostly for that issue there.

I’m glad you have no pull over at Marvel, because while you get to read Marvel Man/Miracleman and you want the doors shut behind you, there are many of us who are younger and.or new to the character and would like to read the story in printed form.

As for some who are against the way comics have gotten “mature” I hope you are boycotting authors like Geoff Johns, not just thumbing your nose at him while you put money in his pocket.

To me, this is no less violent than any classic art or literature.

So…ahhh…why didn’t Miracleman just kill the kid before this all happened, if they knew he was so dangerous? Kind of a no-brainer, there.

Kid Miracleman had never done anything even close to that horrific before.

*Spoilers*:

He’d just used his powers clandestinely to set himself up as a rich, powerful, seemingly human businessman in the decade or so Miracleman had been absent. This carnage was a direct result of Miracleman repressing him into the kid the first time. He’d been enraged at the loss of his freedom and wealth and when the kid freed him…well, there you go.

Thing is, that spread isn’t even the worst image of what he did. There was another spread a bit earlier in the issue.

The comic went in a fantastic direction after this showdown…it made me look at Superman’s status quo maintenance differently.

Out of human compassion, maybe? In reality, some people defend criminals and feel they can be rehabilitated. Sometimes it works, other times you make a big mistake.

I like Brian’s description of “sort of” gone insane.

So basically Alan Moore just went all “Watchmen On Crack” with the Captain Marvel Family?

Technically, Watchmen was “Marvelman toned-down.”

I think you guys might be missing something. The immaturity of KM and his handling of power led to this as well. MM knew that KM was more powerful that him and in the issue prior to this, was scared s%^&less. Another point, I don’t think MM was this “rich, powerful, seemingly human businessman in the decade or so Miracleman had been absent.”…he was a middle class slob who was married to a decent woman (who left him) after Miraclegirl was born to them. His alter ego was sort of mind wiped from him until someone said “Kimota” and then “BOOM”!
This was just a violent, thought proviking stunning series that was long, long overdue on these pages… Alan Moore simply is peerless.

@T: I don’t see what’s disgusting about this.

There is a legitimate case that can be made against the violence in comics today(Geoof Johns comics and stuff like Identity Crisis) but the violence in Alan Moore’s Miracle/Marvelman is in no way gratuitous.

Throughout its 16-issue run you see exactly what would happen if super-heroes existed in the real world. This battle is just the culmination. It’s brutal and graphic but necessary. With this Moore is simply saying “See? If guys with the powers of gods duked it out in a major city, the death toll would be in the millions”

I prefer this than seeing Manhattan getting destroyed for the umpteenth time in a Marvel major event, and then rebuilt the following month.

Harry, you’re confusing KM with MM.

KM was the businessman, and was more powerful than MM (the middle-class slob) because he’d spent that missing time growing up as KM, not Johnny… developing his powers and strength, while MM was growing older as Mike (well, Mike was growing older, MM was locked away…)

Back when I lived in the dormitories at San Francisco State, I printed out the black and white pencils to the splash page and pinned it up on my wall.

I was extremely lucky to have spotted this and bought it on the shelf way back when it first went on sale (I didn’t know how lucky at the time, as I wasn’t aware of the low print run.

I had been disturbed by parts of Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Dark Knight and probably a couple of other series but nothing gave me a sleepless night to the extent that this issue did. The parts where we see both parties smashing each other with vehicles heedless of the people inside were really mind-blowing.

This issue certainly had to appear sooner or later. Amazing stuff. I hope that you’ll still include other scenes from earlier issues ’cause there were lots of great scenes, even if this issue was undoubtedly the climax.

I’m not saying it’s gratuitous violence. Just that no matter how good the story is, I’d rather not read something *that* depressing. Life is depressing and scary enough as it is. No need to immerse myself in that level of depression and death just to read a good story. Not passing judgment on the quality of the story or anyone who likes it, I’m sure it’s very well-written and constructed. It is Alan Moore after all.

Actually, let me reconsider. Is the sequence above an outlier, one very extreme scene in comparison to the rest of the book or is that the general tone more or less that can be expected from the whole series? If it’s the former I’ll reconsider.

This sequence is definitely the most brutal you’ll find in the book.

The rest is not necessarily violent but graphic and uncompromising. There’s a birth sequence that leaves nothing to the imagination, there are deaths and other battles (though none as extreme as this one) and the main character’s arc doesn’t exactly make him likeable in the end.

The series basically chronicles a normal guy that finds himself with the powers of a god and his journey after that. It seems like a cliché of course, but Moore goes about it with realism. That’s why it culminates in this massacre. Unlike other superhero battles,this one shows the very real price that such battle would have.

wow that was intense ….

The art is a little too messy to sometimes understand what’s going on. How did KM revert back to his original form?

As for the last panel, a bit too much torture porn for me. I guess if I was reading it back then, I might have found it more disturbing, but in this day and age, it’s nothing that gruesome.

Interesting that KM is much more powerful than MM. This reminds me of Moore’s work in Captain Britain, with the Jaspers/Fury story, where our protagonist is seriously outclassed and outmatched by his opponent, takes a brutal beating, then someone else comes along and delivers the killing blow. Granted, that was nowhere near as brutally graphic, but the art was much better.

Bates (aka “KM”) is more powerful it seems because he spend more time being the superhuman vs. Mike moran -all these Mike Moran conjectured during issue 1.
Actually Moore’s 21 or so pages of #15 was brillantly done and economically carried off that any lesser writer (like Geoff Johns) would have wantonly carried it off with unnecessary panels and melodramatic violence.

In a recent interview Alan Moore asked whether his 20 year old stuff still holds vs. these “new” deconstructed superheroes.

Unequivocally ‘yes’.

Brain Atrophy

July 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I happen to own the first two issues of Miracleman, and *SPOILER ALERT*

Mike Moran (AKA MM) has assumed that Johnny Bates (KM) is dead, how i don’t want to ruin it, its really good as well.
Anyway, after Moran rediscovers his MM persona, Johnny calls him up at home, inviting his wife and himself over to his business for reconnect, or so it seems. In the course of that, Mike comes to the conculsion that Johnny was still KM and pretty much tells him that. That leads to a awesome battle in issue 2, although its basically one-sided, as KM is just so much more powerful than MM. After beating MM near to death, KM starts to gloat and accidently says his magic word to change back into johnny bates as a young kid. This sends him into shock, and he basically becomes a vegetable for a time, until this issue. I do recommend that people check it out, for as much as #15 costs to buy now, i was able to get the first two issues on Amazon, for a not bad price for each. Thanks Brian for including Miracleman moments in your “Cool moments”, i was hoping to see some, and now i know i definitely need to purchase #15, in spite of its insane price tag.

[…] It’s from a comic series called Miracleman (Marvelman, if you’re old enough to have read it the first time). This used to be London. This image shows what a being with the powers of Superman/Zod could do if he just did what he wanted to do. And there was no one to stop him. Oh yes, I could see Zod having such a good time this way. This scene is what you get when you have a writer willing to portray the destructive capacity someone like Superman or Zod is capable of. Terrifying and bold were the writings of Alan Moore. Read a bit more if you dare. […]

This is how a superhero fight would look in real life. I noticed that a lot of comic readers that comment here tend to dislike the darker stuff and while i understand… A comic like this is necessary.
I find irony in the notion that the word MM uses to transform is Atomik spelled backwards because thats the level of destruction in that was heaped upon London in this scene… An atomic level of violence.
This was a good moral tale on how the type of powers that capture our imagination would actually be some of the scariest shit we could fathom in the real world. I think that this story is amazing.
This is what they cant show you in a superman book because they have to keep it lite to keep all the fans happy. Its why I’m not a big fan of DC. The concept of Superman seems totally unrealistic to me. He has the power to end all of the corruption in the government and he instead spends his time battling the same foes hes defeated thousands of times before. They come back and kill hundreds and Supes may stop the threat but sets it up so they can do it all over again. Before you know it the villian has returned worse than before and killed even more. Its almost makes you wonder if Superman is secretly a villian.
A lot of people had disagreements about the way Superman killed Zod in the movie. I didnt. I felt that was a responsible decision. The type of decision soldiers make everyday. You let him live and kill again and now you have that blood on your hands. And superman and batman have a lot of blood on there hands.

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