Marvel Comics purchased the rights to Miracleman/Marvelman back in 2009, promising that in the near future we would see the completion of the Miracleman epic. We would eventually get the stories we had been promised 25 years ago. Or so we thought.
Flash forward almost five years after that announcement at San Diego Comic-Con (and all of the juicy details at this past October’s NYCC) and we’ve got Marvel’s Miracleman #1. What do we think?
Holy hell is this thing pretty. And well made. And just lovely. Lovely beyond belief.
Okay, so when I heard about this book and I heard about the plans for the book, like a lot of comics fans, I didn’t think it would be much of anything. I thought it would be a swing and a miss and I figured it would just be the reproduction of prior work and just a quick buck and a flash in the pan.
After reading this, I’m not so sure.
The book begins with a short opener featuring Mick Anglo’s original work on the book and immediately warps into the work of Garry Leach and “The Original Writer” — who we all know is Alan Moore (so let’s just call him Alan Moore, yeah?).
That warp into the work of Leach and Moore is incredible. It feels like a film transition. It feels like something you’d see in a big budget flick and that’s the best analogy the Cleric can use here. That’s what we’re getting. It’s a remake; it’s a flashy version of the original story that is molded together from old and new parts and it just looks incredible.
I’ve read the story before. I have some of the original Miracleman comics from the 80s and I haven’t read them since at least 2000. But re-reading this now, it feels like a brand new thing. A brand new character that should fit in right at home at Marvel.
Let’s look at it this way: This is Alan Moore before Watchmen and most of his other major works that EVERYONE knows about. This is a superhero epic that so many other comic book fans have never read. This is everything that has come after it and everything that has come before it made into a beautiful package that will warm you up before it punches you square in the jaw.
Okay, does the story hold up? Read the above paragraph. I’m a huge fan of Alan Moore’s work, especially his 80s material, and this is one of his first huge ideas that pays off well. Seeing it again is nothing less than “Kimota” (read backwards)!
The art? Garry Leach’s art has never looked better. It’s always been fantastic work, but the color work and restoration done to the pages is just some of the best I’ve ever seen. It takes something old and dated (seriously, go buy one of the original issues and try and find one that hasn’t yellowed like MM’s wristbands) and makes it look brand new.
Will it suffer upon release? It’s very possible. It could suffer from the Before Watchmen mentality where we’ve seen this before. Or even more, it could suffer from the John Carter problem. John Carter of Mars had ideas that were mined by Star Wars, Avatar, and basically every adventure film and book series from the release of the book onward, so when the flick came out, it just looked like a been there/done that scenario.
Miracleman could suffer the same fate, as a lot of these ideas have been taken and run with by countless others since. Will time be kind to Miracleman?
One issue came out. Calm down everybody; this is comics. There’s lots of time left before that decision can be made. Jeez, everybody, be kind to the Original Writer, okay? He’s a legend in this business, this Original Writer.