"Is this it Gargunza? Is this what all those years were for?" - Miracleman
OK, so this sucks. I'm doing another Brit comics month and I was supposed to be doing The Complete Ballad Of Halo Jones as my Alan Moore comic. But those cocksuckers in the UK postal service are obviously too busy gargling each others cum to ensure I get my post, and it's lost somewhere in limbo. So I'm doing the second Marvel Miracleman reprint collection which I think was originally still mostly published in the UK first. Fuck I don't know, wikipedia is not helping me. But as it's the only Alan Moore comic I can at least tenuously link to the UK I've have to hand so it'll have to fucking do OK? Fuck.
Hrmm, I think two months looking at Garth Ennis's stuff has had a deleterious effect on my usual prim and ladylike manner of speech. Let's start again.
Miracleman (or Marvelman as it was originally known) was an old Silver Age British knock-off of Captain Marvel. Miracleman, Young Miracleman and Kid Miracleman all had magic words they could say to turn from normal humans into powerful superbeings. By the early 1980's the series hadn't been published in a long time so writing for Warrior comic, Alan Moore revived and rebooted the series as one of the first deconstructionist takes on the superhero archetype, as middle-aged schlub Mike Moran remembers his long forgotten magic word and transforms into Miracleman, gets his wife pregnant, fights the now evil Kid Miracleman and then finds out all his memories of his old adventures were simply beamed into his brain via a virtual reality machine. I looked at Book One here and here. The first Book of Miracleman ended with him departing the govenment bunker where his past had been manufactured in the company of one Evelyn Cream a government agent who was meant to kill him, but who betrayed the UK government to team up with Miracleman for his own reasons.
|Miracleman and Liz|
Evelyn Cream is meeting with his ostensible boss, Sir Dennis Archer. Cream wants Miracleman left alone and Project Zarathustra suspended immediately. Sir Dennis asks if he realises just how powerful Miracleman is?
Evelyn Cream: "You made it an enemy. I made it an ally. There is a difference."
Sir Dennis: "Not at all Mr. Cream. It has made you it's pet!"
Miracleman appears naked to Liz and they start to embrace and make love. She realises that with his power there is no reason to be scared and yet:
Narration: "So why does she feel so vulnerable? And Afraid?"
Later Miracleman is sitting on a rock in a wooded area somewhere. There is a boy who is hiding stuff that he will need post-nuclear war. He spots Miracleman and asks him "Are you a pouf [UK slag for a homosexual]? Or are you a superhero?" A surprised Miracleman introduces himself as Miracleman, superhero. The boy says he is called Jason.
Jason is a little dubious about Miracleman's claims, so Miracleman destroys the big rock he was sat on. Satisfied, Jason asks him if he could stop a nuclear war happening. Miracleman says he'd doe his best. They part and when Miracleman gets home he comes across the living room all smashed up and Liz (who is now heavily pregnant with Miracleman's kid) has been abducted.
|Cream woken from a prophetic dream.|
Then Cream phones Sir Dennis and tells him Miracleman will destroy one city an hour until he gets Liz back. Desperately Sir Dennis says he hasn't got her, but he knows who might have her. We then return to Liz and a man called Gargunza, who was behind Project Zarathustra and he says to her, regarding Miracleman:
Gargunza: "I created him. He is almost my son. And shortly Mrs Moran, very shortly.. he will be my father."
|The real Gargunza|
Gargunza performs various check-ups on Liz, who takes it all in her stride. When he tells her sheis having a girl, she simply replies "I know". Later that night Gargunza has a nightmare where the Miracle foetus stares him down, and knowing he won't be able to go back to sleep he remembers his time with Project Zarathustra. Cue flashback.
He and his assistant, Fabian are overseeing the three Miraclemen being given false memories as dream programmes. Then one day he turns off the "somatic inducers" and the Miraclemen keep on dreaming independantly.
We then travel into the gorgous dreamworld of the Miraclemen. Miracleman comments that it doesn't feel real and he has felt like he is in a dream for a while now. They are presented by a city with "Sleepytown" written up the side and they go in to investigate. Outside Garguza notes that their subconciousness are trying to tell them things aren't real. The Miraclemen come across three huge slumbering figures which look exactly like them to their discomfort.
Gargunza: "Their subconcious minds are trying to overload on absurdity to shock the brain into wakefulness by crossing the threshold of disbelief".
Gargunza says he anticipated this might happen and installed failsafes. A dampner field will drain the power of their minds and allow them to rein in the warnings from their minds. Inside their dream the Miraclemen come across vampires and start fighting them as Fabian says the dampner fields aren't working. As the Miraclemen fight, Gargunza muses:
Gargunza: "Tell me Fabian, have you ever read Alice in Wonderland? You have? Do you remember the Red King? He slept and dream and no-one dared wake him. They were afraid you see, that they were all part of his dream. And if he were to wake the whole of existence would vanish".
Fabian says that existence wouldn't end if the Miraclemen wake up. Gargunza replies "It will for us." And then we return to him in the present.
|The Miraclemen's shared dreamworld.|
He joined up with a local gang and because he was small and intelligent, the head gangster Aurelio adopted him as a mascot. One day though Aurelio tried to sexually abuse him and when Gargunza resisted he was badly beaten. However Gargunza's intelligence and earning power had bought him the loyalty of the rest of the gang and one night he had Aurelio dragged from his bed. Gargunza then raped his girlfriend in front of him and beat him to death with a baseball bat. He was fourteen.
By the time he was eighteen he was rich enough to keep his mother in comfort and he left for Europe and began to study science. His reputation spread and one day he met Hitler and was offered a position in the Reich to study genetics. In 1941 he realised the war was unwinnable for Germany and defected to England where he started working under Sir Dennis Archer. After the death of his mother in 1947 he realised he did not want to die.
|The mystery spaceship that helped start it all.|
It was the same being but had two bodies fused together, it was one mind but with two bodies. Garguza theorised that the ship had crashed after the alien had suddenly and catstrophically had both bodies occupy the same space at the same time. Gargunza believed he could create humans who could switch bodies in the same way and experimented on three orphans, he also makes a passing mention of two who came later, "Rebbeck and Lear".
When they had been physically altered, he went to work on a way of controlling them via their minds. He hit on using the superhero narrative after seeing a comic one day (and that comic is shown to be Captain Marvel) and used technology created using what they had found in the alien spacecraft.
|The Miracle family are created.|
We return to the flashback the night in 1961 when the Miracle family started to wake up. The dampner fields overload and the Miraclemen start creating their own dreamworld. Miracleman is still uneasy, saying something is wrong and nothing feels real. His mind is creating absurdities upon absurdities in an attempt to wake himself up.
Miracleman: "No! This is wrong! Don't you see? We're being seduced. They're trying to stop us thinking!"
His subconcious projection is so powerful it even changes the logo on his real life costume. Gargunza desperately looks for a way to reassert control as Fabian says Miracleman is moving. Gargunza finally hits on having them wake up inside the simulation with all the crazy stuff as just being all a dream. This appears to work, although Miracleman's costume logo is still changed.
|Gargunza reasserts control... maybe.|
Cream arrives on the scene with Liz. Liz and Mike hug and Gargunza says Mike and Cream have three minutes to make their getaway before he sets Miracledog on them. He says now Liz is pregnant, Mike has outlived his usefulness. Cream and Mike leave, but soon Mike collapses in despair saying he is too fat and old to run.
|Miracledog. Not a very friendly guy.|
Miracledog then catchs up with Mike and when Mike points his gun at it, snaps the gun up taking two of Mike's fingers with it. Mike tries to figure out how to defeat an opponent whose magic word it can't even say. Then he realises that the magic word could be said by someone else besides Gargunza. He tries it and Miracledog changes back into a harmless animal. Mike beats it's brains out with a rock then sits and waits.
Gargunza's men are out looking for Mike and Cream's bodies. They find Cream and Miracledog, but then Mike transforms back into Miracleman and kills all of them. He then speeds back to Gargunza's compounds and smashes his way down to where Gargunza is. Before Gargunza can say the counterword, Miracleman grabs him by the throat. Then he flies him up above the Earth.
Miracleman: "Can you see the planet? How big it is? Can you see the scale I live on? Gargunza, can you see how small you have always been?"
He kisses Gargunza farewell, then hurls him back down towards the Earth. Gargunza burns up in the atmosphere and only a small amount of bone makes it back down to the surface.
|Sucks yo be you now, Gargunza.|
Back with Liz, her contractions start. She struggles outside to seek help to find the place wrecked. Then Miracleman appears angelically in front of her. She gets a bit hysterical but he holds her and says it's "all gone away". She doesn't want to have her baby where they are now, so Miracleman puts her in a nearby truck and then flies her inside it to find a quiet place she can give birth.
There is a brief interlude with two strange humanoid characters who gain entrance to the facility where Johnny Bates is being treated. They enter his mind as try and talk to him about his "Change-self". When Johnny refuses to respond they withdraw and Kid Miracleman pops up wondering "what they hell were they?"
There is now an extensive birth scene rendered in extremely graphic detail with a series of beautiful and life affirming captions. It's not easily summed up and is really the emotional heart of the entire book, so here are some images from it to give you some idea how lovely it is.
The action then cuts back to the strange humanoids who are keeping an eye on all the beings like Mike/Miracleman who can change, whether alive or dead. Their speech is odd and hard to follow and very elliptical, but one thing they do reveal, that there is a Miraclewoman out there as well.
Returning to the new family, they are back at the Moran home. Liz is unable to keep up Miraclebaby's need for sustenance. Miracleman changes back into Mike and is still missing two fingers, overwhelmed by all the stress he has been under he passes out.
We then cut to Johnny Bates, inside his head, Kid Miracleman has managed to trick Johnny into coming out of his vegative state that had trapped them both. He knows Johnny won't say the magic word and free him easily, but that it's more likely to happen if Johnny is concious and mixing with the other kids in the group home.
|Kid Miracleman plots....|
We then return to the odd humans, they are in a doctor's office, the receptionist speaks to the female doctor and says they have asked for her using the wrong name, "Lear" and seem to be foreign. Then the receptionist, still speaking to the female doctor over the phone says "Kim who?" and the side of the building shatters as Miraclewoman says the magic word "Kimota" and makes a quick getaway.
Mike: "How can anything so wonderfully complex be made so small, so flawless in every details. Her perfect little fingers. Her perfect little eyes. Her perfect little ears. Her perfect little mouth... with it's... perfect... little... teeth".
The book concludes with the mysterious couple in South America inspecting the body of Miracledog. Their next target is Mike who they are detirmined not to allow to escape them like Miraclewoman did. They travel back to England in a burst of light.
|The mystery humanoids... aliens perhaps?|