STARTING BOOK ONE: A DREAM OF FLYING
By Alan Moore with Alan Davis and Garry Leach
SUMMARY: We are introduced to Mike Moran via his recurring nightmare. He is a superman who can fly, but when he and his two partners get too close to a mysterious aircraft, it explodes, and Mike begins to fall. He awakes to his normal life. He is a middle-aged free-lance journalist and married to an illustrator. (No wonder they have problems making ends meet.) Mike is assigned that day to cover the opening of a nuclear power plant, but terrorists intervene with plans to hijack the plutonium and sell it to the highest bidder. They round up the journalists, including Mike, for the purpose of free advertising. Suddenly, Mike suffers a crippling headache. As he is dragged out of the room, he chances upon a word in reverse on a glass door, “CIMOTA,” and he remembers the word that triggers his superpowers, “Kimota.” Mike turns into Miracleman*, quickly defeats the Bad Guys and flies into outer space, proclaiming, “I’m Miracleman … I’m back!!”
COMMENTS: The 1980s revival of Miracleman started as an eight-page feature in a black-and-white anthology magazine. (The reprints were colored.) Basically, this is the same format as early Thor, Iron Man and Doctor Strange stories. I love this format; it forces compacted, efficient storytelling, and Moore gets the most out of his eight pages.
Moore’s run begins as a ground-level story that gives no indication of where it will end up. But even here, Moore plays with the notion of “his eyes have seen the glory” as a comeuppance for one Bad Guy. The full line, from Battle Hymn of the Republic, is “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Perhaps Moore already knew that Miracleman would become a god.
* — Yes, I will call him Miracleman based on the editions I am reading.
CONTINUING BOOK ONE: A DREAM OF FLYING
SUMMARY: Liz wakes the next morning and recalls a, uh, Miracle-tryst.* Her thoughts are interrupted by a phone call for Mike. It’s Jonathan Bates, the former Kid Miracleman! Meeting in person at a skyscraper, the all-grown-up “Johnny” Bates relays that the airship’s explosion stripped him of his superpowers, and he has since lived as an average person. He became an electronics whiz and today runs a highly successful cybernetics company. But interspersed with their conversation are shots of an approaching storm: “It’s coming this way, and it’s a monster…” Mike confronts Bates with his own theory, that Bates has been Kid Miracleman all this time, a being with an all-powerful body but the untempered mind of an adolescent. “You could become remorseless, unstoppable … and totally corrupt.” When Bates protests, Mike pushes him off a high balcony, and Bates just floats there, smiling.
COMMENTS: Moore’s storm metaphor is a bit over the top, but considering the true evil we see from Kid Miracleman over the course of his run, it might be justified. One thing I haven’t commented upon yet is Garry Leach’s pencils. They’re phenomenal, incredibly detailed and sophisticated, matching the sophistication of Moore’s writing. It’s a great pairing.
* Thankfully off-camera, unlike in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Grrrrr, Moore!