Figs said: I'm trying to figure out your point here. Are we being deep? Obviously not. So your inference is that we think we are being deep?
That was just my way of providing feedback to b-dog to let him know that even though I haven’t had much to say so far I am following along. No sarcastic inference intended. I’ve been considering re-reading Miracleman for some time now, and the one-two punch of this discussion combined with the announcement that Marvel will soon begin reprinting the classic 1950s Marvelman has convinced me that this may be the time. I’ve pulled all my individual issues and trades but haven’t started re reading them yet. When I do I’ll probably start with the reprinted material, but I hope to be caught up with the discussion by the end of the week.
I'm glad that we've all made up ... and discovered where the smilies are!
(Seriously, what am I supposed to do with that?)
CONCLUDING BOOK ONE: A DREAM OF FLYING
SUMMARY: Miracleman concentrates his search on video journals that remain about the creation of the Miracleman family. Mike Moran and his two protégés were chosen because they were young orphans with no families, so their disappearances would not be noticed. Their bodies were not merely cloned, but evolved, then placed into something called “infra-space,” where the bodies swapped places upon use of the trigger word. They have enormous power, able to outrace jets and fly through titanium, making them potentially more valuable than the nuclear weapons that were being developed by other countries at the same time. The advanced technology at use baffles Miracleman. “What … is a para-reality programming process? Or an infra-spatial brain implant for that matter? Or a cellular replicate? … In the early ’50s we hadn’t even developed polio vaccine.” Their comic-book memories were implanted over the course of several years, but Miracleman never gets to find out why. Instead, he learns who the human genius behind the project is. It’s Doctor Gargunza, his arch-enemy from his comic-book past. Miracleman goes into a berserker rage — “GAAARRRGUNZAAAAAA!” — destroying some equipment in the bunker before Cream calms him down. They depart, leaving Archer and his team with quite a mess on their hands.
COMMENTS: A classic EYKIW, as we have discussed many times over the years in the Comics Cave: Everything You Know Is Wrong. My, how far we have come in 10 chapters! And the final part raises more questions than it answers, perfectly setting up Book Two.
STARTING BOOK TWO: THE RED KING SYNDROME
By Alan Moore with Alan Davis, John Ridgway, Chuck Austen*, Rick Veitch and Rick Bryant
SUMMARY: It’s 1961, and the Zarathustra project is in full swing. Dr. Gargunza is attempting to feed the Miracleman family a dream scenario (one of their comic-book adventures), but it’s not working. As soon as Gargunza gives up, a scenario starts up on its own! The Miracleman family finds itself in a strange, un-Earth-like place and on the edge of a massive “Sleepytown.” (“It looks like something out of a crazy dream,” Miracleman says. “Or a nightmare!” says Young Miracleman.) Gargunza believes that the Miracleman family has subconsciously realized its dream existence and that they are trying to wake up. “Have you ever read Alice in Wonderland?” he asks his assistant. “Do you remember the Red King? He slept, and he dreamed, and no-one dared wake him. They were afraid, you see, that they were part of his dream, and that were he to wake the whole of existence would simply vanish.” Gargunza knows that if his “brutes,” as he calls the Miracleman family, finally awake, his existence will vanish.
COMMENTS: This is a delightful play away from expectations into a part of the story that hasn’t really been explored. And we only see enough to want to see more. Also in this story, we change artists. Alan Davis is replaced by John Ridgway, whose work is more eerie and moody, effectively moving between the unreal dream scenario and Gargunza’s world of unbelievable technology. Davis returns as the artist on the main run.
* — Credited as Chuck Beckum but commonly known to today’s readers by the other name
John Ridgway and Chuck Beckum are the same person? I didn't know that. I'll be off the board for the rest of the week, but when I return Monday I hope to be caught up to where you are. I'll try to remember to check chapter two for Bates' spoken or thought "Miracleman" and report back.
SUMMARY: We move back to the modern day (1982) and catch up with each of the main characters. Mike and Liz are fighting. She is afraid someone else will target him, like Cream did, but then he changes to Miracleman, and she finds comfort — and more — in his arms. Cream confronts Archer and warns him not to come after Mike or Miracleman again, but Archer says Cream will come to regret his alliance. “This monster […] destroys people. People like me. People like you.” Johnny Bates is still in a hospital and nonresponsive, but inside his mind, Kid Miracleman is harassing him to be let out again. A rare show of defiance by Johnny only encourages his alter ego. And we meet up with Dr. Gargunza, who, it seems, has a very dangerous pet.
COMMENTS: Moore introduces the theme of the hunter and the hunted, which he returns to throughout the book. Like with Johnny and the nurse, many times the hunted doesn’t even know she (or he) is a target. We see that with Miracleman in later chapters. And sometimes the hunted decides to turn and face its hunter, like the jaguar did, only to be slaughtered. We see that later, too. Moore also splices his scenes together wonderfully, moving from Gargunza, to Mike and Liz, to Johnny, to Cream, then back to Miracleman and Liz, and ending with Gargunza, all the while returning to the jaguar on each page. It’s another example of how effective short-form storytelling (only six pages here) can be.