Saturday, December 10, 2022

Comics Review: "MIRACLEMAN #0" is Not a Special Anniversary Special


STORY: Neil Gaiman; Ryan Stegman; Mike Carey; Peach Momoko with Zack Davvison; Ty Templeton; Jason Aaron
PENCILS: Mark Buckingham; Ryan Stegman; Ty Templeton; Paul Davidson; Peach Momoko; Leinil Francis Yu
INKS: Mark Buckingham; Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer; Ty Templeton; Paul Davidson; Peach Momoko; Leinil Francis Yu
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire; Sonia Oback; Ty Templeton; Antonio Fabela; Peach Momoko; Sunny Gho
LETTERS: Todd Klein; VC's Joe Caramagna; VC's Ariana Maher; Ty Templeton
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
COVER: Alan David with Alejandro Sanchez
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson; Skottie Young; Peach Momoko
56pp, Color, $5.99 U.S. (December 2022)

Rated T+

Marvelman created by Mick Anglo; Miracleman created by Alan Moore, Garry Leach, and Dez Skinn

Marvelman is a British superhero character created in 1954 by writer-artist Mick Anglo for British publisher, L. Miller & Son.  The character was originally created as a substitute for the American character, Captain Marvel (Fawcett Comics), in the U.K.

In March 1982, Warrior, a British monthly, black-and-white anthology comics magazine, was launched by editor and publisher Dez Skinn, who decided to revive Marvelman.  Warrior would eventually publish a new and darker version of Marvelman, written by Alan Moore and initially illustrated by Garry Leach and later by Alan Davis.  In August 1985, Eclipse Comics began reprinting the Marvelman stories from Warrior (in color) in a comic book entitled, Miracleman (to avoid legal problems with Marvel Comics).

After purchasing the rights to the character decades later, Marvel Comics brought Eclipse Comics’ Miracleman series back into print in a new special edition with extras, beginning in 2014.  Now, Marvel Comics is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of Marvelman/Miracleman's modern era with a new one-shot comic book.

Miracleman #0 contains four stories, a pin-up, and a few gag strips, all sandwiched between a framing sequence slash set-up, entitled “Apocrypha,” written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Mark Buckingham.  On the cusp of a new era, Miracleman #0 celebrates the launch of a comic that would help change American superhero comic books.

THE LOWDOWN:  So the conceit of Gaiman and Buckingham's “Apocrypha” is that Miracleman visits the “Library of Olympus.”  There, he finds old Miracleman comic books,which he begins reading.  The following stories: “Blood on the Snow,” “Whisper in the Dark,” "Kimota's Miracle," and “The Man Whose Dreams were Miracles;” the gag strips “Miracle Funnies” (by Ty Templeton), and the fake ad, “MM: TAS” (also by Templeton) are what Miracleman reads in those old comic books.

The best of the lot is “The Man Whose Dreams were Miracles” by writer Jason Aaron and artist Leinil Francis Yu.  In spite of Yu's scratchy looking art, which irritates me eyes and my imagination, the story is good.  It may also give us a hint of Miracleman's future in the Marvel Universe proper, as I have come across Internet rumors that Jason Aaron may be the writer on Marvel's first Miracleman ongoing comic book series.

Still, Miracleman #0 isn't much of a 40th anniversary special, granted Marvel is often not good with anniversary issues and specials (see Marvel Comics #1000).  A proper Miracleman anniversary comic book would feature the work of Alan Moore, but he has held to his infamous promise never to write for Marvel.  Moore won't even let Marvel use his name when it reprints Miracleman comic books that he wrote!  Garry Leach is recently deceased.  The last possibility is Alan Davis; at least, he contributed the art for the main cover (Cover A) for Miracleman #0.  A word or two from someone formerly associated with Eclipse Comics would have been nice, as would be something from Dez Skinn.

Miracleman #0 does include a six-page preview of Mark Buckingham's black and white art for the upcoming Miracleman: The Silver Age, the second arc of his and Gaiman's long-awaited Miracleman magnum opus.  Mostly, Miracleman #0 seems like a lame money-grab.  My disagreements are not about this comic book's creative talent; there is enough talent here for several comic books.  I simply think Marvel could (and should) have done better – much better – to celebrate Miracleman.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Miracleman may want to try Miracleman #0

[This comic book includes a black and white preview of Miracleman: The Silver Age #1 by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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