Alan Moore’s Superhero Universe Reboots 3: Miracleman Universe


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracleman

 

The main superheroes of the Miracleman universe include Kid Marvelman, Miracleman, Miraclewoman and Young Miracleman.  The Miracleman universe is the third reboot alphabetically but Moore’s first reboot chronologically.  Moore did this reboot before the Watchmen that led to his ascendance as the premiere comic book writer of all time.  In the sixties in Great Britain there was a superhero called Marvelman.  Marvel comics book sued the English publishers and this lead to the demise of Marvelman.  Marvelman never made it to the US.  Years later, Moore decided to reboot Marvelman but due to the same copyright issues could not use the name Marvelman and changed the name to Miracleman. 

 

A mad scientist working for the British government has figured out alien technology thousands of years ahead of ours and has created Miracleman, Miraclewoman and Young Miracleman.  Their powers are more or less than same as Superman’s but they are in world much more like ours than Superman’s so their relative power is much higher.  The beings are kept in a state of stasis and they are programmed with adventures which are the same as the adventures of the original Marvelman series.  This is the first use of the comic book within a comic book that will become Moore’s trademark signature in all other reboots except in the case of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

 

Miracleman ultimately does all the things that Superman will not even though he could.  Miracleman creates paradise on Earth and guides humanity towards the next level of evolution as part of an interstellar community.  The Miracleman family takes over the Earth in order to bring order at the “molecular” level and the does just that.  The Miracleman family exists as a pantheon of gods sitting above humanity.  This theme of super beings dealing with the fundamental issues of human existence such as worldwide pollution, bad governance and unequal distribution of resources and opportunity will later be explored in two other comic book series including DC’s Squadron Supreme and the Authority.  The absurdity of Superman using his vast powers to stop bank robbers and dealing with the symptoms of human suffering rather than the causes of human material suffering if not existential suffering was identified by no less an literary giant than Umberto Ecco in his essay about Superman.

 

Miracleman is not only a more “realistic” version of Superman but a much darker version.  If a mere mortal messes with Miracleman then this mortal can expect instant death.  Gods do not suffer disrespectful mortals.  Superior characterization is shown throughout the series but certain characters stand out.  Miraclewoman is very different than Miracleman in attitude.  She is much more positive about her condition and revels in her super powers.  This is in contrast to Super Girl who is a clone of Superman who happens to have breasts in most treatments of her.  Miraclewoman is smarter than Miracleman.  When faced with the leader of the aliens from which their powers are derived she suggests a radical diplomatic solution.  Earth will be a neutral ground where the two great powers that govern the galaxy can meet.  When Miracleman is rude to Margaret Thatcher, Miraclewoman intervenes and takes some of the sting out of their coup de tat.  Miracleman is a brooding character that has transcended material suffering but not existential suffering.  Miraclewoman is a cheerful happy person as well as she should be given her position as the queen of the gods.

 

Dr. Gargunza is probably the most fleshed out mad scientist in the history of comics.  Dr. Gargunza is given credit for being a genius who as one of the aliens points out was like a gorilla that got a hold of a camera and made technological discoveries using that camera.  Miracleman has to admit that Dr. Gargunza is his father and chooses to kill him with a kiss.  The kiss is given while in orbit around the Earth where there is no air so the kiss is fatal and the subsequent meteor like fall is most certainly fatal.  Miracleman must kill Dr. Gargunza because his intelligence and mastery of the alien technology makes him too dangerous but Miracleman does so with regret.  And don’t gods always have to kill their fathers to ascend to the top of the pantheon?  Zeus must kill Chronus to fulfill his potential as a god. 

 

Dr. Gargunza comes from the most humble beginnings in Mexico and after making a sufficient amount of pocket money, from gang activities, moves to Europe and starts a new and seeks out the likes of Heidegger and leaves the red dust of Mexico behind him forever.  Dr. Gargunza realizes from his conversation with Heidegger that the ultimate problem of human existence is death and the solution is for him to create a baby with the alien technology that is super powered and immortal.  Dr. Gargunza is not driven by some desire to take over the world but a desire to survive.  Dr. Gargunza is a student of animals and hunts cheetahs for fun and would argue the will to survive transcends all other morality and the ends do justify the means.  Issue 15 of the series shows a Kid Miracleman rampaging through London and is generally considered some of the darkest work in comic books period.  I own every issue of the Moore version of Miracleman except this one and have heard the issue is extremely gory.

 

I give this reboot a rank of three out of the five reboots.

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2 responses to “Alan Moore’s Superhero Universe Reboots 3: Miracleman Universe

  1. You slightly misremembered the quote about the scope of Gargunza’s achievements. It was as if a chimpanzee had found a Walkman… extrapolated back to first principles…. and then built a recording studio.

  2. Thanks for the correction. I have been living in Asia for almost ten years now and 99% of my comic book collection is in storage back in the US including that particular comic book. For the record you would be really hard pressed to find that particular issue or even the issue in graphic novel format in Taiwan or Korea. You might find it in the Phils. I am now in Japan but in Nagoya and can say Nagoya doesnt even have basics in their book stores but havent checked out Tokyo yet.

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