Monday, January 07, 2008

Seriously, I hadn't been sure Mr. Miracle had ever got to 25 issues before.
Mr. Miracle's fall collection failed to take off.
I mentioned this one the other day, so let's take a quick run at it: Mister Miracle #25, "Doom unto Others...!" Written by Steve Gerber, art by Mike Golden, inks by Russ Heath. Pretty good lineup there: I always think of Englehart and Rogers as being the team of note after Kirby, so I wasn't expecting this. And, some of this issue actually reflects a little on the character of Scott Free even today.

The issue opens immediately after Scott Free has made a dramatic escape at Hoover Dam, but instead of his usual showman's bow, he gives a little speech about how forces in the universe will try to bind them, but "Escape is possible!"

Watching from Apokolips, Darkseid notes that Miracle is too unpredictable and dangerous now that he's "forsworn his allegiance to New Genesis." Did anyone else ever wonder, why did Scott have any allegiance to New Genesis? Sure, it's the land of his birth, and the ostensible good guys; but they're also the ones that traded him to Apokolips in a pact. I don't feel that he owes them the time of day.

Darkseid calls in the hit on Miracle, and Granny Goodness...man, I have never been able to work past that name. Granny sends a trio of fliers out, which Miracle takes out in a suitably dramatic encore. Although it's noted a couple of times already that Scott is working up his presentation as a messiah for the people, he points out in his interior monologue that it's "strictly secular." Best guess is it's not a faith-based initiative, but almost a 'live up to your potential' thing. I personally can't imagine anything more discouraging than getting a Tony Robbins speech from Criss Angel: "I broke free from this straitjacket, so can you!" Um, I don't have laser jets in my shoes, so no, I can't. Sorry to be so negative, but there it is.

As Miracle explains to his PR guy and the reader how he escaped--which I always thought was kind of boring, since it's usually blah blah Mother Box blah blah concealed laser blah reverse phase blah blah blah--the scene shifts to a family apparently seen last issue. A young woman, Alianna, displays almost supernatural physical discipline and control, to the dismay of her father. Her mother, however, is encouraging like a coach. An East German women's gymnastics coach, but that's still sort of encouraging.
Wait, show him the control or the agony?
Injured ten years ago in a car wreck, and still in agony to this day, Alianna developed (over-developed, if she's supposed to be a fifteen year old as noted in the dialog) incredible inner strength. The mom encourages it, seeing her daughter as what she herself could have become if she had received the chance and not married young. The dad points out his daughter is detached and emotionless, but his argument is trumped by Granny Goodness offering the mom "advanced tutelage" for Alianna. Yeah, even though she's trained Alianna for selfish reasons, the mom had a couple of good points, and probably isn't any more harsh a trainer than Batman, but siding with Granny pokes a big hole in her argument.

Granny sics Alianna on Mr. Miracle, who at first thinks she's as strong as his wife Barda. But, he soon realizes Alianna's real strength is an instinct for pressing weakness, "like a living trap!" She also proves strong enough to take a punch in the face from Scott, and beats him. Granny appears and scolds Alianna for not killing Scott, but Alianna calmly explains that wasn't her deal, and she prefers to compete against herself.

Granny begins to strangle Alianna, explaining that she could never be one of Darkseid's warriors, since pain is too useful in motivating them: Alianna is in control of hers, she's of no further use. Scott, playing possum, gives Granny an elbow to the gut, making it two women he's slugged this issue. Fleeing slowly via boom tube, Granny says Alianna's parents are doomed since she failed, and that if Scott's going to be a messiah, there's going to be an anti-Christ coming for him eventually.

Alianna was an interesting character, or could've been anyway, but I'm not even sure she appeared in the next issue, or how many more issues Mr. Miracle ran. Scott's run for messiah was never really clarified in this issue either: I figure he was probably trying to rally Earth against Darkseid, but it was probably dropped when this series ended. I'm more used to Scott as escape artist showman/work-a-day superhero, as he was in Justice League, than either this angle or the security/locksmith position he seems to have been shoved into since Identity Crisis or so.

By the way, Big Barda barely appears in this issue, and Golden doesn't draw her as 'big' as she probably should be; but between her design and Alianna you can see elements that would show up again in Micronauts.

Man alive, it feels like that's the first actual comics post I've done in a while. I haven't read Death of the New Gods yet, although I've read most of Kirby's Mister Miracle and New Gods, and have pulled a lot of the later attempts for both out of the quarter boxes. That's not to say there aren't some good ones in there, but as far as the whole Fourth World thing goes, I could get by with just Scott, Barda, Orion, Darkseid, and maybe Kanto. What? Kanto's cool.

Anyway, I think Justice League Unlimited was on the right track in blending those characters in with the larger DC universe. Otherwise, they're out by themselves and don't have the pull for it--remember Genesis? Not if you're lucky, you don't.

Tomorrow: a non-Marvel, non-DC, non-toy post! Weird, huh?

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