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Review: Miracleman: The Silver Age #1

Miracleman: The Silver Age #1

After almost 30 years, writer Neil Gaiman and artist Mark Buckingham are finally going to conclude one of the great superhero epics, Miracleman, wrapping up the unfinished “Silver Age” storyline and maybe even getting to the long-awaited “Dark Age” arc where Miracleman’s utopia collapses and the corrupted, twisted Kid Miracleman returns. But, before getting to the new material, Gaiman and Buckingham serve up remastered versions of the first two issues of “Silver Age” with new coloring from Jordie Bellaire. Basically, Miracleman: The Silver Age #1 is a remastered version of Miracleman #23, and it’s all about Young Miracleman coming back from the dead after 40 years and honestly being freaked out and appalled by the new utopia he lives in, especially when Miracleman tells him about the Alan Moore retcon that all his “adventures” in the classic Marvelman comics were just a fantasy dream world created by the evil Gargunza. This is bookended by the a look in on what the young superheroes of this era are up to aka mostly nostalgia exercises, which is as much a commentary on the genre as it is on the world we live in where an almost 40 year old song topped the charts this summer and a 77 year old comic book character is topping the box office.

Unlike the “Golden Age” stories which mainly focused on different citizens of Miracleman’s utopian world, Miracleman: The Silver Age #1 returns the focus on superheroes, especially adolescent ones. Mark Buckingham and Bellaire may portray the superhero battle between Jenda, Zapster, and Klingstor the Galaxtron as a brightly colored, double page spread punch-fest, but it’s just kids playing in their backyard as drawn by Jack Kirby in the 1960s with one of the Miracle children basically having the ability to shapeshift into different Kirby monsters. They live in a perfect world, there’s no crime or supervillains so they fight each other in the ruins of old skyscrapers and clean up the debris before one of the adults notice. The Miracle children are the like the classic Legion of Superheroes with just a dash of the 1990s sarcasm. However, they’re quickly turned from their pointless fisticuffs to the human drama of Young Miracleman waking up because emotional conflict and tension is always more interesting than action figure battles. (And if you combine both, it’s a fucking masterpiece aka Miracleman #15)

Buckingham and Jordie Bellaire do a pastiche of modern and Golden Age art styles for the scenes with Young Miracleman that correlates well to Neil Gaiman’s 1950s British style dialogue. Seriously, I felt like Young Miracleman was one of the kids from Chronicles of Narnia or something, and it especially comes out when he’s alone again with Miracleman and slut shames Miraclewoman and is racist towards Huey Moon and xenophobic towards the the aliens that were responsible for bringing him back to the dead. It totally makes sense that someone born in the 1940s would act that way, especially if they’ve been in a coma since 1963 and reminds me of what Mark Millar did with Captain America in the Ultimates albeit with more restraint and a decade before. Gaiman and Buckingham lean into the trauma behind Young Miracleman’s beaming, innocent face, and although he doesn’t leave Olympus, there’s a general feeling of unease with even the Miracle children feeling sorry for them even as they have one last play battle as the issue wraps up.

Miracleman: The Silver Age #1 succeeds as an old/new first issue reintroducing the current status quo of Miracleman and his utopian world while providing insightful commentary on youth, the superhero genre, and the mixed bag that is nostalgia through the return of Young Miracleman and the activities of the Miracle children. Jordie Bellaire’s colors are a near perfect fusion of the old Eclipse books, classic comics, and modern techniques while Mark Buckingham’s use of double page spreads add more energy and momentum to Neil Gaiman’s scripting. Miracleman isn’t as fresh in the 2020s because so many comics, TV shows, and films have borrowed from whether intentionally or unintentionally, but dealing with trauma and the aimlessness of youth will always universal struggles.

Story: Neil Gaiman Art: Mark Buckingham 
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Todd Klein
Story: 8.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle