Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mister Miracle 13 & 14

[Andy Bentley looks at the next two issues of Miracle Man as part of looking at all the New Gods stuff.]

Mister Miracle #13 The Dictator’s Dungeon
Mister Miracle #14 The Quick and the Dead

Mister Miracle 13 and 14 share a number of similarities as Jack Kirby begins to settle into a groove for his final few issues. The villains, King Komodo and Madam Evil Eye, are not from Apokolips, but they share an inspiration: the third reich of Germany. Komodo is revealed to be a fugitive WW2 German scientist which is part of the inspiration for Darksied’s perverse assistant Desaad. Madame Evil Eyes is posing as the leader of a satanic cult and satanism has been linked to Hitler’s army in many forms of fiction, most notably Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both villains have secret lairs with hidden panels and trap doors for Mister Miracle to evade. Miracle ultimately disposes of both of them by using some amazing and previously unseen powers originating from the circuitry in his cowl. These resolutions were the most disappointing aspects of the issue as Miracle’s powers seem to grow with every issue.

The positive development though is that Kirby is beginning to add some depth to Mr. Miracle’s supporting cast. Komodo kidnaps Miracle’s manager, Ted Brown, because Brown previously identified the war criminal and has been frightened of retaliation ever since. Miracle and Barda offer a soothing life lesson to let this chapter in his life pass and move forward. I believe writing and drawing the Fourth World saga helped Kirby move on from the atrocities of World War two. In the second issue, we see that the Female Furies, particularly Barda, are beginning to adapt to the new surroundings of Earth. In both issues, Barda wears civilian clothes rather than her formal warrior attire. Ted Brown finally asks the question I’ve had since Barda’s first appearance: “Is she in love with Mister Miracle?”. The two are close and have been seen holding hands, but there has never been any tangible romantic aspect. This development is intriguing, but ultimately should have come much earlier in the series.

These developments help, but when Barda exclaims “By Darkseid!” you remember what you are truly missing. Four issues remain, and then we’ll take The Hunger Dogs and it’s lead in. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with the column this far.
Final Musings

- Energy Capsules seem to be on Kirby’s mind constantly. It seems to originate is spy fiction, like a James Bond or Nick Fury of this era.
- I’d be remiss is I didn’t mention the amazingly creepy rendition of Madame Evil Eyes. Her giant orb eyes with pinhead pupils would have been enough to scare me into closing the book at an early age. I know Kirby did monster books but I wonder if he ever did horror along the lines of an EC comic.

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