The second issue of Marvel’s Miracleman reprints is here, and already my biggest problem with the first issue is pretty much eliminated. This is because this issue feels like a lot more value for money than #1. There’s much more Alan Moore’s original writing in here, including a story that’s not been reprinted since the original 1982 run, and the comic is $1 cheaper. There’s still a bunch of unnecessary Mick Anglo stories in here, but they do provide some good context. I felt a bit short-changed by #1, but here, the balance felt right, and the price to pay is worth it in order to finally read these stories.
The first 13 pages continue the main Miracleman narrative, with Micky and Liz Moran getting a phonecall from Johnny Bates, the kid who used to be Kid Miracleman and going to visit him, before the twist reveal that Johnny is still Kid Miracleman, and is a totally insane psychopath. The fight scene and depictions of violence from Kid Miracleman here have been hugely influential across comics, and have probably had a negative effect overall, but that doesn’t negate the impact of what Moore did here. Seeing Johnny melt his secretary’s insides, and then throw that innocent kid to his death was so dark, and I can’t imagine how it must have felt to read this back in 1982.
But it’s not just the darkness that demonstrates how important this series was, Moore’s writing here is mature in the actual sense of the word, his narration is much more sophisticated than what came before in comics, and his description of Johnny Bates as ‘a tiger’ and 'a dragon' is just spot on and so wonderfully evocative. He’s the most critically acclaimed writer in all of comics, so this is nothing new from me, but still, this is great writing. Garry Leach’s art is perhaps the most surprising thing about this series for me, it’s so bloody good, and the new colouring makes it look fantastic. How Leach never became a mega-star in the 80s is shocking to me, but hey, his work is getting new spotlight now, and thanks to Moore’s lack of credit, he’s getting the attention he deserves.
After this comes the story that was never printed before in the US, which is a story set in the future, with Miracleman and Warpsmith travelling through time to important moments in the character’s past and having MM fight himself to create the energy needed to stop Kid Miracleman. The fact that Moore had his story plotted out so far in advance is pretty mindblowing, but I can see why this story hasn’t been reprinted before, it does spoil a lot of future events, including the death of Liz Moran. The art here comes from two very familiar names in Steve Dillon and Alan Davis, and it was very cool to see what their art looked like 30 years ago, and how they’ve developed.
The issue ends with some more ‘dvd extra’ type stuff, including some original art from Leach, which looks just as good, if not better than the coloured versions, it was meant to be in B&W after all. Then comes the Anglo stories, which are nothing special apart from the unfortunately named ‘Superflick’ studios, which, thanks to the lettering, reads as ‘Superfuck’. I know I’m being harsh on Mick Anglo again, but I can’t help it, I know this is cool context, but the stories are bad.
Overall, thanks to the price drop and increase in Moore material (and the fact that the Moore stuff got more interesting), this was a much better issue than #1, I am just so pleased and grateful to be reading these comics, that any complaints I have should really be ignored. This is a classic, buy it now, or wait for the trade, just bloody read it.