Mister Miracle #22. February 1978.

Behold, the Bronze Age!

bronze-age

Cover: Marshall Rogers

“Midnight of the Gods”

Writer: Steve Englehart as John Harkness

Penciler: Marshall Rogers, Inker: Rick Bryant and John Fuller

Colorist: W. Argyle Nelson-Smith, Letterer: Milton Snappin

Story Editor: Larry Hama;  Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

Scott Free decides to take on Darkseid himself! Through a hologram message, Darkseid challenges Free to surrender or the earth will be destroyed.

Miracle again incites the Lowlies, but is arrested. He escapes from the Prime Protectors’ prison cage. Avoiding the guards, Miracle enters the Cerberus Chute, through which lay Darkseid’s throneroom!

Miracle confronts his foster father and blasts him with a lethal blaster. Darkseid survives the blast and warns Miracle that there can be no light without darkness. Does this mean there can be no ending to war and hatred, Scott Free says?

Darkseid ends the meeting the throws Miracle into a vortex, laughing…

***

Per DC Wikia: Due to the writing not meeting his own standards, Steve Englehart used the pseudonym “John Harkness” for this issue. No source is given.

It wasn’t that bad. True, it wasn’t the best thing he had ever written … and the last two pages were odd and preachy.

And even the artwork seemed sketchy and rushed. Not Rogers’ best either.

Definitely an “in between” issue – Miracle is still trying to foment an uprising among the lowlies and a non-confrontation with Darkseid. The storyline barely advanced; you’d think this was a modern comic.

***

The editor in the letter column claims they have the hit of the century on their hands.

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

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Mister Miracle #21. December 1977.

Behold, the Bronze Age!

bronze-age

Cover: Marshall Rogers, Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

“Command Performance!”

Writer: Steve Englehart, Penciler: Marshall Rogers, Inker: Vince Colletta

A blurb on the splash page announces this is the creative team from Detective Comics.

Colorist: Liz Berube, Letterer: Ben Oda, Editor: Larry Hama

From DC Wikia:

Granny Goodness has conditioned Big Barda to believe she will die unless they are together. To free her from this spell, Mr. Miracle goes to Apokolips to challenge Darkseid. At the Terrorium, Mr. Miracle must escape from the greatest deathtrap of all–the Necro-File!

***

A return to Apokolips brings back the fantastic storyline and art you expect from this team. Although in these later days it is odd seeing Darkseid NOT be as big as a wall – in some panels he seems almost thin.  The plot and dialogue is Kirby-esque in its strange exositions: “We must serve Darkseid!” Rogers’ art shows action as well as Kirby but in a different way – more menacing and less Wagnerian. The Necro-files swirling blades looked genuinely lethal!

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

Mister Miracle #20

Behold, the Bronze Age!

bronze-age

Mister Miracle #20. October 1977

Cover: Marshall Rogers, Managing Editor:  Joe Orlando

“Eclipse”

Writer: Steve Englehart, Penciler: Marshall Rogers, Inker: Terry Austin

Colorist: Liz Berube, Letterer: John Workman, Editor: Dennis O’Neil

From DC Wikia:

Mr. Miracle’s Mother Box grants him his last “miracles” — such as flight — and leaves. Meanwhile, Granny Goodness has kidnapped Big Barda and taken her to Earth’s Moon. Mr. Miracle and Oberon rescue her, but find that she has been conditioned, through torture, to believe that her husband is the enemy.

***

The text page explains who Ilya Hunch was (the inker from the previous issue that was the secret name for Crusty Bunkers – Neal Adams’ stable of superb artists from his Continuity Studios.

***

The story moves briskly with plenty of time for cosmic oddities from the Mother Box. An interesting theory is finally revealed – something that has bugged readers (well, me at least) for some time: why doesn’t Scott Free have powers like the other New Gods or Forever People?

After last issues tour-de-force, the artwork here is lacking a bit. Perhaps Rogers and Austin – who are otherwise infallible – are still feeling their way. Although some pages (such as the sequence where Mother Box speaks to Scott) are excellent – enough zip-tone shading to make Steranko jealous, some scenes are plain and flat. Maybe they were having an off month.

Still, good story, good art!

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

Mr Miracle #19; September 1977

Behold!

Bronze age

Jack Kirby leaving Marvel for DC is held by some (myself included) as the beginning of the Bronze Age. It is arguable, and some of the other dates and events have merit, but everyone agrees Kirby’s work at DC left an impact felt to this day (as was obviously his work at Marvel).

His creations in the early Bronze Age will battle the Justice League in their upcoming movie.

Kirby started the Fourth World mythos with the New Gods, Forever People, (taking over) Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen and Mister Miracle. Mister Miracle was the last surviving Fourth World book by the time of its cancellation in 1974 after 18 issues (Kirby left Jimmy Olsen some time before). By 1977 it was time to revive the super-escape artist with one of the best writers and one of the best artists of this or any age!

I won’t review the Fourth World books in this blog – it’s been done by others (and far better than I) and those reviews are easy to find online. Besides, I tend more toward the second (or third or lower) tier of comic books of the 1970s. By third tier I mean in terms of popularity and sales, certainly NOT quality!

***

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Mister Miracle #19.  September 1977

Cover: Marshal Rogers, Managing Editor: Joe Orlando, Editor: Denny O’Neil

“It’s All in the Mine”

Writer: Steve Englehart, Penciler: Marshall Rogers

Inkers: Marshall Rogers & Ilya Hunch (alias Crusty Bunkers: Dick Giordano, Mike Nasser, Al Milgrom, Jack Abel, Alan Weiss, Joe Brozowski, Terry Austin, Neal Adams).

Per DC Wikia:  When Marshall Rogers realized that he was running out of time on the issue, he enlisted the aid of his friends, and assigned each of them a character in the story: Mister Miracle by Rogers, Barda by Giordano, Granny Goodness by Mike Nasser, Kanto by Milgrom, Highfather by Abel, Oberon by Al Weiss, Bedlam by Brozowski, Vermin Vundabar by Austin, and Mister Miracle’s eyes on page 1 by Neal Adams.

Colorist: Liz Berube, Letterer: Morris Waldinger

Per DC Wikia:

Granny Goodness and three of Mister Miracle’s other foes (Dr. Bedlam, Kanto and Vermin Vundabar) kidnap Big Barda from New Genesis, forcing Scott Free to become Mr. Miracle again. To rescue his new wife, he returns to Earth and reunites with Oberon, and the two go after Granny. She forces Scott to enter a deathtrap without his Mother Box, but when he escapes, he finds that his foes have left, and still have Barda with them. He deduces that they are now on the moon and he plans to follow them… continued next issue.

***

The letter column gives a brief history of the magazine and waxes philosophically on … escaping. It asks for letters and hypes upcoming DC comics.

***

This series is superb and never got the sales it deserved. Englehart and Rogers make a wonderful team – at this time they were also doing their six-issue legendary run on Detective Comics (the run that included the Joker Fish). The story is intriguing for this first issue – picking up where the last issue left off years before with Free’s and Big Barda’s honeymoon on New Genesis.

Marshall’s art is as wonderful as always – the characters look so real you think you are looking at a photograph. Barda never looked so beautiful. Not even the pencils and inks of Crusty Bunkers could hide his style!

An excellent start. This series will last for years!

Won’t it?

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!