New Reviews of Old Comics
In the interest of full disclosure I did not buy this one recently from the dollar stack at my local comic shop or pick it up at an antique store. I bought it off the shelf for cover price when it was released in 1987, probably from the General Store in Newbury, VT. When I saw it on the shelf I most likely knew nothing about Mister Miracle, the Fourth World or even that Jack Kirby created him (I wasn’t a fan at the time). I bought it for the sheer fact that the Newbury General Store only got a handful of comic titles in each week and I usually bought them all unless they were really lousy (I’m talking Star Comics, here, folks). Hey, I even bought Dakota North because the General Store had it. Back in those days my comic options came from the General Store, two pharmacies in Bradford and the once every month or so trip to Comic Outpost in Barre, VT. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?. I recently came across Mister Miracle Special while entering my comic collection into a database I set up (yes, I’m that much of a nerd) and decided to read it again.
“No Escape From Destiny” was written by long time Kirby assistant Mark Evanier with art provided by Steve “the Dude” Rude. It opens with Mister Miracle performing a mind-boggling escape trick because, well, that’s what he does. His wife, Big Barda, and assistant, Oberon watch from the ground below while our hero plummets to Earth after being shackled, locked in a safe and pushed out of an airplane. Naturally Barda is worried, but all for naught because Mister Miracle always escapes. Throughout the rest of the issue we get some background on his origin, which is very cool along with some fight scenes where Darkseid and his minions look to finally kill Mister Miracle once and for all. Darkseid, Granny Goodness and the rest of that happy-go-lucky crew are always out to get him because he escaped from Granny’s orphanage on Apokolips and they’ve just never gotten over that. They’re evil people and won’t let bygones to be bygones. Of course the high point of the story is when Mister Miracle is challenged to escape from a trap Granny devised, which he must get through to save Barda. The trap is nothing short of outrageous and while the outcome can be expected, it’s still a good read.
I remember enjoying this comic quite a bit when I first read it and 25 years later it still held up for me. Mark’s story has plot, action, character development, a happy ending and leaves you thinking “hey, that was pretty cool.” Steve Rude’s art is exactly what you would expect from Steve: fantastic. He does right by Kirby with his storytelling and action sequences, but still retaining his classic Rude style. This issue made enough of an impression on me in 1987 that I remembered liking it and when I started reading comics again I went looking for reprints of Kirby’s Fourth World to finally see what the original Mister Miracle stories were all about. I wound up reading the New Gods, Forever People and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen to go along with the Mister Miracle reprints, and they’re all well worth the effort to track down. For my last birthday I asked for, and received, a Mister Miracle t-shirt (Kirby’s cover from Mister Miracle #1), which I wear proudly. Yeah, I’m a big fan now and it all started with this issue.
Notable Ad: There are very few ad pages in this comic, so not much to choose from. I’m a little disturbed by the ad for “Micro Bugs,” which aren’t insects but electronic surveillance equipment. This stuff can be sold to the general public like that, so any comic book reader could bug my phone? That just doesn’t seem right. For $2, Microcrom Technology of Cleveland, OH would send you a catalog to see what they have. I have to hope this stuff would be out of the average comic geek’s price range. I have to admit I’m as intrigued as I am disturbed…