Graphic Novel Review: Miracleman: Olympus

Miracleman: Olympus

Miracleman: Olympus - Credit: Archant

The final confrontation between Miracleman and his arch adversary is just the beginning of a new era for the whole Earth...

(Panini Books)

Alan Moore’s original treatise on the concept of the superhero, and how he would interact within the “real world”, comes to an epic conclusion in this third volume of the long-awaited Miracleman series.

Following the birth of their obviously advanced daughter Winter, Mike (Miracleman) Moran and his wife Liz are still attempting a semblance of a normal life, until they encounter both representatives of the alien Qys – whose technology was used to create the Miracleman Family – and the beautiful Miraclewoman, also the recipient of incredible powers thanks to her involvement in Project: Zarathustra.

In the wake of these new developments, both Liz and Winter leave Mike to his new life as Miracleman, one to seek refuge in normality, the other to explore the universe beyond our own tiny, backwater world. But no sooner has Moran’s human existence been brought to its inevitable end, but his superpowered counterpart finds himself once again in deadly battle with the insane Kid Miracleman, released from his mental prison by his human former Johnny Bates.

The return of his nemesis leads to death and destruction on an unparalleled scale, as London is virtually wiped out in a matter of minutes, before Miracleman is forced to take a final sanction to remove the threat of his one-time partner once and for all.

And in the wake of Armageddon, there is an opportunity for a new beginning, with the leaders of Earth forced to accept necessary changes in the world’s status quo to ready the planet for its future as part of the greater universe.

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In many ways, this is the most shocking part of Moore’s narrative, how easily our accepted society is broken apart and rebuilt by Miracleman and his allies, with a particularly poignant scene of a broken Margaret Thatcher (this series was originally published in the 1980s) coming to terms with her loss of power.

It’s tantamount to Moore’s genius just how effective his work on Miracleman remains today, so long after its original publication, and it’s probably fair to say that although he would return to the superhero genre many times in subsequent years, he never achieved a better take on the trope than his three volumes of work on Miracleman (for legal reasons he is credited as The Original Writer on these new collections).

This collection also includes the first new Miracleman stories in decades – by Grant Morrison and Joe Quesada and Peter Milligan and Mike Allred – as first seen earlier this year in the All-New Miracleman Annual 1, and set between events in the main series, and page after page of behind-the-scenes bonus material.

A landmark series in the history of the comics medium, now finally back in print, this title deserves pride of place in the collection of any aficionado of the superhero genre.