Graphic Novel Review: Miracleman Book One: The Golden Age

Miracleman: The Golden Age

Miracleman: The Golden Age - Credit: Archant

After the rise of the superhuman comes a new world order - but is utopia all it’s cracked up to be?

(Panini Books)

Imagine living in the perfect world, a utopia forged by beings who might as well be gods, where even death has been conquered and crime, poverty and war are all but obsolete. Would you embrace the potential of this new existence, or would you eventually grow bored and reject it?

This is the concept at the heart of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s take on Miracleman, following on from the principles established by Alan Moore in the previous three volumes, which culminated in the title character looking down on a planet he shaped and developed in the wake of a near-apocalyptic battle with his adversary Johnny Bates.

This anthology explores different aspects of the new world order, from the pilgrims climbing to the top of a new Olympus to petition the gods, the man who loved a perfect woman, and how clones of Andy Warhol helped introduce Miracleman’s resurrected “father”, Dr Emil Gargunza, to the legacy he created.

Even the dark allure of Kid Miracleman has its admirers in this society, with a rebellious subculture of Bateses celebrating him as an anti-hero who may one day return to seize control, and we look in on a playground group of these advocates to see what motivates them.

These are just some of the tales included in this volume, with Gaiman plundering the rich seam of imagination left behind by Moore to his own advantage, aided and abetted in his exploitation by the remarkable talents of artist Buckingham.

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The original run of Miracleman came to a premature conclusion shortly after the issues collected here, and readers have waited the best part of three decades to discover exactly where the creative team are heading. In the meantime, this is a perfect exploration of how the world has adjusted to the changes wreaked by their superpowered masters, with the emphasis on character and narrative which Gaiman is renowned for.

The new direction for the series is very different from Moore’s run, but it is still outstanding storytelling in its own right.