Graphic Novel Review: Miracleman: A Dream of Flying

PUBLISHED: 11:33 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:33 07 November 2014

Miracleman: A Dream of Flying

Miracleman: A Dream of Flying

Archant

Back in print at last, one of the greatest British superheroes of all time!

(Panini Books)

Decades ago, the high-flying British superhero Miracleman went away, vanishing into myth almost as if he had never existed.

But then, unexpectedly, he was back, and the world was once again able to experience the power and influence of this archetypal character, while also offering a contemporary perspective on his colourful adventures.

The parallels between the story which unfolds in this volume and the real-life battle to revive its protagonist are impossible to ignore, and give new weight to a character originally created as little more than a cut-price version of the original Captain Marvel under the nom de guerre of Marvelman.

First seeing print in 1954 after a lawsuit by DC Comics curtailed the reprinting of Cap’s adventures in the UK, Marvelman endured until 1963, before being revived by publisher Dez Skinn for his 1980s comics anthology Warrior, scripted by a then little-known writer called Alan Moore.

Eventually picked up by American publisher Eclipse Comics under the new name of Miracleman to avoid upsetting Marvel Comics, the character vanished into a legal minefield in 1994, and has remained unseen until now.

It’s testament to the commitment and dedication of creators like Neil Gaiman and Joe Quesada that long-standing issues over the rights of Marvel/Miracleman were eventually resolved, and these long-lost tales are available to be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

So who is Miracleman, and why has this series been hailed as one of the stand-out superhero sagas of all time?

When jaded reporter Michael Moran finds himself caught up in a terrorist siege at a nuclear power station, the traumatic experience unlocks a mental block which prevented him from remembering the trigger word “Kimota!” Transformed into a god-like superhero, he awakens recollections of fantastical adventures in the company of his best pals Kid Miracleman and Young Miracleman.

Trying to explain this somewhat unbelievable story to his wife Liz (in spite of her guffaws), Mike recalls losing his memories when the trio were caught in an atomic explosion, and how he has lived a normal life ever since.

But the secrets behind Miracleman’s origin are far less simplistic than it first seems, and Mike is forced to confront dark experiments from the Cold War, come to terms with his own changed nature, and attend a reunion with a face from his past…

This volume of stories is part of a trilogy of books written by Moore, who because of deep disagreements with Marvel Comics, is herein credited only as the Original Writer, with art by Garry Leach and Alan Davis. It sets up Moore’s post-modern treatise on the mythology of the superhero, exploring themes of identity, power and corruption on multiple levels, many of which he would return to in his seminal work Watchmen.

One of the all-time classic superhero sagas, finally back in print, this series deserves pride of place in any graphic novel collection.

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