Meet Miracleman, Golden Age Hero Turned Divine Figure
Who is Miracleman? Read on to learn more about this Golden Age hero's journey from super hero to divine figure.
A Golden Age paragon of justice turned morally ambiguous superbeing, Michael Moran – AKA Miracleman – boasts one of the more complex character histories in the Marvel Universe. Now, with Miracleman’s story finally continuing after a decades-long hiatus, here’s what you need to know about character.
Created by Mick Anglo, Moran debuted in MARVELMAN (1954) #25. The character’s origin has undergone a few changes over the years, but the story generally sees an astrophysicist named Dr. Guntag Barghelt discovering an incredible power and giving it to Moran after deeming him worthy.
Moran’s newfound powers allowed him to transform into the incredibly powerful and virtually indestructible Miracleman by saying a magic word: “Kimota.” Soon, he ended up getting two sidekicks – Dickie Dauntless, AKA Young Miracleman, and Johnny Bates, AKA Kid Miracleman – that accessed their powers by saying “Miracleman.” Together, the trio took on such threats as the mad scientist Dr. Emil Gargunza and the evil nation of Boromania.
Or, at least, that’s what they thought.
Miracleman Learns His True Origins
In the ’80s, The Original Writer and artist Garry Leach revived Miracleman, this time with mature themes that earned it a parental advisory. Their run picked up with Moran having lost his memory of ever having been a hero. Instead, he lived as a run-of-the-mill freelance reporter who had, at some point, married a woman named Liz. However, during a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant, Moran saw the word atomic written backwards, which is a homophone of “kimota,” and read the word aloud, finally transforming himself back into Miracleman.
After dealing with the threat, Miracleman recovered his memory and learned that he, Young Miracleman, and Kid Miracleman had been investigating a purported sky fortress built by Dr. Gargunza’s weapons when they were hit by an atomic explosion. Dauntless died, while Moran lost his memories. Bates, for his part, survived the attack and went on to have a successful career in business. Moran and Bates soon met back up, and the former discovered his protégé never left his Kid Miracleman form after the explosion – and over the decades, that power had corrupted him.
The two battled, and Kid Miracleman proved significantly stronger than Miracleman due to his years in his transformed state. Luckily for Moran, Kid Miracleman made a fatal error and spoke his magic word, reverting him to his younger form. Bates then fell into a catatonic state and ended up under the care of the state.
After the confrontation with Kid Miracleman, Moran learned the truth about his origins. After World War II, an alien spacecraft crashed on Earth and the British military began working on a new superweapon using the technology they found inside. For their research, which was called Project Zarathustra, an intelligence organization led by Sir Dennis Archer and known as the “Spookshow” recruited former Nazi scientist Dr. Gargunza.
Project Zarathustra then abducted the orphaned children of air force men: specifically, Moran, Dauntless, and Bates. Additionally, he secretly kidnapped a woman named Avril Lear—the future Miraclewoman—without the government’s knowledge. Using the alien technology as a jumping off point, Dr. Gargunza discovered how to essentially swap bodies in the real world with enhanced versions from a place called infra-space, a sort of pocket dimension, using a key word. In the case of Moran, that word was “Kimota.” To keep control of his test subjects, Dr. Gargunza kept them in a dream-like reality informed by comic books; Miracleman’s original adventures in the Anglo comics are those dreams.
Dr. Gargunza came back in full force when he kidnapped a pregnant Liz. The child was not, in fact, Moran’s; as it turns out, he and Miracleman constitute two separate people. The villain intended to take over the child’s body so that he might live forever, which had been part of his plan since Project Zarathustra. Miracleman attacked Dr. Gargunza and his men. However, the scientist used a fail-safe word, “Abraxas,” to take away Miracleman’s powers for one hour, reverting him to his Moran form. Eventually, though, Moran got his powers back and killed Dr. Gargunza.
Miracleman Meets the Qys and Warpsmiths*
*This next section involves mature themes and may not be suitable for all readers. Reader discretion is advised.
Miracleman and Liz named their daughter Winter, but it was clear that there was something abnormal about her, as she grew faster than a baby should. After her birth, an alien species called the Qys – the originators of that technology behind Miracleman’s creation – arrived on Earth and attempted to take out anyone using the body-swapping technology. Miraclewoman returned to help Miracleman and his family in the battle. However, the Qys initially proved to be a difficult opponent due to their mastery of body-swapping.
The fight between the Qys and Miracleman ended with the former group discovering that Winter was a hyper-intelligent being, which caused them to end their assault. They then explained to Miracleman and Miraclewoman that they were engaged in a cold war with the hyper-fast Warpsmiths. Due to Winter’s existence, both races agreed not to interfere in Earth’s development. Miraclewoman, though, proposed they use Earth as a neutral world on which to exchange their cultures.
Moran’s life collapsed pretty much immediately after he returned to Earth. Liz left him, and Winter went into space to study with the Qys. In the end, the character climbed a mountain and wrote a suicide note, making clear that he never wanted Miracleman to swap with him again. Making matters worse, Bates’ catatonic state came to an end. While the child-version of him tried to avoid ever turning back into Kid Miracleman, horrified by what he’d done in that state, Bates spoke his magic word during an attempted sexual assault at his group home. As Kid Miracleman, Bates sacked London, destroying half the city and killing tens of thousands of people.
Miracleman and his new allies, who included the pyrokinetic Huey Moon, the Warpsmith Aza Chorn, and Miraclewoman, assembled to take on Kid Miracleman. The fight proved incredibly difficult, and they mostly succeed due to Aza Chorn’s ingenuity. The Warpsmith began teleporting debris into Kid Miracleman’s body, forcing the villain to switch back into his child form. Chorn died in the fight, and Miracleman killed the young Bates so that he could never become Kid Miracleman again.
Miracleman’s New World Order
After the fight with Bates, Miracleman and Miraclewoman forced peace on Earth and became divine figures. They also started distributing genetic material around the world so that everyone might be able to have a baby like Winter. Additionally, Mors, another of the Warpsmiths, found a way to restore the dead to life and built a special underworld to accommodate them.
The early issues of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s run on Miracleman focused on the stories of those living on Earth under that new pantheon and explored the cultural changes that took place in the aftermath of the battle with Bates. At the end of that initial set of issues, Miracleman and Mors successfully returned Dickie to life. However, Gaiman and Buckingham’s run was cut short before they could truly explore what happened and has remained unfinished up until now.
The first true release in decades, MIRACLEMAN (2022) #0 provides more of those stories against a frame of the titular character reading fiction about his life. That book goes on sale tomorrow, October 5.
The next installment in the series will be a reprint of MIRACLEMAN BY GAIMAN & BUCKINGHAM: THE SILVER AGE (2022), which jumps the story forward to the 21st century and looks at Dickie’s reintegration into the world. The series also looks at just how these young superpowered children are doing. The first issue of that series goes on sale Wednesday, October 19.
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