It’s been teased for some time now, but it’s finally official — DC Comics’ greatest escape artist, Mister Miracle, is making a comeback. After appearing in Geoff John’s “Darkseid War” storyline in the pages of the New 52’s Justice League, the Jack Kirby-created hero will receive a new series this summer, as announced on Pitchfork. Beginning this August and running for 12 issues, the new Mister Miracle series comes from The Vision and Batman writer Tom King, together with his Sheriff of Babylon artist Mitch Gerads, who will take readers “on an episodic roller coaster of death, resurrection, mystery and intrigue.”
In a statemen, King shared, “Mister Miracle is the most ambitious project I’ve ever worked on. Mitch and I asked ourselves if we could do something as good as Sandman, Preacher or New Frontier, which are transcendent, contained stories that comment upon the times in which they were made. We knew we’d be stupid to think we could, but we’d be more stupid not to try.”
King added, “In going back and reading all of Kirby, you’re dipping your head in genius. No one can out-Kirby Kirby. You can’t make an epic as great as he did. It’s like trying to make Star Wars again, or like trying to rewrite the Iliad. You can take those grand cosmic space opera themes and internalize them and use them to tell a very personal story. That’s what appealed to me about it. We were going to take the bigness of Kirby and turn that into the intimacy of Mister Miracle’s life. Kirby used a metaphor for his time, written in the late ‘60s early ‘70s when the world was going utterly insane. We’re going to use it as a metaphor for our time, the late 2010s, when once again the world is going insane. It’s almost like we’re holding up a mirror to that work, or internalizing it. We’re going step-in-step with him.”
For those of you out there unfamiliar with the character, Mister Miracle was created by comic book legend Jack Kirby back in 1971. Miracle, along with the Forever People and the New Gods, were all part of a cosmic line of comics called The Fourth World. After spending ten years at Marvel Comics, in which Kirby and Stan Lee created the foundations of almost the entire Marvel universe, he and Lee had a falling out, and he went to his rival, DC Comics. He was given free reign to create three books all his own, which resulted in the Fourth World titles and overall mythology.
The Fourth World encompassed a whole new cosmic mythology for the DC Universe, which included the creation of Darkseid, the God of Evil, who lived on the planet Apokolips. His counterpart, Highfather, lived on the bright world of New Genesis. The two worlds were at war for eons, but finally a treaty was struck, and to seal that bargain, Highfather and Darkseid exchanged their first born sons. Darkseid’s son Orion was sent to live on New Genesis, and Highfather’s son Scott was sent to live out his life in the Fire Pits of Apokolips. There, he grew up under harsh conditions and learned to become the galaxy’s best escape artist. He also fell in love with a giant warrior woman named Big Barda, and the two escaped to Earth.
Despite all the hype, the Kirby Fourth World books weren’t the sales success DC hoped for. Kirby without Lee was a little too much like Simon without Garfunkel for fans, and the entire Fourth World line was cancelled after about a year. But the reputation of those concepts and characters grew in stature throughout the ’70s, and eventually Kirby’s cosmic creations embedded their way into the DC Universe. By the early ’80s, DC started to realize just what a gift Kirby had given them, although it took them a decade to do so.
Thanks to comics like Legion of Super-Heroes and their epic “Great Darkness Saga,” and the Justice League and Justice Society taking on on Darkseid together in the pages of Justice League of America, Kirby’s cosmic characters quickly became a staple of DC lore. When DC and Marvel teamed up in 1982 and produced The New Teen Titans/Uncanny X-Men crossover, the two villains used were Dark Phoenix and Darkseid, raising his profile as DC’s biggest threat for all time. Not long after, Mister Miracle himself became a longtime member of the JLA in the late ’80s. When Darkseid became the chief villain in the Super Friends cartoons and the Super Powers toy line, that cemented him as DC’s #1 baddie for all time.
Cut to today — The whole Fourth World mythology is going to be at the core of the upcoming Justice League film, which we already know will contain Mother Boxes, which are Kirby created technology that allows for instant transport between worlds, and that the Kirby created Steppenwolf will be the movie’s main villain (with Darkseid waiting in the wings of course). If/when a Justice League sequel happens, it will no doubt take us to the Fourth World itself, which may mean our first big screen version of Mister Miracle.
Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been mining Kirby’s cosmic creations for years already. Almost all of the Asgardian characters in the Thor films are Kirby created, as are most of the races in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Ego the Living Planet was one of Kirby’s wildest concepts, and it was front and center of the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Fans may argue about MCU vs DCEU for years, but one thing is true of both — neither would exist without the genius of Jack Kirby.
Mister Miracle #1, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads will hit shelves August 9. Cover artwork is by Nick Derington with variant cover by Gerads. You can see both covers, along with a 3 page preview, down below in our gallery.
Are you looking forward to a return to Kirby’s Fourth World characters? Let us know down below in the comments.
Images: DC Comics