He’s the world’s greatest escape artist, repping the DCU’s most perfect superhero costume! Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Mister Miracle #1 awaits!
MISTER MIRACLE #1
Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jack Kirby
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 15 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing:
Release Date: January 14, 1971
Previously in Mister Miracle: After revolutionizing the comic book field at Marvel throughout the 1960s, Jack Kirby finally broke with long-time collaborator Stan Lee in 1970. Signing with rival DC Comics, Kirby created the Fourth World series of books with the expectation that others would take over, with Kirby acting as creative supervisor. DC editorial instead asked him to do it all himself, reputedly offering him his pick of any of the comics in their stable to work on in addition to his new material. Kirby chose to take over the reins of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, as the book lacked a regular team, and Jack was loath to put any other creators out of work. After debuting his new concepts in Jimmy Olsen, he launched The Forever People, about a group of young heroes looking to change the world. Then, he dropped his third title, my favorite of the Fourth World concepts.
Mister Miracle #1 opens with Thaddeus Brown and his assistant Oberon setting up their latest incredible escape for an audience of one, a man who calls himself Scott Free. Things immediately get weird, as Brown’s escape works, but a group of thugs under the command of Intergang (as introduced in the pages of Jimmy Olsen) attack the old man. Scott helps him to escape, and Thaddeus explains that they’ve been after him for some time. Scott has a few tricks of his own, as he proceeds to explain to the escape artist.
Thaddeus proceeds to continue with his plan to debut his newest escape whether Intergang approves or not, but local section chief Steel Hand steps in personally to take care of the escape artist. It’s a beautiful sequence by Kirby, with Vinnie Coletta providing some of his strongest work, as Intergang attacks on multiple fronts, only to have Thaddeus fall prey to a sniper’s bullet.
After the old man’s death, Oberon reveals the truth: It was all over a bet. Steel Hand had sworn to find the one trap that Mister Miracle couldn’t escape, making his death even more tragic. After putting Mister Miracle to rest, Scott puts on the costume to try and bring Steel Hand to justice, breaking in and trying to get the crime lord to admit to his murderous ways. Instead, he gets tied to a missile and launched into space, ending things for all time.
Oh, no, wait. He’s waiting in Steel Hand’s office to haunt him again!
Seeing the man he has killed TWICE, finally panics the villain, who finally admits to his misdeeds… just in time for Oberon to arrive with the police!
The question of how and why Scott Free has such strange devices at his fingertips is left unanswered in these pages, but readers of 1971 would soon discover the truth of his alien origins, tying into The New Gods and The Forever People. That’s all in the future, though, but Mister Miracle #1 is one hell of a kickoff, with Kirby packing the pages with action and intensity, and Scott Free taking on his iconic identity to avenge a dead man, coming together for one dead-solid hit of a comic and 5 out of 5 stars overall. There are a lot of comics from 1971 that simply do not hold up, but this one does…
…and that costume is THE BEST.
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MISTER MIRACLE #1
There are those who dislike Kirby's '70s work, but this issue is an example of pure creative energy willing something entirely unique into the world. It's a remarkable debut, and every page is impressive as heck.