Grant Morrison. Joe Quesada. Peter Milligan. Mike and Laura Allred. That list of creators is reason enough to pick up All-New Miracleman Annual #1 from Marvel. I must confess that despite all the talk about how Miracleman is one of the greatest and influential comics of all time, it barely registered as a blip on my radar. I figured I’d eventually get around to reading it, but I never felt like a sense of immediacy. However, upon seeing the credits for this installment, I just had to check it out. Turns out, it was worth every penny of the $4.99 price tag.
The annual’s first story, by Grant Morrison and Joe Quesada, is a surprisingly dark tale – especially for those that picked up a copy with Jeff Smith’s (Bone) variant cover. This story is vintage Morrison, both literally and figuratively. Written back in the 1980s, Morrison’s narrative is straightforward but incredibly layered. It’s rather impressive how much the reader can extract out of this story given that it is only 10 pages. Defiance in the face of death. Good versus evil. Unshakable willpower. These (and more) can be found within this short story that is wonderfully brought to life by Joe Quesada’s art.
As good as Morrison and Quesada’s story might be, it’s the other story by Peter Milligan and Mike and Laura Allred which is the real treat to readers. First and foremost, the Allreds’ pop-infused art style is, as always, a joy to see. The creators play with the character’s history as the United Kingdom’s version of Fawcett’s (and later, DC’s) Captain Marvel. The result, like the recently released The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures, is a jovial tale that can be enjoyed by nearly anyone. Though the character is now associated with a deconstruction of superhero comics, Milligan and the Allreds opt instead to present the character closer to his original version. Though the similarities between Miracleman and Captain Marvel might be a little too distracting for readers, the overall fun to be had should leave most smiling by the final turn of the page.