Mister Miracle #25 (1978)

This is very close to a perfect super-hero comic of its era. With a stellar creative team and a wonderfully interesting plot and theme, Mister Miracle #25 is a forgotten gem.
 
Mister Miracle was named Scott Free. He was literally a New God, one of the greatest creations of the great Jack "King" Kirby and part of his epic Fourth World storyline. Kirby was a master at grandeur and excitement, the perfect man to tell a giant, epic story. But the Fourth World books had been cancelled for several years before Mister Miracle was revived in 1977. After several stellar issues by Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber took over the series.
 
Now, if you read Obsessed with Comics consistently, you know I’m a huge Gerber fan. gerber was quite simply one of the finest comics writers of the 1970s, bringing his own existential and complex thoughts to the world that Kirby created. The only thing is that the themes that Gerber explored were kind of the polar opposite of Kirby’s work. Kirby was all about the big themes, while Gerber explored the inner world. It’s not that Kirby was shallow – his "Glory Boat" from New Gods is justifiably well-remembered as an intelligent classic – it’s more that the King moved so quickly and was so caught up in his action that he never had a chance to slow down.
 
Conversely, Gerber’s writing was all about the absurd lives that we all live. That’s why his Howard the Duck was such a unique and beloved series. As a duck in a world of humans, Howard was the ultimate outsider.
 
This is all a long way of getting to the fact that this issue was another masterpiece from the master.
 
Declared an outlaw by the two warring worlds of the New Gods saga, Scott Free has declared himself a messiah. He’s a super escape artist, and he preaches that everyone can escape their chains. In the first scene, Scott calls to a rabid audience, "As I was constrained by links of metal – there are forces in the universe which seek to bind you! As I was sealed alive in a casket – there are forces which seek to suffocate you! But escape is possible!" These are heady themes for a super-hero comic from 1978, but for the man who made Man-Thing a star and who put Nighthawk’s brain in the head of a deer, it was business as usual.
 
The art is by the spectacular team of Michael Golden and Russ Heath. I’m not sure if this comic came before Golden’s star-making turn on Micronauts (ha, i almost typed Microsoft!), but the flash and energy and raw sense of style he showed in that book is on hand here. His drawings of Big Barda, Scott’s gorgeous wife, are wonderfully exciting and exotic. And Golden’s line work is clearned up and amplified by the longtime comics vet Russ Heath, who does a great job of staying true to Golden’s work while adding a cleaner and more learned line than Golden provided.
 
Yeah, more great stuff from Gerber. Not much of a surprise there. 
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