- Mister Miracle
Cover to Mister Miracle #22
Art by Marshall Rogers.
Publication information Publisher DC Comics First appearance Mister Miracle # 1
Created by Jack Kirby (writer & artist) In-story information Alter ego Scott Free Species New Gods Place of origin New Genesis Team affiliations Justice League Abilities Immortality.
Superhuman physical attributes,enhanced intellect and Immunity.
As the god of Escaping he is the master of Escapology bar none, aided by magic-level technology, Expert martial artist, New God inventive.
Knowledge of the Anti-life Equation (and possesses the will power not to use it). He possesses the Alpha Effect.
The original title featuring this character was the longest-lasting of the short-lived Fourth World tetralogy, lasting 18 issues while the other titles (New Gods and The Forever People) were cancelled after only 11 issues. The most traditionally super-heroesque comic of the various Fourth World titles, the last seven issues (as well as later incarnations of the series) would downplay the Fourth World mythology that drove the other titles in favor of more traditional superhero fare. The title was briefly revived in the late 1970s for an additional seven issues written by Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber, before abruptly ending with #25 with several storylines unresolved.
This special was followed by an ongoing series which began in 1989, written by then-current Justice League scripter J.M. DeMatteis, and drawn by British artist Ian Gibson. Other co-writers/writers who contributed to the title include Keith Giffen, Len Wein, and Doug Moench. This run lasted 28 issues before cancellation in 1991. The series was largely humor-driven, per Keith Giffen's reimagining Scott Free, his wife Big Barda, and their friend Oberon (who pretended to be Scott's uncle) as living in suburbia when they were not fighting evil with the Justice League.
In 1996, a series written by Kevin Dooley showed Scott attempting to escape his destiny as a New God by setting up a charitable foundation in New York. This only ran for seven issues, before all Fourth World titles were canceled for the launch of Jack Kirby's Fourth World.
With the launching of Grant Morrison's meta-series "Seven Soldiers of Victory", Mr. Miracle was revived as a four-issue mini-series. However, this mini-series focused instead on Scott's sidekick and apprentice Shiloh Norman, who Morrison has established as the new Mr. Miracle.
In addition, Scott's ally (and wife) Big Barda was made a member of the revived Justice League and appeared regularly in the Jack Kirby's Fourth World series by John Byrne, as well as several issues of "The Brave and the Bold", where Mr. Miracle teamed up with Batman.
Fictional character biography
Mister Miracle was one of four series in Kirby's ambitious but short-lived Fourth World saga. The character was inspired by the early illusionist career of comic book artist Jim Steranko, while the character's relationship with Big Barda is based on Kirby's relationship with his own wife.
Thaddeus Brown was a circus escape artist whose stage name was Mister Miracle. As the first escape artist to use the name Mister Miracle, Brown mentored both Scott Free and Shilo Norman. After Brown's murder, Scott Free took up the Mister Miracle name, adopted Thaddeus' young ward Shilo Norman, and hired his assistant Oberon.
Scott Free is the son of Izaya (Highfather), the ruler of New Genesis, and his wife named Avia. However, as part of a diplomatic move to stop a destructive war against the planet Apokolips, Highfather agreed to an exchange of heirs with the galactic tyrant Darkseid; the exchange of heirs guaranteed that neither side would attack the other. Scott traded places with Darkseid's second born son Orion.
Scott grew up in one of Granny Goodness' "Terror Orphanages" with no knowledge of his own heritage. As he matured, Scott rebelled against the totalitarian ideology of Apokolips. Hating himself for being unable to fit in, he was influenced by Metron to see a future beyond Darkseid. Scott became part of a small band of pupils who were tutored in secret by the rebel Himon, a New Genesian living as a "Hunger Dog" on Apokolips. It was at these meetings that he met fellow pupil Big Barda, who would later become his wife.
Eventually, Scott Free escaped and fled to Earth. His escape, long anticipated and planned for by Darkseid, nullified the pact between Darkseid and Highfather and gave Darkseid the excuse he needed to revive the war with New Genesis. Once on Earth, he became the protégé of a circus escape artist, Thaddeus Brown, whose stage name was Mister Miracle. Brown was impressed with Scott's skills (especially as supplemented with various advanced devices he had taken from his previous home). Scott also befriended Brown's assistant, a dwarf named Oberon. When Thaddeus Brown was murdered, Scott Free assumed the identity of Mister Miracle. Barda later followed Scott to Earth, and the two used their powers, equipment, and skills in the war against Darkseid, who was still interested in recapturing both of them. Eventually, tired of being chased on Earth by Darkseid's servants, Scott returned to Apokolips and won his freedom by legal means, through trial by combat.
Scott Free later became a member of the Keith Giffen-era JLA (as did Barda and Oberon), which recast him and Big Barda as semi-retired super-heroes that sought to live quiet lives in the suburbs when they were not involved in Justice League-related adventures. In particular, Scott Free was recast as a hen-pecked husband, who often found himself on the receiving end of his wife's temper, over her desire to live a quiet life on Earth.
During his time in the League, Scott developed an intense rivalry with League villain Manga Khan. The villainous intergalactic trader and black marketer repeatedly kidnapped Scott, ultimately convincing Scott's conniving former manager Funky Flashman into forging documents forcing Scott to work for Manga as his personal entertainer. To force him to go along willingly, Khan replaced Scott with a life-like robot who was ultimately murdered by Despero during his first mission with the Justice League. Scott ultimately escaped from Manga Khan's clutches and reunited with his wife and friends, though the shock was enough to cause Scott to ultimately quit the League and to take on a protege in the form of Shiloh Norman.
In the conclusion of Final Crisis, many of the New Gods are all seemingly reborn. Among their numbers are the apparently resurrected Mister Miracle, along with Barda.
Powers and Abilities
Like all the New Gods, Mister Miracle is functionally immortal, having ceased aging physically near the age of 30, also he has developed immunity to a number of toxins and diseases. He's stronger than a human with superhuman strength, agility, resistance, coordination and reflexes. Mister Miracle's stamina and endurance is nothing short of amazing. Due to the naturally exhausting and extensive rigors of his life on Apokolips, Mister Miracle is able to manage his stamina on a certain amount of rest and sustenance (more than minimal) so that it seems he is able to constantly function, though this is not entirely the case. Tied directly to his strength and invulnerability, even his immunity to a certain extent, Mister Miracle can actually function at peak efficiency for almost 48 hours before needing to eat and rest off the stress.
Mr. Miracle was trained in Apokolips like an aero-trooper being a master combatant and in the handling of weapons. Also, he is a Master Escapologist and expert performer, Scott is marginally better at escapes than the Batman and much of his skill is the result of his advanced nervous system. Mr. Miracle usually knows as much about a trap as the builder.
Mr. Miracle has an enhanced intellect and he is knowledgeable about the Fourth World and much of our Universe for such a reason he's very persuasive and an extremely ingenious inventor using advanced technology like the motherbox, a multi-cube, aero disks and others devices. Mister Miracle possesses the Alpha Effect, the antithesis of Darkseid's Omega Energy. Its powers seem to cancel out or undo Darkseid's Omega Effect.
Scott revealed he possesses greater power as the embodiment of the Anti-Life Equation, this power for all purposes allows him to warp reality, space, time, matter and antimatter on a cosmic level. The ability is apparently fueled by rage and negative emotions which Scott himself doesn't have a personality for normally. The Anti-Life Equation is said to give the being who learns it power to dominate the will of all sentient and sapient races. It is called the Anti-Life Equation because "if someone possesses absolute control over you - you're not really alive." but he refuses to use it as it reduces other beings to mindless slaves.
- Mother box
- Costume: Mr. Miracle's costume is based on Thaddeus Brown's. It seems to be skin tight, except for the gloves and cape. In reality it contains numerous hidden pockets. Each glove and boot has a pocket and the slim utility belt contains half a dozen more. The full-length flowing cape is attached with fasteners that can detach it in a moment to allow for greater freedom of movement. In a secret pocket on his right upper arm Scott hides his Mother Box.The costume is magnetically sealed and provides limited protection from damage and fire. It's bulletproof allowing Mr. Miracle to resist the claws and blades of Parademons briefly. He also doesn't have to worry about his cape catching fire when he's hanging over a flaming pit.
- Mask: Mr. Miracle's mask contains back up circuitry for his Mother Box and a life support unit. The back up circuits let Scott use his Mother Box hands free. The life support system lets him conserve Mother Box power in hostile environments instead of having her provide him with an atmosphere.
- Gloves: The gloves have wide cuffs that hold secret pockets for Scott's multi-cube and assorted picks. In addition the gloves can fire concussion blasts and contain a fingertip laser for fine welding or burning out a lock. The palms contain magnets to let Scott cling to metal surfaces (see aero-discs) and adhesion pads letting him hang on virtually anywhere. Scott's gloves are fireproof and damage resistant.
- Aero Disks: Thin metal plates about a foot across. The New Gods use them for personal travel. They can reach speeds of 250 mph and attain altitudes of a few hundred feet. They can hover. Scott has modified his discs considerably. They are designed to retract into his boots when not in use. He also added magnets to let him cling to a metal wall or ceiling and toe knives to let him cut ropes or nets in flight.
- Assorted picks: An electro pick is a small tool hidden within Mr. Miracle's costume, which allows him to secretly help him escape traps he's been locked into. The electro pick gives Scott a bonus to opening locks and defeating security systems. He has several hidden pockets in his gloves and costume that hold his electro pick and he can easily hide it in his mouth. Scott has recently added a laser pick to his tool box for dealing with fiber optics equipment.
- Multi-Cube: It is a peripheral device for Mr. Miracle's Mother Box. The cube was designed by Mr. Miracle to use the transmutation power of the Mother Box to create a number of preset mechanisms in its interior. All of these functions are much easier to perform that improvised transmutation. They can be activated in combat and other stressful situations. The cube is small enough to be hidden in the palm of the hand. Mr. Miracle has hidden his in his boots and gloves as well as his utility belt. The multi-cube contains a microprocessor that is not sentient but still capable of interpreting complex commands and recording data. The multi-cube can fly under its own power and follow the mental commands of Mr. Miracle. The cube can use the transmuting power of the Mother Box to create several hundred feet of swing line that can support several hundred pounds. The cube can rewind this line and easily support 200 pounds. Besides the cable, the cube can produce a smoke screen or fire suppressing foam. The simplest use of the cube is to generate light effects. The cube can create lifelike holograms, a blinding flash or a laser capable of cutting through a quarter inch steel cable or handcuff links. In hologram mode the cube can record extended scenes around it or make a complete holographic recording it can then manipulate to simulate the subject in motion.The cube can also emit a powerful sonic beam that can spring locks or shatter a brick wall. The sound blast can a stun an unprotected human being.
Young Shilo Norman was the informal ward of escapologist Thaddeus Brown (Mister Miracle I), and he also served as an occasional stand-in. When Brown was murdered by a mobster named Steel Hand, Scott avenged his new friend's death by taking on the identity of Mister Miracle and brought Steel Hand to justice. After Brown's death, Shilo worked with Scott Free (the new Mister Miracle) and Scott's wife Barda.
A master escape artist himself, the now-adult Shilo was appointed security chief of the Slabside Island Maximum Security prison for Metahumans also known as the Slab. He held his own during the Joker's "Last Laugh" riot and was promoted to Warden of the Slab, which had by then been relocated to Antarctica. A somewhat reconceived Shilo Norman appears in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers crossover. In Final Crisis #2, Shilo tells Sonny Sumo,"There was a cosmic war and the powers of evil won", prompting him to form a team to fight the evil gods.
- A future version of Mister Miracle and Big Barda (along with their daughter), appeared in the mini-series Kingdom Come. Being an escape artist, Mister Miracle would assist Superman in creating the Gulag, an inescapable prison for meta-humans. He and Barda have a daughter, Avia, who also uses a mega-rod and wears an outfit that combines elements of those of her parents. In the Elliot S! Maggin novelization, Free is teaching the lowlies art and constantly berates Orion to inspire (unsuccessfully) individual thought (though Scott likes Orion). Scott saves his wife and Avia near the conclusion by activating a boom tube just as the nuclear weapon explodes (Avia: "How did you know?" Barda: "He always knows").
- Mister Miracle also appeared in the Elseworlds Superman: The Dark Side, in which he becomes Metron's successor and Justice League: Another Nail, in which he achieves the ultimate escape by downloading his consciousness into Barda's mother box, just before he is tortured to death by Darkseid. The Mother Box circuitry is later bonded with a Green Lantern ring, allowing Miracle to project his consciousness into an energy construct, similar to his original body.
- Scott Free made a cameo appearance in the fifth issue of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, along with the Martian Manhunter.
In other media
- Mister Miracle's first television appearance was in the animated Superman: The Animated Series episode, Apokolips...Now! Part II as a background extra when the forces of New Genesis come to Earth's aid against Darkseid's invasion attempt. (He technically appears in Part 1, as Mother Box shows High Father and Darkseid exchanging babies Orion and Mister Miracle for the truce. However, the baby is never identified in the episode as Mister Miracle.)
- A picture of him appears in the two-parted Batman Beyond episode "The Call," where he's shown on a computer screen in the Justice League Watchtower along with Big Barda.
- He also appears as a background character at the end of the Justice League episode Twilight.
- Mister Miracle made a return in the Justice League Unlimited episode The Ties That Bind (which, fittingly enough, was scripted from a story outline provided by Jim Steranko) voiced by Ioan Gruffudd while his younger self was voiced by Zack Shada. In this episode he and his associates play a prominent role, as he and Barda are forced by Granny Goodness to free Kalibak from imprisonment on Apokolips (to install him as a puppet ruler) in exchange for Oberon's life. They seek the Justice League's aid, but are refused, because the civil war raging on Apokolips at that time would only benefit Earth, but Flash joins them anyway, and they ultimately succeed in freeing Kalibak and Oberon while leaving Granny Goodness with nothing to work on.
- Mister Miracle is the teaser hero in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Last Bat on Earth!" voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. He, Big Barda, and Batman help out in a daredevil charity event. After the event, while Batman gives out autographs to fans, Barda complains about Mister Miracle not helping around the house. Batman remarks that no matter how good Mister Miracle is at escaping, he won't be able to get out of a wife's demands.
- In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse animated film, Mr. Miracle's uniform is displayed behind a secret panel that Big Barda reveals, in which she also keeps a Motherbox, which summons a boom tube to transport her, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to Apokolips in order to rescue Supergirl.
- ^Note 1 : Mark Evanier (screenwriter, Jack Kirby biographer, and Kirby's assistant during the Fourth World comics):
- Jack based some of his characters (not all) on people in his life or in the news.... Big Barda's roots are not in doubt. The visual came about shortly after songstress Lainie Kazan posed for Playboy...and the characterization between Scott 'Mr. Miracle' Free and Barda was based largely — though with tongue-in-cheek — on the interplay betwixt Jack and his wife Roz. Of course, the whole 'escape artist' theme was inspired by an earlier career of writer-artist Jim Steranko. Scott's conniving manager Funky Flashman was based on Stan Lee.
- ^ Guide to the DCU 2000 Secret Files and Origins #1. Guide to the DCU 2000 Secret Files and Origins #1. Dc comics.
- ^ Mister Miracle Special #1 at the Grand Comics Database
- ^ "The JACK F.A.Q. - Page 1". Povonline.com. http://povonline.com/jackfaq/JackFaq1.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
- ^ New Gods Secret Files and Origins. Dc comics. http://dreamers.com/dcsecretfiles/mistermiracle.htm.
- DCU Guide: Mister Miracle
- Index to the Earth-1 Fourth World stories
- Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards
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