It opens in 1956.
Johnny Bates, aka Kid Miracleman, witnesses the arrival of the future Kommandant Garrer of the Science Gestapo and his Atomic Storm Troopers! They come from the improbable future of 1981!
Johnny Bates says his power word, "Miracleman!" and turns into Kid Miracleman, along with Dicky Dauntless who becomes Young Miracleman. Miky Moran says his keyword, "Kimota!" and becomes MIRACLEMAN!
And the trio fight and defeat the science gestapo! And then they sit around and laugh, hahahahaha!
Then it all freezes on the trio smiling.
"Behold", the panels, one by one, move closer into Miracleman's smiling, twinkling face "I teach you the superman:" closer into his eye "He is this lightning..." his eye "He is this madness!" The panel is his pupil.
That's page 11. The first time I read it, I nearly shat my pants. It's really ominous.
It's 1982. Mike Moran is having horrible dreams. He's flying, dressed like Miracleman, and something happens. An explosion? He wakes up and does his job, he's a reporter. He goes to report on an anti-nuclear power plant march at a power plant. People with machine guns show up and hold the place hostage.
Mike Moran remembers his keyword, "Kimota" and becomes Miracleman. He remembers. He tells his wife his origin, how the Astro-Physicist Guntag Borghelm gave him superpowers. His wife tells him it's a "bloody stupid" story.
Trying to make sense of things, he meets up with Johnny Bates who tells him they used to be the Miracle family. Johnny lost his powers and built himself a huge financial empire. But Johnny is harbouring a terrible secret...
The series is the most powerful superhero story I've read. You will never read a comic where the superheroes feel like Gods - terrifying yet beautiful.
The story marvellously twists and turns as we are gradually revealed the absolutely brilliant origin of Miracleman, and it ends in such a way, that you will realise everyone has been copying this thing for over 20 years.
The simple concepts - the power word, the bizarre villains, alien races - are taken to such levels of completion that they seem more believable and consistent than characters who have been written on a weekly basis for 40 years.
I don't want to spoil it for you too much. But #2, when Miracleman goes up against a villain of greater might, is terrifying as we really experience the power these characters possess. And #15 is so horrifically violent, it has yet to be topped. It nearly puts Ultimates vs Hulk to shame.
But for me, my personal favourite issue, is #16. The last page in particular, to me, is simply beautiful and transcendental. When I finished the issue, I just sat there, maybe 20 minutes, who knows, breathing it in.
It is honestly, my favourite comic work Alan Moore has ever done. Perhaps my favourite comic work I've ever read.
But then, maybe it's just me. It's not brilliant all the way through. The art isn't always good (though it starts off with a fantastic artist). Some points are kind of dull. But #16 is such a perfect ending... I can't help but love it.
Some people will no doubt find it dated.
For me, anything put next to it dates, and this remains eternal.
I cannot recommend it enough.
If only for Miracleman's origin. It's brilliant.