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Mister Miracle #15
posted February 5, 2013
Jack Kirby, Mike Royer
DC Comics, comic book, 36 pages, September 1973, 20 cents.
This is the first appearance of eventual Mister Miracle Shilo Norman, someone way down the list of Jack Kirby's great characters whose creation would have distinguished the entire career of many lesser mainstream comic-book makers. Norman's an angry young man, 1970s version. He evinces a distrust of authority, he has a connection to a crime involving a family member, and he is possessed of a knowledge of the martial arts. Scott Free and Big Barda take him in, protect him against the testimony-thwarting violent overtures of Mister Fez, and then follow Norman to Fez where a physical confrontation unfolds that ends in their favor. It's very old-fashioned comics, both comforting and alarming showing up in a Jack Kirby book of this period. The comforts are obvious -- this is a comic book plot that works for its simplicity and that it allows the characters to be in conflict for the majority of the story without anyone (other than Mister Fez) being a bad guy. It also exposes this segment of Kirby's comics-making career as slightly off-kilter, like an episode of a formally daring TV show that attempts to re-set things and attract a wider audience. It feels like a surrender as much as a retrenching. The art, even dealing with minor plot developments and second-rate baddies such as these, crackles with good-natured energy, and it's easy to give yourself over and be swept along. It does feel like the first step towards the series' ending, though, and the first creeping in of a chill that signals the end of this entire phase of Kirby's career. Suddenly, there was no escape.