What if Superman remade the world?
That’s more or less the plot of Miracleman Book 3: Olympus.
The last stories Moore wrote for the series, this volume shows him at his most poetic and his most obscene.
The tale opens with Miracleman walking through a palace.
Everything around him is huge, decadent and bizarre (various alien lifeforms move around the space in fishbowls and similar cases).
Miracleman sits at a table, takes a pen and starts writing in a book with steel pages.
“I have legends to write,” he thinks. “Tales of how it feels to live in a mythology.”
These tales pick up right where Book 2 left off. Michael Moran and his wife have had a child, a daughter.
Moran increasingly thinks that his daughter has superpowers (she said her first words right after being born, can eat solid food pretty much immediately, and seems to be messing with her mother’s mind).
Then, three visitors arrive. The first two are aliens from the species that created the tech that birthed Miracleman.
They’ve been sent to “clean up shop,” which becomes more complicated when they discover Miracleman has fathered a child.
The next visitor is Miraclewoman, someone Miracleman remembers meeting but assumed was just an illusion.
As Miracleman tries to figure this all out, something’s brewing on the horizon.
A friend-turned foe from Book 1 is getting ready to return.
When he does, millions suffer, and Michael Moran makes a critical decision: he can’t keep trying to be human. It’s time to accept his godlike status and use it.
By this point, Moore had already surprised readers in every issue. His stories about Miracleman discovering his powers, learning about his past and trying to learn to live with his superhuman side broke conventions at every turn.
Here, Moore goes even further. The story becomes highly poetic as readers watch Moran face his final battle, choose to leave his human side behind and remake the world into a utopia.
Reading about Miracleman changing to end pollution, crime and other big problems is especially interesting when you realize this story came out after Moore had written his seminal graphic novel “Watchmen.”
Both stories had godlike superheroes who end up feeling they’ve above the rest of humanity, but Moore doesn’t play them the same way at all.
In “Watchmen,” Dr. Manhattan leaves humanity to decide its own fate.
In “Miracleman,” Miracleman decides to take over humanity’s home and reshape it.
Things get downright psychedelic by the end, as Moore describes the utopia that Miracleman builds.
It’s also interesting to see how this differs from “X-Men vs. Avengers,” a story Marvel Comics released decades later.
Marvel’s story talks about many of the same ideas as it shows how a bunch of superheroes try to fix Earth, even includes some highly similar scenes.
However, X-Men vs. Avengers ultimately choose to be mainstream, to use the fight scenes and art style we expect in a typical Marvel comic.
There’s nothing typical about “Miracleman: Olympus.”
The fight scenes are gorier than anything you’ll see in any other superhero comic.
The text reads like poetry.
This is Moore at his most poetic, most obscene and most gripping.
RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
CONTENT WARNING: A graphic scene of two superheroes having sex, a vicious battle scene and various references to drugs and free love.
Article text copyright 2018 by Gabriel Connor Slater. Feel free to share and quote, but use proper attribution.