How do you follow up on a classic?
That’s essentially the problem Neil Gaiman faced when Alan Moore suggested he replace him as the writer for “Miracleman” in 1990.
By that point, “Miracleman” had won a slew of awards and Moore had achieved considerable fame for his graphic novel “Watchmen.”
On top of that, Moore told Gaiman the following when he offered him the job : “Now, I should warn you by the end of Miracleman #16, I will have solved all crimes, ended all war and created an absolutely perfect world in which no further stories can occur. Do you want to back out now? Please feel free.”
If that wasn’t enough, Gaiman felt at the time that he wasn't sure he could write about superheroes.
As it turns out, Gaiman’s Miracleman stories are almost nothing like Moore’s stories.
And yet that works.
A group of regular people make a pilgrimage into Miracleman’s fortress, each asking him for something they desperately want.
A young man who met Miracleman when he was young reminisces about that experience and where he was when Miracleman fought the climactic battle in London (mentioned in Book 3).
A windmill operator recounts an affair he had with Miraclewoman.
Various people think about how their lives have changed in bizarre ways in the new society.
In the artificial underworld that one of Miracleman’s colleagues built, an Andy Warhol android meets a resurrected version of Miracleman’s greatest foe.
You see hints of what Gaiman would accomplish in later years. The stories featuring children show his ability to capture the cuteness and spitefulness children can have, something he would explore more in “Coraline” and “the Graveyard Book.”
One of these stories even has a section formatted like a children’s book.
He also does a great job of exploring how superheroes ruling the world would change things.
In the process Gaiman does exactly what Moore did in Miracleman Book 3: he explores parts of the superhero story no one had explored before, breaking new territory and discovering new things.
All in all, this collection is very different from the previous Miracleman volumes.
But in its own way, these tales are every bit as profound and creative.
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
CONTENT WARNING: Several sex scenes and some battle gore.
Article text copyright 2018 by Gabriel Connor Salter. Feel free to share and quote this article, but use proper attribution when you do so.