Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Look ahead, Ted! Let's all look ahead!"

It's more of the same formula in Mister Miracle #13, as what I'm starting to think of as the "Post-Apokoliptic" era of the series continues. Ever since the gang has come back from the big victory against Granny Goodness, each issue has seen them practice a stunt or two, then encounter an Earth-bound villain, and prevail. Come on, I'm missing the awesome cosmic clashes between unfathomable powers with Earth caught in the middle. This issue at least sees some inspired action, but it's the end that gives me today's Fourth World Panel:

Not to psychoanalyze or anything, but it seems like Kirby is getting increasing editorial interference here, trapped within restrictive formulas and forced to simplify his grand, imaginative storytelling. Much like Ted Brown there, he's hounded, penned in, and with the failure of what was supposed to be his big triumph at DC, he's feeling forgotten. But he's not going to give up; he'll put his creative energies on "automatic-drive" if he has to, and with the help of his friends (like his wife, who conventional wisdom says Barda was supposed to stand in for), he'll keep soldiering on, looking toward the future.

Or maybe I'm completely wrong here; I'll probably find out more when I get to the end of the book and read Mark Evanier's afterword, which, if the previous volumes are any indication, will be full of information about what was going on behind the scenes. In the meantime, there were some other pretty great bits in the issue, like Oberon's reaction to the initial escape that Scott does, where he gets shackled to some train tracks:

That little guy never calms down, does he? Every time, Scott gets out, but he's still there on the sidelines, freaking out and getting hysterical. I love the interactions with the other characters there, the way he's pulling on Ted's arm, and how Barda lifts him up in the air and tells him to shut up. Also, that one guy has an awesome engineer hat.

Then there's this bit of Kirby-style women's lib:

Ha ha ha, Barda never puts up with any sexist shit. She threw some junk at that one guy so hard that his head exploded. Also, she looks pretty hot fighting in a skirt.

By the way, the plot here involves Ted (the original Mister Miracle's son, now working as Scott's promoter) being kidnapped by some flying vehicle that takes him away to "the Mt. Everest area". Scott and Barda hitch a ride, and wreck shit up at the fortress, discovering that it's the lair of a Nazi war criminal named Albert Von Killowitz, who, not content with one evil name, now goes by King Komodo. This gives Kirby a chance to come up with some crazy "Eastern" Nazi designs:

Check out the Hitler moustache on that statue! Also, the swastika was actually an appropriated Eastern symbol, but whatever. So yeah, Mister Miracle fights him by avoiding some traps, then brings him down with some mind-control rays (once again, without mentioning the Anti-Life Equation), the end. Let's hope something changes next issue; we need a shakeup. I know Shilo Norman debuts in a couple issues, so maybe that will change things up interestingly.

Next: "The Quick and the Dead!"

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, about Shilo Norman…maybe you don't want to get your hopes up. I'm just saying.

    It was great what Grant Morrison did with him, though…

    Re your metatextual reading of that particular panel and the direction of Mister Miracle in general: that's pretty much the way I see it too. I don't know that he consciously intended that as an autobiographical note, but a strong case could be made it was unintentionally revealing at the very least.