|First appearance||Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Alter ego||Scott Free|
|Place of origin||Apokolips, formerly New Genesis|
|Notable aliases||Mr Miracle|
Mister Miracle is the name of three fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.
The Scott Free version of Mister Miracle first appeared in Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971) and was created by Jack Kirby.
Mister Miracle debuted in the first issue of the eponymous series cover dated April 1971 as part of the Fourth World tetralogy. Big Barda, the character's love interest, was introduced in Mister Miracle #4 (October 1971). According to creator Jack Kirby's then-assistant Mark Evanier, Kirby wanted to be a comics creator and creative supervisor at DC Comics, rather than a regular writer-artist: "... we were going to turn Mr. Miracle over to Steve Ditko after a couple of issues and have me write it and Ditko draw it. Carmine Infantino, publisher of DC at the time, vetoed that and said Kirby had to do it all himself." Evanier did unofficially co-plot most issues of the series.
The original title featuring this character was the longest-lasting of the Fourth World titles, lasting 18 issues while the other titles, New Gods and The Forever People, were cancelled after only 11 issues. The most traditionally super-heroesque comic of the various Fourth World titles, the last seven issues as well as later incarnations of the series would downplay the Fourth World mythology in favor of more traditional superhero fare. The character teamed up with Batman three times in The Brave and the Bold. The title was revived in September 1977 by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. Steve Gerber and Michael Golden produced three issues ending with #25 (September 1978) with several story lines unresolved. Mister Miracle teamed with Superman in DC Comics Presents #12 (August 1979) and met the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America in Justice League of America #183–185 (October–December 1980).
When the character was revived as part of the Justice League International lineup in 1987, a one-shot special by writer Mark Evanier and artist Steve Rude was published in 1987. This special was followed by an ongoing series that began in January 1989, written by J. M. DeMatteis and drawn by Ian Gibson. Other writers who contributed to the title include Keith Giffen, Len Wein, and Doug Moench. This run lasted 28 issues before cancellation in 1991. The series was largely humor-driven, per Giffen's reimagining Scott Free, his wife Big Barda, and their friend Oberon, who pretended to be Scott's uncle, as living in suburbia when they were not fighting evil with the Justice League.
In 1996, a series written by Kevin Dooley showed Scott attempting to escape his destiny as a New God by working for a charitable foundation in New York. This ran for seven issues, before all Fourth World titles were canceled for the launch of Jack Kirby's Fourth World.
In addition, Scott's ally and wife Big Barda was made a member of the revived Justice League and appeared regularly in the Jack Kirby's Fourth World series by John Byrne.
With the launching of Grant Morrison's meta-series Seven Soldiers (2005–2006), Mister Miracle was revived as a four-issue miniseries. This miniseries focused instead on Scott's sidekick and apprentice Shilo Norman, who died.
In 2017, the character returned in a 12 issue limited series written by Tom King (Batman, The Omega Men: The End is Here, The Vision, The Sheriff of Babylon) and illustrated by Mitch Gerads (Batman, Sheriff of Babylon).
From July 2021 to January 2022, Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom was published as a six issue miniseries starring Shilo Norman as Mister Miracle. The series was written by Brandon Easton and drawn by Fico Ossio.
Mister Miracle was one of four DC Comics series in Kirby's ambitious, but short-lived, Fourth World saga. Mister Miracle, Super Escape Artist was inspired by comic book writer/artist Jim Steranko. Mister Miracle's relationship with his wife Big Barda is based on Kirby's relationship with his own wife Roz.
Thaddeus Brown was a circus escape artist whose stage name was Mister Miracle. As the first escape artist to use the name Mister Miracle, Brown earned a modest living and practiced his art into his later years. Brown met Scott Free as he was practicing an outdoor escape with his long-time friend and assistant Oberon. Scott then aided Brown as he was being coerced by Intergang thugs working for Intergang member Steel Hand by fighting them off. Unbeknownst to Scott, Intergang was actually an Earth crime organization run by Darkseid. Brown then told Scott that he was being harassed by the local Intergang Capo known as Steel Hand. Brown and Steel Hand had been in a hospital together and made a bet that Brown couldn't escape death. While practicing an escape of being tied to a tree with a projectile speeding toward him, Brown was shot by a sniper working for Steel Hand while Scott and Oberon stood by helplessly. After Brown's murder, Scott put on Brown's costume and exacted his revenge on Steel Hand by bringing him down. Scott Free took up the Mister Miracle name and hired his assistant Oberon. Scott and Oberon, later joined by Big Barda, toured the country as the Mister Miracle Super Escape Artist show.
Thaddeus was later revealed to have a son named Ted.
In 2016, DC Comics implemented another relaunch of its books called "DC Rebirth" which restored its continuity to a form much as it was prior to "The New 52". Thaddeus was one of Batman's teachers, educating a young Bruce Wayne in the art of escape.
At the end of the "Flashpoint Beyond" limited series, Thaddeus Brown was among the Thirteen in the custody of the Time Masters. The capsules containing Thaddeus and those with him were found to have failed and they were pulled back to the 1940s where history is rebuilding around them.
During "The New Golden Age", Thaddeus Brown' bio revealed that his history of being shot by a sniper working for Steel Hand remains intact, though it is claimed that Ted and a few people might know that Thaddeus faked his death. Mister Miracle was revealed to have been part of a group called the Justice Society Dark. In 1941, Doctor Fate and Salem the Witch Girl came across Mister Miracle fighting Solomon Grundy while Zatara and Diamond Jack were having a spat. After Solomon Grundy was chained up, Mister Miracle suggested to Doctor Fate and Salem the Witch Girl that they should go apprehend Bride of Grundy.
Scott Free is the son of Izaya Highfather, the ruler of New Genesis, and his wife, Avia. As part of a diplomatic move to stop a destructive, techno-cosmic war against the planet Apokolips, Highfather agreed to an exchange of heirs with the galactic tyrant Darkseid. The exchange of heirs as hostages was supposed to guarantee that neither side would attack the other. Scott was traded for Darkseid's second-born son Orion.
Scott grew up in one of Granny Goodness' "Terror Orphanages" with no knowledge of his own heritage, but still refused to allow his spirit to break under the ever-present torturous training of the institution. As he matured, Scott rebelled against the totalitarian ideology of Apokolips. Hating himself for being unable to fit in despite his unfailing defiance of the abuse he suffered, Scott was influenced by Metron to see a future beyond Darkseid. Scott became part of a small band of pupils who were tutored in secret by the Apokolips Resistance leader Himon, a New Genesian living under cover as a Hunger Dog on Apokolips. It was at these meetings that Scott met Lieutenant Big Barda of Darkseid's Female Furies who would later become his wife.
Eventually, Free escaped and fled to Earth. His escape, long anticipated and planned for by Darkseid, nullified the pact between Darkseid and Highfather; giving Darkseid the excuse he needed to revive the war with New Genesis. Once on Earth, Free met circus escape artist Thaddeus Brown, whose stage name was Mister Miracle. Brown was impressed with Scott's skills (especially as supplemented with various advanced devices he had taken from his previous home). Scott befriended Brown's assistant, a dwarf named Oberon. When Thaddeus Brown was murdered, Free assumed the identity of Mister Miracle. Barda later followed Scott to Earth and the two used their New Gods powers, equipment and skills in the war against Darkseid, who was still interested in recapturing both of them. Eventually, tired of being chased on Earth by Darkseid's servants, Scott returned to Apokolips and won his freedom by legal means, through trial by combat.
Scott later met Brown's son Ted.
Free later became a member of the Justice League International as did Barda and Oberon, which recast him and Big Barda as semi-retired super-heroes that sought to live quiet lives in the suburbs when they were not involved in Justice League-related adventures. In particular, Free was recast as a hen-pecked husband, who often found himself on the receiving end of his wife's temper over her desire to live a quiet life on Earth.
During his time in the League, Scott developed an intense rivalry with Justice League villain Manga Khan. The villainous intergalactic trader and black marketer repeatedly kidnapped Scott, ultimately convincing Scott's conniving former manager Funky Flashman into forging documents forcing Scott to work for Manga as his personal entertainer. To force him to go along willingly, Khan replaced Scott with a lifelike robot who was ultimately murdered by Despero during his first mission with the Justice League. Scott ultimately escaped from Manga Khan's clutches and reunited with his wife and friends, though the shock was enough to cause Scott to ultimately quit the League and to take on a protégé in the form of Shilo Norman.
In the conclusion of Final Crisis, many of the New Gods are all seemingly reborn. Among their numbers are the apparently resurrected Mister Miracle and Barda.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Mister Miracle appears alongside Big Barda flying around the ruins of Gotham City on Earth 2. Their purpose is revealed to find the mysterious new Batman, which is thwarted when both are attacked by Fury.
Main article: Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman)
Abandoned by his mother when he was only an infant, Shilo Norman's desire to escape was fostered in an abusive orphanage.
He eventually ran away and ended up on the streets near the informal ward of escapologist Thaddeus Brown (the original Mister Miracle), and he served as an occasional stand-in. When Brown was murdered by Intergang mobster Steel Hand, Scott Free avenged his new friend's death by taking on the identity of Mister Miracle and brought Steel Hand to justice. After Brown's death, Shilo worked with Scott and his wife Barda. A master escape artist himself, the now-adult Shilo was appointed security chief of the Slabside Island Maximum Security prison for Metahumans known as the Slab. He held his own during the Joker's "Last Laugh" riot and was promoted to Warden of the Slab, which had by then been relocated to Antarctica. A somewhat reconceived Shilo Norman appears in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers crossover. In Final Crisis #2, Shilo tells Sonny Sumo "There was a cosmic war and the powers of evil won", prompting him to form a team to fight the evil gods. Shilo was later summoned by Nix Uotan to fight against Mandrakk the Dark Monitor.
Shilo would later appear as Mister Miracle alongside his other Seven Soldiers team mates in the Grant Morrison and Dan Didio written Sideways.
Shilo Norman's Mister Miracle also appears in Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom, a six-issue miniseries spinning out of the events of DC Future State and tying into Infinite Frontier.
Like all the New Gods, Scott Free is functionally immortal; having stopped aging around the age of 30, he has developed an immunity to toxins and diseases. Scott has superhuman strength, agility, speed, coordination and reflexes, along with incredible stamina. Due to his exhausting and rigorous life on Apokolips, his body has tremendous resistance to the extreme temperatures, physical injury, psychic influence and he is capable of extremely rapid recovery.
Scott has a genius-level intellect and is knowledgeable about much of the universe. During his life on Apokolips, he was instructed by Himon in the science and use of advanced Fourth World's technology. He is a genius inventor who has designed most of the equipment in his costume, including his Mother Box.
Scott was trained by Granny Goodness as an Aero-trooper. Although he despises violence and is often portrayed as a pacifist, he is still an exceptional warrior, instructed in all combat techniques of Apokolips and very skilled with weapons. On one occasion, he was able to beat Big Barda. Also, he is a master escapologist and acrobat. He is considered better at escapes than Batman, and much of his skill is the result of his advanced physiology.
Scott Free is heir of the Alpha Effect, the antithesis of Darkseid's Omega Energy. This power was almost unlimited and allowed him to manipulate energy of many ways; for example, he was able to knockout "The Asgardian God Thor", draining his vital power. Also, Mister Miracle used his godlike powers to resurrect his wife and battle against Steppenwolf and Kalibak, temporarily stopping the war between New Genesis and Apokolips. Later, Scott relinquished his heritage.
Scott possesses greater power as the embodiment of the Anti-Life Equation. The ability is fueled by rage and negative emotions. The Anti-Life Equation can give any being the power to dominate the will of all sentient and sapient races and alter the reality, space, time, matter and anti-matter at the cosmic level. Mister Miracle proved to be powerful enough to fight Superman and Orion together.
In The New 52 rebooted DC continuity, Mister Miracle retains the status of a New God and has been reborn more powerful than before. Mister Miracle is able to lift at least 50 tons. He is shown to have a high level of invulnerability; enduring space's rigors, surviving the explosion of three "Boom Spheres", resisting attacks of powerful beings such as Darkseid. His combined reflexes, speed and agility make him able to dodge almost any attack, even from two Apokalitian assassins, as he did with Lashina and Kanto. In addition, Mister Miracle has a limited healing factor and a great variety of mental tricks that allow him to break free of psychic influence. Mister Miracle is still a super escape artist and an expert combatant, successfully defeating Fury, Wonder Woman's daughter
A future version of Mister Miracle and Big Barda along with their daughter, appeared in the mini-series Kingdom Come. Being an escape artist, Mister Miracle would assist Superman in creating the Gulag, an inescapable prison for meta-humans. He and Barda have a daughter, Avia, who uses a mega-rod and wears an outfit that combines elements of those of her parents. In the Elliot S! Maggin novelization, Free is teaching the lowlies art and constantly berates Orion to inspire (unsuccessfully) individual thought (though Scott likes Orion). Scott saves his wife and Avia near the conclusion by activating a boom tube just as the nuclear weapon explodes (Avia: "How did you know?" Barda: "He always knows").
Mister Miracle appeared in the Elseworlds book Superman: The Dark Side, in which he becomes Metron's successor.
In the Elseworlds series JLA: The Nail, Mister Miracle and Barda are shown being captured on Apokolips as they were on an undercover mission to rescue friends from Granny Goodness' orphanage, which, coupled with a mysterious force field that has just appeared around Earth, prompts Darkseid to conclude that New Genesis intend to escalate their conflict into open war. In the sequel, JLA: Another Nail, while being tortured by Desaad, Scott achieves the ultimate escape by downloading his consciousness into Barda's Mother Box, just before he is tortured to death, reasoning that he has escaped the trap of his body. The Mother Box circuitry is later bonded with a Green Lantern ring, allowing Miracle to project his consciousness into an energy construct, similar to his original body, although he will 'default' to essentially living in Barda's armor if the ring's charge becomes too weak.
In The Sandman #5, Scott Free dreams of his imprisonment on and attempted escape from Apokolips. Meanwhile, Dream is following a lead that takes him to the JLI embassy in the United States - when Scott wakes, Dream is standing over him. With the help of the Martian Manhunter, Scott Free aids Dream in his search for his lost ruby.
The Mister Miracle series plus Forever People, New Gods, and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen earned Jack Kirby the 1971 Shazam Award for Special Achievement by an Individual in the comic industry.
The Mister Miracle series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads won the 2019 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.
As the writer, artist, and editor of the Fourth World family of interlocking titles, each of which possessed its own distinct tone and theme, Jack Kirby cemented his legacy as a pioneer of grand-scale storytelling.
Kirby began introducing new elements to the DC Universe, building toward the introduction of a trio of new titles based on a complex mythology he called the Fourth World.
Jack based some of his characters (not all) on people in his life or in the news…though often, the connection would be lost as the character evolved. That is to say, once the story was done, only Jack would be able to see any trace of the model…and sometimes, even he would lose track of how a character came about. Nevertheless, Big Barda's roots are not in doubt. The visual came about shortly after songstress Lainie Kazan posed for Playboy…and the characterization between Scott "Mr. Miracle" Free and Barda was based largely — though with tongue in cheek — on the interplay betwixt Jack and his wife Roz. Of course, the whole "escape artist" theme was inspired by an earlier career of writer-artist Jim Steranko.
The top winners at the 3lst Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, held during Comic-Con on July 19 at the Bayfront San Diego Hilton, were the DC Comics series Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (Best Limited Series, Best Writer, Best Penciller/Inker).