|First appearance||Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Alter ego||Scott Free|
|Place of origin||Apokolips, formerly New Genesis|
|Team affiliations||New Gods|
Justice League International
|Notable aliases||Mr Miracle|
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, 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).
Fictional character biography
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 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 an Intergang sniper 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 one of Batman's teachers, educating a young Bruce Wayne in the art of escape.
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.
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 Shiloh 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.
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 a mobster named 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.
Powers and abilities
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.
The New 52
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
- Mother Box: The Mother Box can access the energy of the Source for various effects; it can change the gravitational constant of an area, transfer energy from one place to another, sense danger, sense of life, create force fields, re-order molecular structure of matter, absorb or project powerful shock blasts, create electro-webs of atoms, control the mental state of a being, communicate telepathically with a host or other life form, manipulate the life-force of a host to sustain it past fatal injuries, teletransportation, open and close Boom Tubes, and more.
- Costume: Mister Miracle's costume is magnetically sealed and provides limited protection from damage and fire. It contains numerous hidden pockets. Each glove and boot has a pocket and the slim utility belt contains half a dozen more. A secret pocket on the upper right arm hides his Mother Box.
- Mask: Mister Miracle's mask contains circuitry for his Mother Box and a life support unit. The circuits let Scott use his Mother Box hands free. The life support system lets him survive in hostile environments.
- Gloves: The gloves have wide cuffs that hold Scott's multi-cube and assorted picks. In addition, the gloves can fire concussive blasts and generate enormous electric power, and contain a fingertip laser for fine welding or burning. His hidden circuits have the ability to create fission blasts and mini shockwaves.
- Boots: The soles of his boots contain laser-jets capable of burning almost any surface.
- Cape: Mister Miracle's cape is made of a memory fibroid from New Genesis. Scott's Mother Box can transmute the cape into a cocoon that can withstand a sizable explosion. This can only be done once. The transmutation is not permanent and destroys the cape.
- Aero Discs: Thin metal plates about a foot across. The New Gods use them for personal travel. They can reach speeds of 250 mph. Scott has modified his discs considerably for the battle. They can be attached to the forearms to use them as shields or blades.
- Multi-Cube: A peripheral device for Mister Miracle's Mother Box. The cube was designed by Mister Miracle to use the transmutation power of the Mother Box to create a number of preset mechanisms in its interior. All of these functions are much easier to perform than improvised transmutation. They can be activated in stressful situations. The cube is small enough to be hidden in the palm of the hand. The multi-cube is not sentient but is still capable of interpreting complex commands and recording data. The multi-cube can fly under its own power and follow the mental commands of Mister Miracle. The cube can use the transmuting power of the Mother Box to create several hundred feet of swing line. Besides the cable, the cube can produce a smoke screen or fire suppression foam. The simplest use of the cube is to generate light effects. The cube can create lifelike holograms, a blinding flash or a laser capable of cutting through a steel cable or handcuff links. In hologram mode the cube can record extended scenes or make a complete holographic recording. It can then manipulate the playback to simulate the subject in motion. The cube can emit a powerful sonic beam that can spring locks or shatter a brick wall. The sound blast can stun an unprotected human.
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").
Superman: The Dark Side
JLA: The Nail
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 armour 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.
In other media
- Mister Miracle made several appearances in the DCAU:
- Mister Miracle's first television appearance was in the animated Superman: The Animated Series episode, Apokolips...Now! Part II as a background extra when the forces of New Genesis come to Earth's aid against Darkseid's invasion attempt. He technically appears in Part 1, as Mother Box shows High Father and Darkseid exchanging babies Orion and Mister Miracle for the truce. The baby is never identified in the episode as Mister Miracle.
- A picture of Mister Miracle appears in the two-parted Batman Beyond episode "The Call", where he's shown on a computer screen in the Justice League Watchtower with Big Barda.
- Mister Miracle appears as a background character at the end of the Justice League episode Twilight.
- Mister Miracle made a return in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Ties That Bind" (scripted from a story outline provided by Jim Steranko), voiced by Ioan Gruffudd while his younger self was voiced by Zack Shada. In this episode he and his associates play a prominent role, as he and Barda are forced by Granny Goodness to free Kalibak from imprisonment on Apokolips (to install him as a puppet ruler) in exchange for Oberon's life. They seek the Justice League's aid, but are refused, because the civil war raging on Apokolips at that time would only benefit Earth, but Flash joins them anyway, and they ultimately succeed in freeing Kalibak and Oberon, imprisoning Kalibak on Earth and leaving Granny Goodness nothing to use.
- Mister Miracle is the teaser hero in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Last Bat on Earth!", voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. He, Big Barda, and Batman help out in a daredevil charity event. After the event, while Batman gives out autographs to fans, Barda complains about Mister Miracle not helping around the house. Batman remarks that no matter how good Mister Miracle is at escaping, he won't be able to get out of a wife's demands. Mister Miracle has several non-speaking cameo appearances in the teaser shorts leading to the two-part episode "The Siege of Starro!", in which, he appears first as one of the heroes possessed by Starro and later among the battle-worn heroes that have broken free of Starro's mind control.
- Mister Miracle appears in the Justice League Action episode "It'll Take a Miracle", voiced by Roger Craig Smith. His history with being Darkseid's adopted son and being Big Barda's boyfriend are intact with this series. When Mister Miracle steals the Anti-Life Equation from Darkseid, Big Barda's life is threatened in order for Batman to get it back from Mister Miracle despite the competition from Granny Goodness, Bernadeth, and Lashina. Thanks to a plan by Batman and Mister Miracle, they free Big Barda and fool Darkseid into thinking he has the Anti-Life Equation.
- Mister Miracle makes a minor appearance in the Harley Quinn episode "Inner (Para) Demons", voiced by Andy Daly. He is shown performing a magic trick at the Iceberg Lounge, only to be severely injured by Harley Quinn after she stole a Mother Box he had in his possession.
Thaddeus Brown is mentioned in The Flash episode "Gone Rogue" by Sherloque Wells as one of his mentors from Earth-51. His name is later shown on a map of the Multiverse created by Jay Garrick in the episode "A Flash of the Lightning".
- In the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse animated film, Mister Miracle's uniform is displayed behind a secret panel that Big Barda reveals, in which she keeps a Mother box, which summons a boom tube to transport her, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to Apokolips to rescue Supergirl.
- An alternative universe version of Mister Miracle appears in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, in a non-speaking role. In Bekka's flashback, he was part of the New Genesis mission to murder the royalty of Apokolips.
- Director Ava DuVernay and comic writer Tom King were collaborating on a New Gods movie, which would feature Mister Miracle and Big Barda, but the project was cancelled in April 2021.
- Mister Miracle appears in the online video game DC Universe Online in the DLC trilogy 'Halls of Power.' In the trilogy, Mister Miracle and Big Barda lead the new heroes (players) to the Necropolis to find artifacts from the Old Gods before Darkseid finds them.
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, a statue of Mister Miracle appears outside the Hall of Justice stage.
- Mister Miracle appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced again by Roger Craig Smith.
- Jack Kirby's Mister Miracle: Super Escape Artist collects Mr Miracle #1–10, 256 pages, September 1998, ISBN 978-1563894572
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World: Featuring Mister Miracle collects Mr Miracle #11–18, 187 pages, July 2001, ISBN 978-1563897238
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus
- Volume 1 collects Forever People #1–3, Mister Miracle #1–3, The New Gods #1–3, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133–139, 396 pages, May 2007, ISBN 978-1401213442 (hardcover); December 2011, ISBN 978-1401232412 (paperback)
- Volume 2 collects Forever People #4–6, Mister Miracle #4–6, The New Gods #4–6, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #141–145, 396 pages, August 2007, ISBN 978-1401213572 (hardcover); April 2012, ISBN 978-1401234409 (paperback)
- Volume 3 collects Forever People #7–10, Mister Miracle #7–9, The New Gods #7–10, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #146–148, 396 pages, November 2007, ISBN 978-1401214852 (hardcover); August 2012, ISBN 978-1401235352 (paperback)
- Volume 4 collects Forever People #11; Mister Miracle #10–18; The New Gods #11; "Even Gods Must Die" from The New Gods vol. 2 #6; DC Graphic Novel #4: "The Hunger Dogs"; "On the Road to Armagetto!" (previously unpublished), 424 pages, March 2008, ISBN 978-1401215835 (hardcover); December 2012, ISBN 978-1401237462 (paperback)
- Mister Miracle by Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber collects Mister Miracle #19–25, 216 pages, March 2020, ISBN 978-1779500793
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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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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- Mister Miracle at the Grand Comics Database
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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.
- McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 147: "Mister Miracle battled supervillain Doctor Bedlam with the aid of a voluptuous figure from his past."
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- *McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "Writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers, having garnered acclaim for Detective Comics, picked up Mister Miracle where the series had ended three years before."
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- Mister Miracle Special at the Grand Comics Database
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- Mister Miracle vol. 3 at the Grand Comics Database
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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.
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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).