According to Marvel’s recent Timeless one-shot – which, for all intents and purposes, appears to be setting up their own take on rival DC’s previous Doomsday Clock event – the publisher’s mainline canon will soon see yet another series of ‘massive shake-ups,’ this time including both the introduction of Miracleman to the 616 and the death of Steve Rogers.
A 56-page one shot written by Jed MacKay and featuring art from Kev Walker, Greg Land, Mark Bagley, Jay Leisten, and Andrew Hennessy, Timeless opens on Kang the Conqueror paying a visit to “one of the premier 21st century scholars on ‘super villainy,’” Dr. Anatoly Petrov, as he writes a book lauding Dr. Doom as the greatest supervillain of the era.
Hoping to prove to Dr. Petrov that he is more deserving than Doom of this particular accolade, Kang offers the doctor the opportunity to accompany him on his trials and tribulations throughout the timeline – an offer which Dr. Petrov readily accepts.
However, in the midst of their travels, Kang is suddenly alerted to a “chronal anomaly,” prompting him to warp himself and Dr. Petrov to one of his timeline observation stations to investigate.
Informed by one of the conqueror’s servants that “there is great chaos” in the timeline, Kang and Dr. Petrov are soon shown a number of events which have been brought into existence by the presence of the aforementioned anomaly – or, to readers, hints as to some of Marvel’s upcoming storylines.
These storylines range from the appearance of a new set of Young Avengers, a mysterious red-headed woman taking on the Spider-Man mantle, a new female Black Panther, and Steve Rogers’ death at the hands of someone appearing to be The Winter Soldier.
While the plans for the ‘death of Captain America’ have not been confirmed, its inclusion alongside two arcs Marvel has already confirmed as upcoming – the forging of a new Iron Fist and the changing of Punisher’s skull symbol – and one currently in progress- the return of Ben Reilly as Spider-Man – suggests the 616 will soon (and once again) see the falling of its favorite son.
Eventually, after finding and eliminating the anomaly – a power-mad Reed Richards corrupted by his desire to save his own timeline – Kang returns Dr. Petrov to his study, warning him that if he continued to “write that embarrassing hagiography of Doom, I will come back and kill you.”
Pouring a drink and left to ponder “how much of what I have seen will come to pass”, Dr. Petrov soon finds himself unable to shake one particular image he saw during his time on Kang’s observation station.
Taking a pencil to one of his books, Dr. Petrov sketches out the image, revealing it to be the symbol of a powerful, god-like being whose unlimited power will have an effect on the very fabric of reality: Dr. Manhat- sorry, Miracleman.
Created in 1953 by Mick Anglo and originally named Marvelman, Miracleman was initially conceived as a replacement for Fawcett’s Captain Marvel after the title was forcefully ended following the publisher’s losing decision in their infamous copyright infringement battle with DC Comics.
British publisher L. Miller & Son, Ltd, who had been reprinting black and white versions of Fawcett’s Captain Marvel, tapped Anglo to create Marvelman to replace the loss of Captain Marvel.
Like Billy Batson, Micky Moran was a young reporter, who after meeting an astrophyiscist, was granted the ability to transform into Marvelman by saying the word “Kitoma” – Atomic backwards. (Sound familiar?)
After Fawcett went under, the character was revived in the 1980s for British comic anthology Warrior by Watchmen scribe Alan Moore, who took the character in a much darker direction.
A continuation of the Fawcett series, Moore’s stories saw it revealed that not only was Miracleman the result of a Nazi-led military research project, but that all of his original adventures were nothing more than false memories pumped into his mind by to keep him complacent while the British government studied the project’s effect on his physiology.
Over the course of Moore’s run, Miracleman eventually fell into an outright superhuman war, which ultimately culminated in the hero and his superhuman compatriots ruling over Earth as authoritarian ‘gods.’
The character would once again be revived in 1990 by Neil Gaiman, who continued the series for Eclipse Comics.
Unfortunately, when Eclipse folded, Gaiman’s run – which explored Miracleman’s growing doubts that he did the right thing by establishing forceful superhuman rule – abruptly came to an end.
However, when Marvel solidified their rights to the character in 2013, they announced that Gaiman would return to continue his series.
Miracleman made his first official Marvel appearance in the Marvel Comics #1000 special, shown still ruling over Earth in his time and looking back on the stories of Marvel comics as fiction “remembered only by collectors and historians.”
In further comparison between Timeless and Doomsday Clock, Marvel has even taken to promoting the arrival of Miracleman with a clock motif, asking “How will Miracleman affect the future of the Marvel Universe?”
What do you make of Marvel’s upcoming storylines? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!