Mister Miracle

For Shilo Norman, see Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman).
Mister Miracle

Mister Miracle
Art by Jack Kirby.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Mister Miracle # 1
(April 1971)
Created by Jack Kirby (writer and artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Scott Free
Species New Gods
Place of origin New Genesis
Team affiliations Justice League
  • New God Physiology including agelessness
  • Super Escape Artist
  • Genius Inventor
  • Master Fighter
  • Indomitable Will
  • Knowledge of the Anti-life Equation
  • The Alpha Effect
  • Possesses advanced technology such as; Motherbox, Aero Discs and Multi-cube

Mister Miracle (Scott Free) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971) and was created by Jack Kirby.[1]

Publication history

Mister Miracle debuted in the first issue of the eponymous series cover dated April 1971[2][3] as part of the Fourth World tetralogy.[4] Big Barda, the character's love interest, was introduced in Mister Miracle #4 (October 1971).[5] 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."[6] Evanier did unofficially co-plot most issues of the series.[6]

The original title featuring this character was the longest-lasting of the Fourth World titles, lasting 18 issues[3] 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.[7] The title was revived in September 1977 by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers.[8] Steve Gerber[9] and Michael Golden produced three issues ending with #25 (September 1978)[3] with several story lines unresolved.[10] Mister Miracle teamed with Superman in DC Comics Presents #12 (August 1979)[11] and met the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America in Justice League of America #183–185 (October–December 1980).[12]

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.[13] This special was followed by an ongoing series that began in January 1989, written by J. M. DeMatteis and drawn by Ian Gibson.[14] 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 setting up a charitable foundation in New York. This ran for seven issues,[15] 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, Mr. Miracle was revived as a four-issue miniseries. This miniseries focused instead on Scott's sidekick and apprentice Shiloh Norman, who Morrison established as the new Mr. Miracle.

Fictional character biography

Mister Miracle was one of four series in Kirby's ambitious but short-lived Fourth World saga. The character was inspired by the early illusionist career of comic book artist Jim Steranko, while the character's relationship with Big Barda is based on Kirby's relationship with his own wife.[16]

Thaddeus Brown

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 mentored Scott Free. After Brown's murder, Scott Free took up the Mister Miracle name and hired his assistant Oberon.

Scott Free

Cover to Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971), art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

Scott Free is the son of Izaya (Highfather), the ruler of New Genesis, and his wife named Avia. As part of a diplomatic move to stop a destructive war against the planet Apokolips, Highfather agreed to an exchange of heirs with the galactic tyrant Darkseid; the exchange of heirs guaranteed that neither side would attack the other. Scott traded places with Darkseid's second-born son Orion.[17]

Scott grew up in one of Granny Goodness' "Terror Orphanages" with no knowledge of his own heritage. As he matured, Scott rebelled against the totalitarian ideology of Apokolips. Hating himself for being unable to fit in, he 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 rebel Himon,[18] a New Genesian living as a "Hunger Dog" on Apokolips. It was at these meetings that he met fellow pupil Big Barda, who would later become his wife.[19]

Eventually, Scott Free escaped and fled to Earth. His escape, long anticipated and planned for by Darkseid, nullified the pact between Darkseid and Highfather and gave Darkseid the excuse he needed to revive the war with New Genesis. Once on Earth, he became the protégé of a 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, Scott Free assumed the identity of Mister Miracle.[20] Barda later followed Scott to Earth, and the two used their 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 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, Scott 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 The New 52, Mister Miracle appears alongside Big Barda flying around the ruins of Gotham City on Earth 2.[21] Their purpose is revealed to find the mysterious new Batman, which is thwarted when both are attacked by Fury.[22]

Shilo Norman

Shilo Norman, Mister Miracle #1
Art by Pasqual Ferry

Young Shilo Norman was the informal ward of escapologist Thaddeus Brown (Mister Miracle I), and he served as an occasional stand-in. When Brown was murdered by a mobster named Steel Hand, Scott 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 Free (the new Mister Miracle) and Scott's 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.[23] 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.

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, Scott Free has tremendous resistance to physical injury and psychic influence, and is capable of extremely rapid recovery.

Scott Free 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 technology of Fourth World. Scott Free is a genius inventor who has designed most of the equipment in his costume, including his mother box.

He was trained by Granny Goodness as an aero-trooper. Although he despises violence and is often portrayed as a pacifist, he is a master fighter and skilled with weapons. Also Scott 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. In the past, Scott used these powers for various purposes. He was able to increase all his physical capabilities, resuscitate the dead (such as Big Barda and other New Gods), shoot energy blasts, fly, and manipulate and absorb vital energy. Darkseid mentions that these powers can reach almost unlimited levels.

Scott possesses greater power as the embodiment of the Anti-Life Equation, which allows him to warp reality on a cosmic level. The ability is fueled by rage and negative emotions which Scott himself usually doesn't have. The Anti-Life Equation can give any being the power to dominate the will of all sentient and sapient races.


Other versions

Kingdom Come

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

Mister Miracle appeared in the Elseworlds Superman: The Dark Side, in which he becomes Metron's successor and Justice League: Another Nail, in which he achieves the ultimate escape by downloading his consciousness into Barda's mother box, just before he is tortured to death by Darkseid. 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.

In other media



Video games

Collected editions


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.[33]

See also


  1. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. 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.
  2. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 145: "In Kirby's final 'Fourth World' series, Mister Miracle, Scott Free was already on Earth, having fled Apokollips and the cruel orphanage that raised him."
  3. 1 2 3 Mister Miracle at the Grand Comics Database
  4. Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Bronze Age 1970-1984". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Cologne, Germany: Taschen. p. 447. ISBN 9783836519816. 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.
  5. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 147: "Mister Miracle battled supervillain Doctor Bedlam with the aid of a voluptuous figure from his past."
  6. 1 2 Kraft, David Anthony; Slifer, Roger (April 1983). "Mark Evanier". Comics Interview (2). Fictioneer Books. pp. 23–34.
    • Haney, Bob (w), Aparo, Jim (p), Aparo, Jim (i). "The Impossible Escape" The Brave and the Bold 112 (April–May 1974)
    • Haney, Bob (w), Aparo, Jim (p), Aparo, Jim (i). "Death by the Ounce" The Brave and the Bold 128 (July 1976)
    • Haney, Bob (w), Aparo, Jim (p), Aparo, Jim (i). "Mile High Tombstone" The Brave and the Bold 138 (November 1977)
    • 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."
    • Englehart, Steve (n.d.). "Mister Miracle 19-22". SteveEnglehart.com. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013.
  7. Kingman, Jim (December 2008). "The Miracle Messiah: Steve Gerber's Short-Lived Take on Mister Miracle". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (31): 57–59.
  8. Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2007). Modern Masters Volume 12: Michael Golden. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 13–16. ISBN 978-1893905740.
  9. Englehart, Steve (w), Buckler, Rich (p), Giordano, Dick (i). "Winner Take Metropolis" DC Comics Presents 12 (August 1979)
    • Conway, Gerry (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Crisis on New Genesis or "Where Have All the New Gods Gone?"" Justice League of America 183 (October 1980)
    • Conway, Gerry (w), Pérez, George (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). ""Crisis Between Two Earths" or Apokolips Now!" Justice League of America 184 (November 1980)
    • Conway, Gerry (w), Pérez, George]] (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Crisis on Apokolips or Darkseid Rising!" Justice League of America 185 (December 1980)
  10. Mister Miracle Special at the Grand Comics Database
  11. Mister Miracle vol. 2 at the Grand Comics Database
  12. Mister Miracle vol. 3 at the Grand Comics Database
    • Evanier, Mark (2008). Kirby: King of Comics. New York, New York: Abrams Books. p. 177. ISBN 978-0810994478.
    • Evanier, Mark (n.d.). "The Jack F.A.Q.". News From ME. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. 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.
  13. Kirby, Jack (w), Kirby, Jack (p), Royer, Mike (i). "The Pact!" New Gods 7 (February–March 1972)
  14. Kirby, Jack (w), Kirby, Jack (p), Royer, Mike (i). "Himon!" Mister Miracle 9 (July–August 1972)
  15. Kirby, Jack (w), Kirby, Jack (p), Royer, Mike (i). "Wild, Wild Wedding Guests!" Mister Miracle 18 (February–March 1974)
  16. Markstein, Don (2008). "Mister Miracle". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014.
  17. Robinson, James (w), Scott, Nicola (p), Scott, Trevor (i). "The Tower of Fate Part 2: The Man Who Was Brave" Earth 2 11 (June 2013)
  18. Robinson, James (w), Fernandez Urbano, Carlos Alberto; Gopez, Julius (p), Fernandez Urbano, Carlos Alberto; Smith, Cam (i). "Secrets and Origins" Earth 2 Annual 1 (July 2013)
  19. Seven Soldiers: Mr. Miracle at the Grand Comics Database
  20. "Jack Kirby's Mr. Miracle". DC Comics. June 27, 2001. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012.
  21. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 1". DC Comics. June 13, 2007. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014.
  22. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 1 tpb". DC Comics. December 7, 2011. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  23. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 2". DC Comics. September 5, 2007. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014.
  24. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 2 tpb". DC Comics. April 4, 2012. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012.
  25. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 3". DC Comics. November 21, 2007. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  26. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 3 tpb". DC Comics. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  27. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4". DC Comics. March 26, 2008. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  28. "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4 tpb". DC Comics. December 4, 2012. Archived from the original on December 7, 2012.
  29. "1971 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
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