I like ‘Miracleman’. I like ‘Uber’. So this article delves into the thematic and narrative parallels between Alan Moore’s “Miracleman” and Kieron Gillen’s “Uber.” Exploring how both comics redefine superhero conventions through their dark, realistic portrayal of superhuman powers, the article highlights the influence of Moore on Gillen’s work and the shared focus on the catastrophic consequences of such powers in society.
In the world of comics, few works have dared to tread as deeply into the dark and complex waters of superhuman power as Alan Moore’s “Miracleman” and Kieron Gillen’s “Uber.” These two series, though distinct in setting and style, converge on a critical path: the exploration of the immense and often terrifying implications of god-like powers in a realistic world. This article examines the thematic resonance between these two groundbreaking works, dissecting how they each challenge and transform the superhero genre.
Observing Thematic Parallels
Reading “Miracleman” and “Uber,” I noted thematic similarities, particularly in their treatment of superhuman powers. This observation was substantiated upon reading Kieron Gillen’s commentary in “Uber Invasion 2.” Gillen’s reflections on “Uber” as an alternate WWII narrative with a focus on the weaponization of superhumans and the ethical ramifications of such actions mirrored the complex themes in “Miracleman.” His approach, emphasizing the human and inhuman elements within the backdrop of war, aligned with the thematic depth found in Moore’s work. I thought this might be interesting to explore here.
The Relationship between Miracleman and Uber
“Miracleman” by Alan Moore and “Uber” by Kieron Gillen share some thematic similarities, especially in their approach to superhuman powers and their impact on society. Both comics deconstruct traditional superhero narratives, focusing instead on the potentially catastrophic consequences of superhuman abilities. They explore themes of power, responsibility, and the moral complexities involved when individuals possess god-like powers.
“Miracleman” is known for its radical reimagining of a superhero world, delving into psychological and societal implications. One of its most notable aspects is the extreme destruction unleashed by superhuman conflict, as seen in the devastation of London.
“Uber,” meanwhile, presents an alternate World War II history where the Nazis create superhuman soldiers, leading to horrific warfare and immense destruction. This series explores the weaponization of superhumans in a historical context, emphasizing the brutal and inhuman aspects of war amplified by these powerful beings.
Both comics thus challenge the more sanitized, traditional depictions of superheroes, opting for a more realistic, often darker view of what the existence of superhumans would mean for the world. While “Miracleman” approaches this through a more individual psychological lens, “Uber” does so through the lens of historical and military strategy.
Bridging Themes and Narratives
While “Miracleman” and “Uber” approach their themes through different lenses – one through psychological depth and the other through historical revisionism – they both stand as critiques of the superhero genre. Their storytelling not only reflects a shared scepticism about the traditional portrayal of superhuman abilities but also underscores the profound responsibilities and ethical dilemmas that come with such power. This narrative intersection forms a bridge that connects two distinct yet thematically aligned comic universes.
Comparison of Miracleman 15 and Uber Invasion 2
Kieron Gillen’s “Uber Invasion 2,” where Boston and Washington D.C. are decimated, can be compared with Alan Moore’s “Miracleman #15,” illustrated by John Totleben, where London undergoes catastrophic destruction due to Kid Miracleman. Both works are significant in the realm of superhero and alternative history comics, known for their graphic depictions of violence and the devastating impact of superhuman powers on society.
Gillen has acknowledged the influence of Moore’s work on his own. In the notes pages of “Uber Invasion #2,” he specifically mentions the connection to “Miracleman #15.” This reference is notable because “Miracleman #15” is often considered a landmark in comics for its unflinching portrayal of the horrors that a superhuman could inflict on a city. Similarly, “Uber Invasion” depicts the terrifying consequences of superhuman warfare, showcasing a brutal and realistic take on what would happen if such beings existed during wartime.
Both works challenge the traditional notions of superhero comics. While superhero stories often depict battles between good and evil with minimal collateral damage, both “Miracleman” and “Uber” confront the reader with the stark reality of immense power wielded without constraint. The destruction of London in “Miracleman” and of Boston and Washington D.C. in “Uber” serves as a visual and narrative shock, pushing the boundaries of what is typically shown in superhero narratives.
Moore’s influence on the genre, and particularly on writers like Gillen, is a testament to his groundbreaking work in comics. Moore’s storytelling in “Miracleman,” and particularly in issue #15, redefined what could be done in the medium, influencing a generation of writers who followed. Gillen’s reference to Moore’s work in “Uber Invasion” is both an acknowledgement of this influence and a continuation of the tradition of using superhero narratives to explore darker, more complex themes.
In summary, both “Uber Invasion 2” and “Miracleman #15” share a thematic focus on the devastating impact of superhuman powers, challenging the conventions of superhero comics. Gillen’s acknowledgement of Moore’s influence highlights the ongoing dialogue between different eras of comic book storytelling and the evolution of the genre to include more mature and thought-provoking themes.
The Unfinished Legacies of Miracleman and Uber
“Miracleman” by Alan Moore and “Uber,” including its sequel “Uber Invasion” by Kieron Gillen, stand out not just for their groundbreaking content but also for their status as “unfinished masterpieces” in the realm of comic literature. While Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham have taken on the formidable task of completing “Miracleman: The Silver Age,” the continuation into “The Dark Age” remains uncertain. Similarly, the fate of Gillen’s “Uber” series hangs in the balance. As of now, there’s no confirmation on the completion of either the original “Uber” series or “Uber Invasion.” This state of incompletion adds a layer of intrigue and unfinished potential to these already complex and challenging works. The anticipation and hope for their completion continue to keep these series alive in the discussions and imaginations of comic book enthusiasts and critics alike.
In conclusion, “Miracleman” and “Uber” not only mark a pivotal shift in superhero storytelling but also share the unique distinction of being incomplete masterpieces. Their unfinished narratives add a layer of anticipation and unresolved potential that continues to captivate readers. While Gaiman and Buckingham’s efforts to complete “Miracleman: The Silver Age” offer a glimmer of hope, the uncertainty surrounding “The Dark Age” and the future of “Uber” and “Uber Invasion” underscores the lingering question of what could be if these narratives were fully realized. This unfinished status only adds to the complexity and depth of these works, making them enduring subjects of discussion and speculation in the comic book world.
Mainly from Gillen, but one from Moore (on appreciating ‘Uber’):
- Kieron Gillen Talks About His New Series Uber – War, Weaponized People, And Writing Angry
- Kieron Gillen Talks About The Uber Volume One Extended Hardcover
- Talking To Kieron Gillen About Avatar – Uber Is NOT A Superhero Comic And Mercury Is The New Wild West
- Eruditorum Presscast: Kieron Gillen
- The Superhero Comic Alan Moore Likes – Germany To Invade America In Kieron Gillen’s Uber