The Miracles, created by Joe Glass, Vince Underwood, Harry Saxon and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, is an LGBT+ superhero comic about a young man who discovers he has superpowers, which leads to the reveal of an unknown history regarding his family.
Publisher: Queer Comix
Writer: Joe Glass
Artist: Vince Underwood (Art & Major Voltage Adventure Colours), Harry Saxon (Colours), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letters), Kevin Wada (Cover Art)
Price: £7.99 at www.joeglasscomics.co.uk
The Miracles tells the story of Elliott, a young student who lives a normal life in the shadow of a secret he hasn’t shared with anyone; he’s gay! However, this turns out not to be his only secret when a violent encounter with a bigoted classmate results in the revelation that not only is he a superhero, but that his parents and cousin are the superheroes whom appear in his favourite comic. Now, operating as the hero, Miracle, Elliott sets about creating a double life saving lives and making a difference. However, an old family enemy lurks in the shadows, one who hopes to use Elliott and his secrets to destroy all that the young Miracle cares about.
Joe Glass has once again written a fantastic and seriously engrossing superhero story, one which really imbues a terrific team vibe. Resonating a cross between the Ultimates and the Fantastic Four in its tone, Glass has very much gone through the looking glass with the Miracles, creating a story and a world which feels diametrically opposed to his best known work, the Pride. Of course, that doesn’t imply that the characters are merely broken reflections from that book, for the members of the Miracles feel so much better fleshed out than any Glass has brought to life before. Despite their own admission of living in a ‘darker world’, the parental figures have a truly wholesome feel in the vein of Jonathan and Martha Kent (but more kick-ass). Meanwhile, with the younger members, Glass utilises them to discuss important themes of sexuality, mental health and even trauma. While only one of these themes gets any major screen time, Glass’ open ended conclusion to both the focus of the other themes as well as the book as a whole certainly leaves fertile ground for any future.
That said, despite the apparent inclusion of some serious topics within his story, Glass certainly doesn’t show fear throwing in fun nuggets and easter eggs. This is most obvious in the idea of Elliott’s parents once being superhero characters, a trope used back in the 50’s with Barry Allen meeting his comic book hero, the Flash Jay Garrick. Otherwise, Glass inserts so much goodness in the script. Whether it’s the characters being a mixed bag in their views on their powers (with some enjoying them and others dreading the power they contain); or the incredibly poignant moments between parents and children which really give real optimism into the reading experience. Of course, there are some flaws with this writing, in particular the pacing, as the story lags in places. This, however, is most likely down to it’s Graphic Novel nature instead of the standard 5-6 issue breakdown. Otherwise, the ending contains a hint for a possible future which seems superfluous but besides that, Joe Glass has written a truly wonderful story.
It is fortunate for the story that Glass found a great artist to pair up with because Vince Underwood, along with colourist Harry Saxon really knock it out of the park with the visuals. Underwood channels his quality work from Elk Mountain here with another bout of smooth and crisp pencils as he invokes more of a Stephen Byrne look. However, it is Harry Saxon’s colours which give the Miracles a totally different vibe to either Elk Mountain or the Pride as he provides a subtly darker, harsher look which helps to sell the universe’s darker undertone. Also, both Saxon and Underwood (because I’m unsure if it is colour or ink) coat the panels in this dark ‘hue’ which, while not overly effecting, gives some panels this hint of a nightmare vibe, as though the events in question (such as Miracle’s attempt to stop a major conflict) have this look like it is all a bad dream. Of course, not all of the art has this darker look thanks to a silver age comic sequence and Underwood more than steps up to the plate to more than match his skill as he produces some tremendous work fitting of the age and reminds me of Andy W. Clift’s Captain Cosmic series.
Throughout his career, Joe Glass has created some quality comic book series but, with the Miracles, he has certainly surpassed himself here. This superhero family drama and coming of age is a tremendously formed story and captivating characters brought to life thanks to incredible art from Messrs Underwood and Saxon. In a world where superheroes occupy every form of media, readers are spoilt for choice, but if they are looking for something different and of high quality, The Miracles will certainly live up to its name.