And so begins this gem of a comic, available in finer quarter bins and half price books everywhere:

It’s pencilled and inked by Steve Rude, although, honestly, he does such a great Jack Kirby that, from inside scans, it resembles the hidden foundation of the Marvel Universe to such a tee, It may as well be drawn by the ghost of Jack. And inked by David Mazzuccelli, the linework is so expressive.

The scripter, though, Mark Evanier, doesn’t quite do a Kirby impression. I know, for instance, that Jack never had Big Barda complain about the danger apparent to Mister Miracle’s lifestyle. She was as reckless as he was, and they loved each other for their respective bravery.

Other writers had other ideas after the characters passed from Jack’s hands, though, and the relationship, as viewed by JM DeMatteiss and Keith Giffen’s humorous lens in Justice League International, became a sitcom of a warrior princess waiting at home when, really, she should be out kicking butt. This comic, published right before JM DeMatteiss would write an ongoing series about the two gods living in suburbia to humor of diminishing returns, shows a way out of that tunnel.

They wouldn’t follow it, but for the record, here’s how MIster Miracle, briefly, escaped the boring marriage his late 80s and early nineties scripters would muzzle him with.

Oberon, the former sidekick of Mister Miracle as well as his former business partner when Mister Miracle pulled daring super-Houdini level escapes. After the series was cancelled (which apparently means that between the end of the seventies series and this, him and Big Barda moved to the suburbs together, although no comic ever depicts that decision to my knowledge), they both settle down and stay away from superheroism outside of the occasional big crisis.

cue foreshadowing music:

Of course it takes a good villain to get rid of the old ball and chain. And, it’s even more than that: it’s a villain who wants to ruin the earth’s undying admiration for its heroes. That is why Darkseid is one of the most terrifying villains ever. He specifically wants to punish MIster Miracle because, in a pact made long ago, a baby from the paradisiac New Genesis was switched with a baby from Darkseid’s planet Apokolips. Mister MIracle was that baby from New Genesis, and he eventually succeeded in escaping from that dystopian world. Darkseid wants to teach him a lesson, and use that to teach all the heroes of Earth a lesson.

He plans this in a lair with a statue of himself.

He even forgives people with his back to them. Such badassness.

Concurrent to these plans, we also see Mister Miracle completely broke and looking for money. That’s why he tried to pull stunts, but we see him go to less dangerous stunts that he easily pulls off with no trouble. Really, it’s like Michael Jordan playing intramurals because his wifey’s worried about some of the larger defenders maybe spraining his wrist. Except even if MJ sprains his wrist, he’s dead.

Something comes up to let the gods make money, though: A spectacular death trap is advertised around the world, with a million dollars given to the person able to escape it on national TV. Naturally, Mister MIracle enters into the contest (without asking his adjacent wife). She runs off, angry, and finds someone who talks to her about how thrilling and inspiring it is to watch a man escape from certain death. This isn’t entirely enough to persuade her, though: the conversation stops short when Apokoliptian goons kidnap her.

And so our hero watches the death trap and hears that he actually won’t make money, and his wife is kidnapped. Ooooops!

Also, it turns out Granny Goodness, the adoptive mother of Mister Miracle, designed the death trap! instead of just a wealthy gambler! OOOOOOOOOoooooooooops!

Naturally, he escapes the death trap. I won’t bore you with those details. It’s really the ending of the story that gets me. Mister Miracle, a man of daring confidence able to gain so much because he believes in the impossible, stares Darkseid in the face and tells him to kill him. To kill everyone.

And you know what? His confidence serves him as well in speech and escapes. They might not be so different, after all. Darkseid was a man of his word. He does not want to kill us all, no. All he would have to do is use his targeted laser vision from a faraway planet, and pretty soon everyone would be dead. I mean, Darkseid’s eyes would later even send Bruce Wayne back in time to caveman time. His goal certainly isn’t our destruction. It is our obediance.

And so the adopted son of Darkseid is able to defeat him with words, and even lay bare his ultimate goal, during a nationally televised event!

Barda sees this, and realizes the importance of confidence. Of being nature that overcomes a void.¬†And so we’re back to where Scott Free/Mister Miracle should be, spouting miracles from sheer nothing, all because he has spectacular achievements that no one else in the world is brave enough to do.

There isn’t another hero like him.