Issue(s): Thing #24
Actually, the real bad guy of this story is the Miracle Man. The Thing just happened to be on the same bus as him (poor super-villain, traveling by bus).
The Rhino was on his way from Project Pegasus to get his armor removed, and the Miracle Man eliminated that chance by "rescuing" him.
After a fight and a chase, the Thing convinces the Rhino to turn himself back in.
The Guardsman says that Project Pegasus has been trying to move out their dangerous prisoners in order to get back to being a research facility like they're supposed to be.
Meanwhile, the Miracle Man is killed by the Scourge, who had been trying to get the Thing to play Trivial Pursuit earlier.
It's nice seeing this side of the Rhino and how the Thing has more in common with villains like this than most other heroes. In reaction to this issue, there's a letter in a later lettercol worrying that the Rhino was going to go the way of the Sandman and become a reformed villain. It didn't go that way, although the Rhino is often treated as a semi-tragic figure.
This was a fun issue.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
A bit of talk on the Miracle Man lately, so I'll have my say here: I think he sort of was a character who didn't need to come back based on the evolution of the universe in general and what did or didn't keep coming back. In a way, I sort of see him parallel to that of "The Wizard": a couple normal guys who used the tricks available to them in the early days and thus were early threats to the heroes. The difference between them is that the Wizard remained consistant in pursuit of Johnny (being mainly a "Strange Tales" Human Torch villain than a F4 one at first), made some crucial alliances (Paste-Pot Pete), and developed necessary means (the anti-gravity discs) to make him become a viable threat, particularly by the time he jumps to the main book and leads the Frightful Four and thus to one of the F4's first major defeats. By comparison, the Miracle Man showed up in the third issue of the original F4 book...and then suddenly came back in the 70s (long after the window to develop him akin to the Wizard was gone) was tossed about for a while with one lame attempt to make him relevant after the other. Such defines the difference between a member of the Act of Vengeance cabal...and Scourge bait.
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 8, 2016 10:56 AM
Oh, don't get me wrong. He definitely deserved to die. I think he COULD'VE worked if they continued down the path of making him a rogue for Son of Satan, but that story botched it and ended with making the whole thing a waste of time and even de-powering/retiring Daimon to boot.
What's tragic is he's currently alive in comics now though. Rick Remender brought back loads of Scourge victims just so he could have Punisher and his Venom eventually kill them all off again. Except he brought back ones he had no interest in ever using like Miracle Man and Turner D. Century who are both still alive while Basilisk and Death Adder are dead again.
Posted by: AF | January 8, 2016 11:22 AM
Eh, every character in comics has potential; its just having the right writer and scenario at the right time to bring it about.
Besides, I more could imagine Turner D. Century as more akin to the remake of Mad Mod in the '00s Teen Titans cartoon or with neat Steampunk-esque devices for torment. Miracle Man could have worked with real magic, but I guess he was so tossed about by this point that Scourge was putting him out of his misery.
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 8, 2016 12:24 PM
I liked in the letter column they had the creative team guessing what was the name of the Skipper, and they included Alan Hale, Jr. who told us it was Jonas Grumby. I have remembered that ever since.
Posted by: Chris | January 8, 2016 9:06 PM
Looking at the Miracle Man's original appearance, before all the weird Native American ghosts and Darksouls and such, he's a fairly clear prototype of the X-Men villain Mastermind.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 8, 2016 10:55 PM
The best route to develop the Miracle Man would have been to remove him as an FF villain and used him in other titles where his hypnotism and illusion could have challenged less powerful heroes. Several of Stan's old villains moved from title to title like that (Chameleon, Beetle, Electro, Mr. Hyde, Scorpion). He would have been an OK mid tier villain that could show up whenever some kind of mentalism powers were needed for the plot and partnered with a more physical villain.
But it was obvious Stan, Jack, and Steve had no interest in him which is why he was forgotten until much later. And at that time Conway tried to give him a massive power upgrade to challenge the FF which only served to remind people why he was already forgotten.
He had no real personality, distinctive appearance, or anything else that made him interesting.
Posted by: Chris | October 27, 2017 2:48 PM
I like your ideas, Chris. In some ways, Miracle Man started out in a similar path as someone like the Wizard: normal guys with some ability who just got jealous of the weirdness of the world emerging and who wanted to remain relevant. The problem: the Wizard was still a genius and put his brains to application ultimately creating the anti-gravity discs and later created the Frightful Four...and Miracle Man became forgotten, his only real footnote being "I fought the F4 before the likes of Doctor Doom". Such is the path of relevance and comic evolution I suppose.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 28, 2017 10:16 AM
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