Mister Miracle III
Created by Jack Kirby
NAME + ALIASES:
Unnamed mother, Aaron (brother, deceased)
Seven Soldiers of Victory
Mister Miracle v.1 #15 (Sept. 1973)
As Mister Miracle III: Mister Miracle v.2 #22 (Dec. 1990)
Shilo Norman was the successor to Scott Free, a human who became the third Mister Miracle. The character appeared in Mister Miracle just as Jack Kirby's New Gods and Forever People were canceled. Mister Miracle took a new direction when and Scott and Barda got a fiesty new sidekick, a multitalented prodigy. Kirby even drew Shilo in a costume reminiscent of Sandy the Golden Boy, a character he'd reinvented in the 1940s.
In later years the character received attention only if Scott was retired or dead. The character was elevated by Grant Morrison, who included him as one of the epic Seven Soldiers of Victory in 2005. Norman served as the crucial link between the New Gods and humanity in Final Crisis. Shilo's origin was retold in Who's Who in the DC Universe #11 (July 1991), with no revelations.
Shilo Norman's mother was a runaway who abandoned him as an infant. He was raised in an orphanage in Suicide Slum, abused by its staff, and he sought solace on the streets of Metropolis. (Mister Miracle v.2 #23)
At twelve, the orphan witnessed the murder of his brother Aaron, who was a truck driver for Intergang. Aaron had gotten too curious about his cargo, which belonged to the crime boss Mister Fez. Shilo was then remanded to the protective custody of Lt. Driver. Driver asked for help from Mister Miracle (Scott Free) and his wife Barda but Shilo demonstrated heroic bravery of his own. A black belt in judo, Shilo deflected a grenade thrown by Fez's assassin. Scott and Barda predicted that the boy would sneak out that night, and they followed him to Fez's lair. Shilo was rescued by Barda and Scott and then remanded to their care. Barda offered the boy the "special powers training" of her Female Furies and predicted that one day he would become a "Junior Miracle." (Mister Miracle v.1 #15) Note: Aaron's name was not given until Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1 (2005).
Shilo trained with Scott in the escapist's arts starting with small traps — physical and mental. One day the boy began seeing weird insect creatures, the minions of Professor Egg. Shilo fought with guile and Fourth World technology but eventually succumbed to Egg's nightmare. He awoke from the sound of his own screams and was surprised to meet Professor Exe, a master of illusion (apparently Exe had been enlisted by Scott to challenge Shilo). (#16)
The three of them stopped in for the night at the "Murder Lodge" run by Peppi Lamoko. It was full of booby traps and at the first sign of danger, Shilo donned a new yellow-and-red uniform. He demonstrated new strength, already increased by his special powers training. He broke free, liberated Scott and Barda, and all three were electrocuted (they would have died had they been "average" people). Their tormentors turned out to be bounty hunters called the Tricky Trio: Mad Merkin, Della the Dinosaur, and Little Bullets. They were strangely similar to Scott, Barda, and Shilo. The heroes wrapped up the Trio for the police. (#17)
For a brief time Scott and Barda were unbothered by forces from their home planet, the forces of Apokolips. But the attacks inevitably resumed and they decided to return to its sister world, New Genesis. Before leaving Earth, Scott proposed to Barda and they were married by his father, Highfather. Shilo stayed behind with Scott's friend, Oberon. (#18)
Shilo did not see Scott Free again for many years.
Becoming Mister Miracle
After Scott and Barda quit Earth, Shilo studied the escapist's art intensively. He became a prodigy in its art and science. When he became college-aged he pursued both sides of his passion. He moved to Manhattan's Greenwich Village and became a performance artist but also enrolled in quantum physics at NYU. (Mister Miracle v.2 #23)
Scott and Barda returned to Earth but they did not reconnect with Shilo Norman until they moved from New Hampshire to New York. They stumbled upon the budding inventor during a public performance. When a thief stole Shilo's tip hat, he demonstrated impressive athletic prowess to catch him. (Mister Miracle v.2 #21)
Scott had since decided to give up the costumed life and he offered to train Shilo as the next Mister Miracle (III). This had always been Shilo's dream. He had already created his own version of the costume and outfitted it with with all sorts of "miracles": high tech, mentally-controlled circuits based on Scott's Fourth World technology. He could create heat, power blasts, magnetic fields, and enhance his strength. But none of it worked properly without Scott's magic ingredient: a Mother Box. This living computer was bonded to Scott, who defied tradition by commanding his Mother Box to work for Shilo. He accessed it via his belt, and it enabled Shilo to swap clothing and manifest the aero-discs for flight. Shilo's maiden voyage on the discs was swift and unpredictable. Mother Box reacted erratically to his commands and returned him to the loft with a crash through the windows. (#22)
Highfather warned Scott that the Mother Box was spiritual in nature — attuned to the gods not humans. It was possible it could disobey one's command. He would have to convince the Box of Shilo's spiritual worthiness, so the two of them prepared a special meditation. Their minds entered the realm of the Mother Box which attacked them with antibody-like structures. It assessed Shilo's merit and learned that he had endured hardship comparable to Scott's. It accepted the new symbiosis. (#23)
Shilo moved into Scott and Barda's loft and was immediately a target for Mister Miracle's foes. The Lump descended upon Shilo in his sleep to unleash a nightmare. Shilo won this astral challenge and the Lump fled. Later at school he met his new girlfriend, Fiona Leeway. (#24)
Mister Miracle's friends in the Justice League were oblivious to recent developments. The Blue Beetle played a regrettable joke by picking Shilo up during one of his acts. Shilo escaped from within a safe and emerged high in the air! (#25) Beetle's bug-ship whisked Shilo away to the Justice League embassy where Scott followed. Scott insisted to the JLA that the new Mister Miracle was not ready for League membership... but he could stick around to observe. (Justice League America #47)
Shilo and Scott weathered attacks by the enemies of General Glory, including the Überbot (#48) and the Evil Eye. Shilo was mostly unimpressed with the Justice League but still argued with Scott about joining their ranks. (#49) Shilo panicked and froze when the battle with Evil Eye escalated. This bolstered Scott's case. Maxwell Lord wanted Mister Miracle for the League but feared he would be killed in action. (#50) Shilo never joined the Justice League.
Fiona had been waiting for Shilo when he was whisked away by the JLA. She deduced his secret identity and tracked him down in order to break up with him. But she also wanted to hire Mister Miracle, as a friend had been turned into a monster by aliens. Scott and Shilo helped save him and believed the matter resolved. (#26) However the aliens' leader was living beneath Scott and Barda's building and it transformed both Miracles into raving monsters. Luckily this happened as the Justice League was arriving to Barda's housewarming party. When the alien leader was subdued, his minions became docile and left Earth. Fiona was impressed and rekindled her relationship with Shilo. (#27)
Shilo's training with Scott was cut short again when Highfather returned to Earth for his son. It was time for Scott to learn about his birthright, his "god power." He and Barda agreed and returned to New Genesis. Shilo was left behind with Oberon. (#28)
Norman steered away from super-heroics but continued to tour as Mister Miracle. He and Oberon hooked up with Scott's manager, Ted Brown, and took the show back on the road. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #5) When Scott and Barda returned to live on Earth and Shilo questioned his role once again. Ted was ready with an idea for something new. (#12)
After this Shilo became a security specialist for the Slab, a metahuman prison. He devised unique restraints and advised against offering the Joker more freedom. (Joker: Last Laugh Secret Files) He was ignored; the Joker escaped and moved the Slab into a limbo-like dimension. Shilo and guard Dina Bell took proactive measures. (Joker: Last Laugh #1) They made an alliance with the alien Mister Mind (#4) to acquire the help of Multi-Man and return the Slab to Earth. It reappeared in Antarctica and was placed under the jurisdiction of the D.E.O. Shilo became its and oversaw the Joker's reinterment. (#6) In this capacity he aided Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad, by agreeing to release the alpha metahuman Blackstarr. (Suicide Squad v.2 #6)
Seven Soldiers + Final Crisis
There was a war in heaven, and the wrong side won. "Heaven" was the Fourth World, Darkseid was the winner, and it happened in the future.
Shilo Norman had learned to live his life independent of Scott Free's transience. At age 23, he was unbothered by Fourth World dramas and became a wealthy, world-class performer. Despite his relative dissociation from New Genesis, Shilo was selected by the gods to be their savior in their time of need. Perhaps he was special for his affinity to Mother Box, because at some point he was gifted with a special Box (called "Motherboxxx"), probably by Metron. If the Fourth World came to an end — and it did — his was the only Mother Box left in creation. The New Gods were destroyed in a war with Darkseid and were now without form. The spirits of those from New Genesis entered a hibernation while Darkseid's ilk turned to universal domination.
Mister Miracle learned about all of this during his wildest stunt: an escape from an artificial black hole. Inside he encountered Metron, who was the first New God to awaken. He delivered a cryptic warning: Shilo must "free the bright ones." (Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1) The New Gods had died several years in his future (Death of the New Gods #1-8) and now existed only as timeless, bodiless entities. (Final Crisis #1) (See Notes)
Darkseid amassed power sufficient to create a human avatar on Earth called Boss Dark Side, and he attacked Shilo inside the black hole. Shilo did not realize that he had succumbed to Darkseid's Omega Sanction: the "life trap." He believed that he had returned to Earth but instead he was navigating a dark labyrinth of despair. He attended a party and met the Female Furies. He was attended by his therapist, Dr. Dezard (aka Desaad). And he met the Black Racer, who challenged him to escape death itself. (Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1)
The gods of New Genesis were in weakened states. Metron presented as a man in a wheelchair and he led Shilo to meet Orion, Highfather, the Forever People... all feeble, forlorn, and nervous. Desaad tried to erode Shilo's confidence and coax him into bringing forth the Motherboxxx. (#2) When Darkseid whispered the Anti-Life Equation into Shilo's ear, he entered a new level of the Omega Sanction. He was challenged by a rival escape artist, Baron Bedlam, became desperate, and gave up the Motherboxxx. The avatars of the New Gods implored him to find a way out of this impossible trap. (#3)
As Shilo tumbled through virtual lives he came to recognize the trap. He stumbled across another prisoner of Darkseid, an ancient being called Aurakles. They agreed to escape together but then Shilo fell back out of the black hole to Earth. He had triumphed over Darkseid's power. (#4) Enlightened with "god-sight," Shilo confronted Boss Dark Side's Earthly form and offered to trade places with Aurakles. Darkseid accepted the offer then shot Shilo in the head. Norman was laid to rest and several friends visited his grave. This became the site of his greatest escape when three days later he climbed out of it. (Seven Soldiers Special #1)
As foretold by Metron, Shilo played the crucial role as the New Gods' champion when Darkseid rose to conquer the universe. He was responsible for protecting Earth's populace from the Anti-Life Equation. He assembled a team to support him in Japan beginning with Sonny Sumo aka Super-Sumo, who also wielded some control over Anti-Life. His team was rounded out by the nation's Super Young Team. (Final Crisis #2) NOTE: This Sonny Sumo was from Earth-51, not the original Sumo introduced in Forever People #4 (1971).
Darkseid's agents had devised ways of broadcasting the Equation. (#3) Shilo's new god-sight gave him knowledge of a Fourth World "letter" that, when drawn upon one's face, could ward off the effects of the Anti-Life Equation. He worked with Earth's heroes to distribute the symbol via Checkmate's telepaths, and a device invented by Lex Luthor and Doctor Sivana. Darkseid was defeated by Batman, who shot him with a radion bullet. At the same moment, Darkseid's Omega Sanction struck Batman. As Shilo had, Batman would have to navigate his way out of his own "life trap." (#6)
Shilo continued his adventures by joining the Justice League and Justice Society for a mission to quell the mystical Starheart. With Motherboxxx, he was able to lead the teams of legacy heroes into its lair on the dark side of the moon. (Justice Society of America v.3 #41, Justice League of America v.2 #47)
Shilo Norman has not appeared in the New 52, but was mentioned in Earth 2 #15 (Oct. 2013). In this reality, on Earth-2, he was the original Mister Miracle (instead of Thaddeus Brown), and became the mentor to Mister Miracle II, Scot Free. (Earth 2 #15)
Seven Soldiers and Final Crisis writer Morrison clarified the timeline of events surrounding the death of the New Gods somewhat:
"The storyline in Mister Miracle happened around the same time as the events in Infinite Crisis. … When we see Darkseid's 'fall' from the world of the New Gods — as depicted in DC Universe #0 — he's falling backwards through time. In DCU #0 we're watching him fall back through the present, into the past of Seven Soldiers where he finally comes to rest in the body of 'Boss Dark Side,' the gangster from that story. The implication is that Darkseid has been consolidating his power base on Earth, in a human body, since at least the time of Infinite Crisis. Only Shilo Norman … has any real idea what's going on."
Shilo Norman is a naturally gifted man. At age twelve he was a black belt judo expert, and had an aptitude for understanding and creating high technologies. After meeting Mister Miracle, he invented many small electronics and circuits to enhance his own Miracle suit.
Scott Free gave Shilo his Mother Box, a living computer that imparted wisdom and warning. With it, Shilo's inventions were at full strength, and he could activate his predecessor's aero-discs for flight.
Presumably Scott had to reclaim his Mother Box, but Shilo was given another one (which he called Motherboxxx, described by Metron as "the last of her kind" to survive the fall of the New Gods) by a mysterious benefactor. Motherboxxx helped him become a wealthy and famous performer and later resurrected him after he was killed by Dark Side/Darkseid." (Resurrections were definitely beyond the usual abilities of a Mother Box, so it's reasonable to surmise that Motherboxxx had unusual powers, given the nature of her mission.)
When Shilo escaped Darkseid's Omega Sanction, he emerged with a so-called "god-sight," which enlightened him to the nature of the Fourth World. He could recognize the spirits of the gods on Earth, and intuited the ancient secrets to manipulate the Source.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Final Crisis #2-5
- Firestorm, the Nuclear Man v.2 #33-35
- Green Lantern v.3 #176, 177
- Infinite Crisis #5
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World #5, 6, 10, 12
- JLA #107
- Joker: Last Laugh #1, 2, 4, 6 & Secret Files
- Justice League America #47-50
- Justice League of America v.2 #47
- Justice Society of America v.3 #41
- Seven Soldiers Special #1
- Suicide Squad v.2 #6
- Mister Miracle v.1, #15-25 (1972-74)
- Mister Miracle v.2, #21–28 (1989-91)
- Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle, 4-issue limited series (2006)