The world was refined in that dark crucible. And the Leaden Age through which we faltered has, by some rare alchemy, been changed through flame to Gold.
I watch the Sun setting in slow flame… and as it does, its last rays catch the stray clouds, silver and mauve and grey; transmute them to ruby and amethyst and gold.
Purest, most perfect, eternal Gold.”
So ends Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman: The Golden Age. It is the perfect summation of what the series has been: alchemic aurification. Not at a metatextual level; Alan Moore’s previous run was already narrative gold. But within the world which Gaiman writes, even as society has been transformed by the coming of the gods, the hearts of men are tougher straw to spin. The vignettes of the previous issues share the common thread of the gods taking a personal interest in particular individuals. Almost always, from the father praying for his dying daughter, the aesthete who adores the aphroditic goddess, or the parthenogenic parent of an absentee godling, such encounters end with the mortals seemingly rejected by hierarchically and emotionally distant deities.
Issue #6 is the first in which we see the continuation of any of their stories. Far from the paradisial promises of the Christian scriptures, here is a heaven home to tears and mourning and fasting aplenty, even on the eve and in the midst of Carnival. And yet, as such seemingly broken people cross paths with one another, the heretofore hidden providential plan unfolds, the healing of their hearts begun by the gods made manifest in their meeting one another. Thus the real purgation, the burning away of tears from their eyes and sorrow from their souls; the lifting of burden from their hearts till each is so light as to be carried off by balloon, rising over Olympus as they sail the skies into the sunset.
The heroes riding off into the sunset is supposed to be the end of the story, the happily ever after. And yet there are more stories to come. What then shall the future hold? Is the sunset followed by the dark of night or day without ceasing? It is an inquiry even the god himself, walking amongst the mortals as Saturn in Arcady, asks of a psycho-pharmaceutical prophetess: “Am I doing the right thing? Have I done right… That is the question which haunts me?” Such is a question I anticipate Gaiman will set to answering in the next series, Miracleman: The Silver Age. Given the gold which Gaiman’s wrought on franchise thus far, even if follow-up is merely silver in comparison, I’ll certainly be sticking around to read it.