Tom King has made quite the impact in the comic book industry during the past few years. Vision, Sheriff of Babylon, Omega Men and Batman have all been considered modern classics by fans and critics alike. Now King, along with master comic artist Mitch Gerards, comes with a unique take on a superhero that isn’t as well known to the mainstream audience: Mister Miracle. My knowledge of him comes only from the Justice League Unlimited episode which he appears though he his roots in classic comics history by none other than Jack “The King” Kirby. The legend of Mister Miracle goes thusly: Scott Free (yes that is his real name) escaped from the tyrannical world of Apocalypse with his future spouse Big Barda after being a tortured token of peace between warring gods (dubbed the New Gods) for many years. Living on Earth, Scott becomes the performer/superhero famously dubbed MISTER MIRACLE known for death defying stunts where he claims he can escape from anything. For this newest outing, Scott must ask himself the million dollar question: what do you do when the world itself is the trap you need to escape?
I’ve discussed my opinions in some previous comic reviews that comic books tend to push too much into their first issues without much of an explanation. This comic is no exception. For a character like Mister Miracle I think King should have laid more groundwork for new readers. I don’t need an origin story but anyone who has no idea of the New Gods may desire more context. Even a one page panel giving a cliff note version of the New God mythology could be at least a little helpful. That said there is enough done that I think readers will understand the general gist of the set up. Mister Miracle is confused, Big Barda is concerned, Orion is angry and so on. To King’s credit, I do believe that story requires that you are somewhat lost so that you can be better dragged into this tale of woe.
My biggest compliment for this book is that it has nailed a perfectly unique atmosphere. Even when things seem peachy you can’t help but shake a feeling that something is…off. Just like the master escape artist Mister Miracle, you’re now engaged with the world and are desperate to get out. That sort of feel is not easy to grant the reader. As such, I must tip my hat to King’s excellent writing ability. He has managed to keep a consistent tone with his books while adding something new to each series so that it doesn’t feel completely like that last. Just like Vision, for example, both of these series have protagonists that are at odds with a world that they don’t understand whilst training to maintain their family life. What makes Mister Miracle different is the focus on the paranoia of living in a world that always seems to be changing rather than trying to keep up appearances in a place you don’t understand. The characters and the readers just can’t help but shake that the world they are in is wrong despite what everyone else says. This would make the book great enough on its own but, thankfully, Gerards provides some incredible art for us to digest.
Gerards style is perfect for this book. Everything is beautiful yet slightly off. Random static or placement of objects stick out in your head as you go through the issue. Pay attention to everything no matter how meaningless because it will definitely come back later. Hopefully Gerards work on this book gets him on bigger and bigger projects in the future because this is a great example of his talents. My only concern is that I haven’t seen any of his action scene work which could be a major detractor if not handled well. Scott is a god and as such deserves to be memorable with how he dispatches enemies. That said, I have faith that Gerards can more than handle it. I just wanted to play a bit of devil’s advocate to look more balanced in my opinion rather than just shoving a great book in your face demanding that you read it.
Comic books, especially first issues, are hard to review since they are just the beginning of a longer story. Tom King books in particular work better once you have the entire run put together. I cannot wait to see what this Dynamic Duo brings us in the next few issues because this first gives us a great introduction to the world of a superheroic escape artist. What did you think of the first issue? Love it? Hate it? Comment and get a conversation going. Thank you for your time. I’ve been Superguy and you’ve been awesome. Now go out there and escape the trappings of life.