New Myths for the New Gods in Mister Miracle #1: Review
Mister Miracle #1
Writer: Tom King
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Nick Derington
Publisher: DC Comics
Well, he’s Scott…but he’s very far from free.
King and Gerads’ joint foray into the 4th World has been on my mind for some time. Like most Kirby fans, when the announcement came, I was elated…and a little hesitant. There’ve been some DC Jack “The King” Kirby reboots that’ve made me cringe in the recent past; DiDio slaughtering Challengers of the Unknown and O.M.A.C. come to mind. Still, it’s King, and he has demonstrated the ineffable mix of curiosity, care and pure imagination needed to take on my favorite Kirby creations in his current Batman run, as well as other works. For a more detailed take on that context, check out our companion review of this issue.
See, it’s pretty easy to tell people why you love the 4th World. Whether it’s the daunting and monolithic cruelty of Darkseid, the overbearing Shakespearian woes of Orion, or the devilish and dastardly schemes of Granny Goodness, the cast of characters and the boundlessly original pantheon Jack Kirby created add such a depth to the DCU. Everything is over the top, grandiose and utterly, wildly imaginative, as if Jack plucked the psychic telephone from its cradle and direct dialed the dimension. Couple the concepts with the breathtaking art and, well, few would argue it’s some of the best “The King” ever delivered to us.
What’s not so easy to pin down is why we love Scott Free, AKA Mister Miracle, so much. See, Scott’s pretty extraordinary. He’s an escape artist, after all…but he’s also not. He’s normal. He’s earnest. He’s in love with one of the most beautiful and terrifying women in the multiverse, and counts himself damned lucky she seems to like him, too. It can be hard to find grounding in the 4th World, populated as it is with giant personalities and epic struggles, and Jack wisely gave us this soulful character as both an anchor, and a lightning rod for change. Scott reminds us that no matter how bad things get, how crushing and awful the darkness is, your hope keeps you running and dodging just inches in front of the blades.
There’s something mercurial and liminal about Scott, and what King and Gerads nail above all in this first issue is that moment of pure opportunity, when time slows and everything is crystal.
Problem is, Scott seems to be stuck there.
And it’s getting dark.
And there’s some serious stuff going down back home.
Gerad’s sketchy and impressionistic art meshes well with the 9-panel structure King is using so effectively to pace us through what is, arguably, the darkest situation we’ve ever seen Mister Miracle get into. The pits of Apokolips ain’t got nothin’ on the darkness of the human mind, or the unsettling universe-wide catastrophe that’s coming – nay, that’s already here.
The team puts together a stellar first issue in what they promised would be a fresh take on the classic escape artist, and they sure did deliver a boatload of mystery and reverence for the comics scripture that’s come before. I look forward to untangling the plot, wriggling deeper into the heart of the beast, and emerging almost unscathed, just in the nick of time, once this promising run comes to an all-too-quick end.
Or maybe we won’t, but we’ve gotta try.