Retro Review: Tom King’s Mister Miracle
Shortly before my state’s quarantine mandate went into effect, I headed over to my local library for some graphic novel and trade reads. One of the trades available had been on my wish list for some time: Tom King’s Mister Miracle. Running for 12 issues from October 2017- January 2019, this version of the world’s greatest escape artist was rather trippy. But King, along with artist Mitch Gerads, managed to stay pretty faithful to Jack Kirby’s original Fourth World vision in the process.
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads
Covers by Gerads and Nick Derrington
Publisher: DC Comics
Originally published as Mister Miracle, issues #1-12.
Scott Free grew up in the orphanages of Apokolips run by the tyrannical Granny Goodness. Scott spent every waking moment he wasn’t being tortured trying to escape Granny’s fire pits. Finally achieving his goal, Scott traveled to earth and became friends with Mister Miracle, the world’s greatest escape artist.
Scott’s planned time in the shadows was short-lived. When mobsters killed the original Mister Miracle, Scott takes over the identity and eventually becomes an even bigger celebrity (and eventual hero) with the help of his manager Oberon and his former Furies leader wife, Big Barda.
Tragedy befalls the Mister Miracle household, sending Scott Free into a spiraling free-fall. Deeply depressed, Scott attempts one last escape. Slicing open his wrists, Scott takes his own life only to be snatched away from death thanks to paramedics!
Or did he?
Controversial Batman writer Tom King tackled a bunch of metaphysical concepts in this maxi-series. What or who is God? What is reality? By the end of this title, you’ll be asking yourself if one man’s hell can be another paradise? While a lot of the concepts are explored but never truly explained, the reader will get an answer at the end of this story as to if Scott Free is dead or not. OR maybe not.
This Mister Miracle story is essentially a crisis story. Not just for Scott but for all of the New Gods on New Genesis and Apokolips. Darkseid has achieved the anti-life equation and the forces of Highfather and Orion will risk everything to stop evil from winning.
But with all of DC’s crisis stories, the ending often gets mired with open ended finales. And for the most part, that’s exactly what happens here. Though, I do feel that this was one of the least open-ended stories produced on a level with CRISIS. Maybe I am not really clear here. I rather enjoyed this Tom King/Mitch Gerads production.
Mitch Gerads (The Sheriff of Babylon) was a huge factor in my appeal of this Mister Miracle run. I forgot how alluring Jack Kirby had made the Amazon-like Big Barda. But Gerards quickly reminded me! And what he is able to do making some of the more surreal moments of this book look like an old school rabbit ears TV set struggling to get a clear reception was a thing of mastery!
Gerards won an Eisner award for his work on this book in 2018. Tom King did as well. But really, it’s the stunning visuals that make this book a New Gods series unlike any other. Expect lots and lots of red ink to flow through these pages. And with that, readers should expect lots and lots of death. Whether that body count includes Mister Miracle is up for interpretation.