MISTER MIRACLE #1 By Tom King and Mitch Gerads
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
MISTER MIRACLE #1 is an exciting and extremely promising start to this new miniseries. Tom King doesn't just pay tribute to Jack Kirby, he also crafts a fascinating, fresh take on the New God, Scott Free. This issue is a totally unique and must-read for fans of Tom King and Jack Kirby's work!
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End of Escapism
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Often major comic publishing companies like DC and Marvel urge writers to follow formulas when creating superhero stories. Every now and then, however, writers can do something extremely new and divergent with their characters. When this happens, it’s such a welcome breath of fresh air within the mainstream comic book genre. This is exactly what Tom King accomplishes with MISTER MIRACLE #1.

MISTER MIRACLE #1
MISTER MIRACLE #1 page 14. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

DC has released MISTER MIRACLE #1 in a time when they are paying homage to Jack “The King” Kirby’s creations. One-shots like NEW GODS SPECIAL #1 and NEWSBOY LEGION AND THE BOY COMMANDOS SPECIAL #1 are fun reminders of Jack Kirby’s classic works. Yet, Tom King doesn’t just want to pay tribute to Jack Kirby. He also wants to build upon old themes previously established by the King to create a completely new telling of Scott Free (AKA Mister Miracle).

READ: To learn what else DC is doing to honor Jack Kirby’s 100th anniversary, read this review!

Drawing God

Tom King starts his story with an odd anecdote. He depicts the telling of a classic joke, that of a child drawing God in class. The teacher tells the child that “…no one knows what God looks like.” The child responds: “Yeah, until now.”

MISTER MIRACLE #1
MISTER MIRACLE #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I love this opening because it quickly sets the stage for the offbeat, unconventional story that King is getting ready to tell. King doesn’t want to write the traditional Mister Miracle narrative. He wants this comic to be his Mister Miracle story. In that way, he’s very much the boy drawing his version of “God.”

Yet this joke has more to do with the story than just being a simple analogy to King’s writing style. We learn in this story that the evil Darkseid, Mister Miracle’s biological father, has seized control of the Anti-Life Equation and thus reality itself. This is perhaps the reason that every page has a panel in all black that ominously reads “Darkseid is.”

It’s unclear what this phrase means here. Has Darkseid seized control over all of reality and he’s all that is? When the child draws God is he actually drawing Darkseid? It’s these thematic mysteries running throughout MISTER MIRACLE #1 that draw the reader in. Similar to how Tom King wrote his VISION series for Marvel, this issue will have you questioning the inner meaning behind every panel and phrase. King isn’t going to just give readers the answers. So we’ll have to find them out for ourselves.

Escaping the Inescapable

MISTER MIRACLE #1
MISTER MIRACLE #1 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Before we even begin with the tale of the kid drawing God, we open to a horrifying visual of Scott Free, in his Mister Miracle costume, sitting on the bathroom floor near a razor while he bleeds out of his wrists. King contrasts this horrifying scene with Kirby’s signature exclamatory language introducing Mister Miracle. He writes: “Is he a master of spectacular trickery or is he something more? You will have to decide when you confront the strangest most incredible hero ever to appear in comics!” He then follows this up by announcing Free’s greatest enemies as “the men who challenge him — and death himself!”

It’s unclear what inspired Scott Free to attempt suicide. He claims that he wanted to prove he could escape the greatest cage of all, death. Yet King seems to be withholding a lot of information from the reader in this first issue. Scott even says that he’s been seeing visions and things that don’t exist. Like Jeff Lemire’s MOON KNIGHT or Noah Hawley’s TV Show LEGION, MISTER MIRACLE stars an unreliable narrator. We don’t know what really happened with Scott Free or what is going on in his reality. The real fun in books like this is trying to figure out what we can believe and what isn’t real.

READ: LEGION is another fantastic unconventional story about a superhero. Look at our thoughts here!

Art in MISTER MIRACLE #1

Tom King reunites with artist Mitch Gerads who worked on his Vertigo series THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON. Mitch Gerads’ art in MISTER MIRACLE #1 is absolutely fascinating. It’s very different from the bright, flamboyant style that is traditionally tied to Jack Kirby’s characters. In fact, most of this issue has a realistic and darkened feel to it. The colors are especially dampened as each panel is filled with different shades of grays. This creates an eerie and sobering sensibility to a comic book line that’s traditionally known for its sense of escapism.

MISTER MIRACLE #1
MISTER MIRACLE #1 page 9. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The only time when any sort of light splashes on to the page is when one of the New Gods are in costume. When Orion or the Highfather appear, Gerad’s draws each panel with light reminiscent of Kirby’s old comics. Yet the characters’ skin underneath their outfits is often faded. I think this is because King wants to contrast the eminence and godliness of characters like Mister Miracle with Scott Free, who’s seemingly not very different than a regular human. This is one way that Gerad’s art really makes MISTER MIRACLE feel like a deconstruction of Scott, much as Tom King’s VISION was a deconstruction of that titular character.

Final Thoughts

MISTER MIRACLE, like Tom King’s VISION, is a 12-issue miniseries. After this amazing and utterly intriguing first issue, I believe this could be a series just as contemplative and emotional as the other. King has such a mastery of thoughtful, intellectual storytelling which sadly he hasn’t been able to display as much in his BATMAN run. While I am a fan of what he’s doing for the Dark Knight, MISTER MIRACLE feels like a series where he and Gerads can really stretch their legs and tell the story they want to tell. I can’t wait to read what this excellent duo has in store next month!

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