By Tom King & Mitch Gerads
Scott Free (Mister Miracle) returns with a solo limited series for the first time in twelve years. Tom King of current Batman and Vision fame, has created, along with artist Mitch Gerads, a truly unique comic within the current DC line and perhaps comics in general. Lately, a lot of new titles across publishers have just been rehashing the same tropes and narrative conventions with generic, uninteresting artwork, but this creative team wanted to strive to deliver a book that would honor the history of DC’s maxi-series and this premiere issue definitely appears to heading down the right path!
Scott Free is a master escape artist and has done it all, except escape death itself. That is the fulcrum of this story. Miracle attempts this latest daring escape, but it’s not quite clear if he is truly out of death’s reach. He and his wife Big Barda are called upon by his family to return to New Genesis and protect it from none other than a true harbinger of death, Darkseid. King and Gerads weaves so much of Jack Kirby into this work that it adds an extra layer of charm and appreciation, but never pulls focus from the dire matter and theme at hand: death.
Quite honestly, I haven’t seen a comic so quirky and baffling in some time, but that’s its trick. It sparks the reader to really engage with the material and question/process what is (or isn’t) happening. Mitch Gerads breathes such life into the material that one never knows what the page will look like. Within the first five pages, the style and presentation changes four times and that’s just a taste of what’s to follow in the remaining pages. Immediately, this creative team tells its audience this isn’t your grandpa’s Mister Miracle comic, but with Tom King’s narration/dialog and key visual homages, they maintain respect and stay true to the character and his history.
Everything feels experimental, but deep down readers will know it has intended purpose. A primary example is the use of the visual motif of a black panel saying “Darkseid is…” as a narrative tool. One can have several theories to its significance, but King and Gerads are leading the audience to its inevitable reveal. The vivid colors used, specifically red, blue, yellow and green and combinations of the three, always draw focus to Scott Free and make the pages feel interestingly unreal. He absolutely channels Bill Sienkiewicz and Alex Maleev with a touch of Frank Miller, it’s truly some unique artwork at play in this issue. There’s nothing formulaic about this book and one couldn’t ask for a better way to present a Mister Miracle story because there is nothing formulaic about him. An all around great example of form and function working in tandem miraculously.
This title is without a doubt the odd duck of DC Comics right now, deservedly so. It should stand out and garner attention because the creatives are clearly challenging themselves in the medium with an odd character. It’s the breath of fresh air in comics I and I’m sure many other readers needed right now and fans of the character will also be pleased. There is recognition of the importance of Scott Free in the New Gods mythos as well as DC as a whole. There’s no escaping the magic that is Mister Miracle.