By Daniel, Jonathan, and Dustin
Welcome to the latest Comic Bastards group review. Everyone loves Tom King so we thought we’d tackle his latest DC series Mister Miracle, with a group review. Each of the participating reviewers will give their thoughts and individual scoring for the issue so enjoy.
Synopsis: Darkseid is…
I don’t know shit about Mister Miracle. I’ve seen him appear here and there in various comics I’ve read over the years. But that’s about it. I’ve never read anything that was centrally focused on him. So I’m going to call this issue my first taste of Mister Miracle. And right off the bat, I like what I see. But I think that had more to do with the fact that Tom King is writing him as a flawed character. He’s bored with life and lacking challenge and adventure and maybe a little depressed, too, and I think this is going to take the story in some interesting directions. I like it when superheroes have a little depth and dimension in their character. Again, though, as I said, I don’t know much about the character or his history so for all I know this is how Mister Miracle is always written. King is quickly becoming a favorite writer of mine, and this issue is only further proving that point.
Mitch Gerads does the art and colors in Mister Miracle #1. Mitch Gerads is an artist I am slightly familiar with. I remember reading a few recent Batman issues where he provided the art and not being super impressed with it. That’s not the case here as I really enjoyed the art. It’s a good mix of sloppy and clean and almost overly-simplistic in nature. The color gives off the impression that it is sitting on top of the drawings as opposed to being mixed in with it. Almost like each color is on a different layer. This sounds weird, but I think it works. I like it. It gives each page an almost screen-printed look.
I am excited to continue reading this book. I read a lot of superhero books, and I like most of them. But they can only do so much because, in essence, they are all very similar. I have high hopes the Mister Miracle will be different though.
I've been looking forward to this book since DC first announced it. My first exposure to Tom King was his run on Vision, and like many, I was quickly hooked by his writing. Furthermore, though I am a bit behind, I've enjoyed a lot of what he's been doing with Batman. I find his stories to be very personal. They tend toward a slow burn edge that gets the heart of a character and their situation by way of juxtaposing everyday monotony with the pursuit of happiness and severe consequences to the sometimes poor-but-understandable decisions his characters make. And, I've been incredibly excited the result of him taking this approach with the titular New God.
King stays true to form with the pace of this first issue, but not before setting high stakes. DC's marketing had made it clear that the world's greatest escape artist was to attempt escaping death itself, but I didn't spend time trying to guess what that might mean or what might happen in the opening pages. Honestly, it took me a moment to realize that Scott Free attempted suicide. And once it did click, I realized this series was going to be way different than I could ever anticipate. And, the entirety of the rest of the issue set forth to reinforce this notion, and it succeeded. The pace starts fast, jumping ahead in time after only a handful of panels each, before eventually decompressing as the narrative takes a surreal turn.
The art is fantastic, jumping around as erratically as the story at first, and it's the first indicator that things are, in fact, getting weird. As far as I'm concerned, the best part of the entire issue was the talk show section, and that was completely thanks to the art.
In the end, Mister Miracle #1 has left me with two things. First, the legitimate uncertainty of what all is real and what might not be. And second, the want for the second issue to be in my hands ASAP.
I’m by no means a Tom King fan, but I will fully admit that this is his best single issue at DC to date. Probably because it feels heavily influenced by Bendis and Maleev’s run on Daredevil, but mostly in the presentation and art layouts. As for the story, it’s all presented well. No idea how it’ll play out nor will I speculate in a review since it’s not relevant to what we're here to discuss. Ah fuck, I’ll throw out a guess and say that King is using Matherson’s layout for Five People You Meet in Heaven. I’ll probably be way wrong, but that’s what I’m leaning towards. I will say that the Jack Kirby homage was… Tasteless and I say that as someone who makes tasteless jokes daily. I get that it was an homage to the creator of the character, but just the way it was present was more of a “Fucking really?” than, “Oh, hey, the same thing happened to Kirby.” Could just be me though.
As for Gerads’ artwork, it’s good and his best superhero work. Again, it echoes a lot of Maleev’s style with realistic poses and details. The fuzzy TV stuff was annoying to look at. That is 100% the point, but it was just too much and for too long. The one thing I can’t forgive is the all black page with two words of white writing. This was actually the second book I read this week that did this, and I’ll say the same thing. I don’t care what names are on the cover or the publisher, do not put an all black page in a comic book because it feels like you’re ripping me the fuck off. It also doesn’t convey any emotions, and after seeing dozens of panels that said the same and were at least interesting in their presentation, it wasn’t nearly as powerful as the creators thought it would be. It made everything that came after it is weaker and less interesting. It would have been better to have those simple words superimposed over a shot of Scott’s face, or Darkseid's face or fucking All Father’s face or even a huge thumb. Anything would have been more interesting in this visual medium than a black fucking page and two words that I had already read a dozen times.
It also told me that both creators are far from being called masters of their medium and while this was a good issue, it’s hard to overlook the obvious mistakes that were made. As a first issue, it works quite well, but it’s not the best first issue I’ve ever read, and I’m more curious to review it as a completed story arc since that’s how King writes.
Mister Miracle #1
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics