Mister Miracle #2
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowels
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Robert Lee Jefferson Coffil
Mister Miracle #1 ended with Barda and our eponymous protagonist walking into a boom tube straight for Darkseid’s invading horde on New Genesis. This was a war that Scott Free didn’t seem to have his heart set on fighting. However, Mister Miracle #2 opens with five pages of Scott giving parademons of Apokolips the works.
The first issue of the series set the stage, and this issue takes things to the next level.
When the book made its debut, it establishes that Scott Free is an unreliable narrator. There are also two instances (maybe three) in there that let you know that everything isn’t as it seems. I normally hate this kind of narrative device. If the reader can’t trust what the protagonist is seeing or experiencing, how is the reader meant to understand the story? However, Tom King and Mitch Gerads are at the helm of this endeavor, so I have the utmost faith that this story will be fulfilling and worthwhile. Noah Hawley’s Legion on FX had an unreliable narrator and that was one of the absolute best shows of this year, in my opinion. That show was much more beautiful than it had any right to be, and Mister Miracle also has that in common with it.
Mitch Gerads is doing the work of his life on this book. The acting on the page and the facial emotions are amazing. Tom King is doing his best Allen Moore impersonation with this issues script and there are 9-panel grids littered throughout this issue. What this does is slow down the pace and tempo of the book. As such, the panels have space to breathe. I know this seems antithetical, but, bear with me. Pages with more panels generally slow readers down because the reader has to go through every panel. Fewer panels per page makes for a quick read. More panels per page slow the reader down and force the reader to pay attention. There is a version of this book that could have been done with nothing but splash pages and 2 or 3-panel pages. That type of script wouldn’t do any justice to Mitch’s stupendous facial expressions. For instance, there is a moment when Scott and Barda are made to genuflect before the new Highfather, and Scott is as obstinate as you would expect him to be in the face of this. He doesn’t want to kneel; Big Barda must pull him down to the floor. For as much as this comic wants to present itself like an action/sci-fi adventure, the moments it excels at are the interactions between characters and the palpable emotions it can evoke from the reader.
Tom King is a writer of the utmost quality. Yet, he had me fooled. I thought this book was going to be a self-serious space opera. This book is certainly that, but, like Shakespeare, amidst his great dramas and tragedies, there is humor. There are moments and expressions (I don’t know if these are written into the script or not) that had me laughing. While King is weaving this tale he is interlacing it with humor, and it takes what would be a very dark and dour book and turns it into a dark comedy. Ultimately, this makes the book much more readable.
Must Buy!!! Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and the rest of the team on this book have a certifiable hit on their hands. This issue has everything: action, humor, and wonderful art. The first issue sold out. Don’t wait and end up having to buy a reprint of this second issue. It’s a great read; you won’t be disappointed!