Though there are only a couple of months left in the year, I feel like I’ve already found the best comic book throughout 2017.
Enter Mister Miracle.
The twelve-issue-miniseries based around the Jack Kirby creation has come out of nowhere and made a huge impact in the comic book world. Written by Tom King and drawn by Mitch Gerads, the book makes a huge impact right away when it opens on Scott Free attempting suicide, or in his words, trying to escape death.
Mister Miracle stands out alone for its brutal and honest depiction of someone battling depression. Its a harsh and truthful look into someone who is fighting demons only he can see and I majorly applaud that. Scott has always been a happy-go-lucky sort of character, always having such a nonchalant attitude about his life as a superhero and as the world’s greatest escape artist, but that is a lot like life. Some people may seem fine or okay on the surface, but underneath there is something hurting them. We may not see it ourselves, but those suffering do everyday. Knowing the backstory and trauma Scott went through being raised and brought up by Granny Goodness after taking Orion’s place in a peace treaty between New Genesis and Apokolips, it all starts to click really.
Again, Mister Miracle is usually an upbeat character, smiling, and cracking some jokes, but its clear that was the real mask he’s been wearing all along. Attempting to hide the true feelings inside of him. The PTSD, the memories, and thoughts, it all became too much and so he looked for a way out. A way out that started off a huge domino effect into his life.
Issue one is all about the fallout of his attempt, how he’s perceived in the public eye after and how his loved ones react. His wife, Big Barda is constantly by his side, while Orion attempts to light the fire in him once again. But its how Highfather reacts that says the most, only reaching out months later, yet preoccupied about business involving Darkseid.
Tom King has tapped into a real problem that is getting a major spotlight shined on it, a topic that isn’t much explored within mainstream superhero comic books and that should be celebrated. Throughout reading the first three issues of Mister Miracle, one gains a harrowing insight into Scott Free and what he’s feeling. Its raw, powerful, and ultimately emotional above all. We’re seeing Scott’s view of the world crumble before him and by the end of the recent third issue, you really start to question if all of this is real.
King excels at making a compelling story on two whole different levels. There’s the grounded reality of what’s here on Earth as Scott recovers from his attempt, still making appearances, doing his stunts, and even just spending a day off with Barda. Then there’s the war back on New Genesis between the New Gods and Darkseid’s forces. We dive even deeper into Scott’s psyche there with the second issue as he and Barda must deal with Granny Goodness, the source of nearly all of their pain and suffering and a possible shocking revelation.
Now on the other side, Mitch Gerads is essential to making this book work as well as it does. He’s the one-man art team handling pencils, inks, and colors. The tones of his colors really make every page standout regardless of the setting. He makes the scenes here on Earth feel grounded and honestly real. Then he makes the war back on New Genesis feel gritty, dirty, just plain unpleasant as Scott is still going through the emotions of everything going on in his life. Wanting to protect his homeworld, while still trying to fix his mind. Game of Thrones is a huge influence on this book as it plays around with the concept of hierarchy and some dubious planning by both sides.
The art of Mister Miracle is also what makes this the best comic book of the whole year. The book utilizes the nine-panel grid throughout every issue. Made famous by the work of Dave Gibbons on Watchmen, the format really gives life to the story being told. They flow so fluidly and give a great scope of the world being presented before our eyes. Gerads’ art also helps in the confusion if the events presented are even real. He utilizes distortion and warping techniques on certain panels that really plays with the perception of the reader. Issue three starts to add a whole new level look to everything and it sticks with you long after you’ve read it.
“Darkseid Is” is a recurring panel throughout the book and it seems to be the depression itself reminding Scott and us reading it that it will always be there. You can never outrun it, but also reminds us that we are stronger than what our mind thinks of us. We can, we will overcome our own insecurities, make sure that whatever life we lead is for the best reasons.
Mister Miracle is a triumph of bold storytelling. The book tackles the reality of a hard subject to talk about, but it handles it with such honesty and embraces the darkness that lurks behind the corner for us all. Tom King and Mitch Gerads have created 2017’s most memorable comic book. Come the last days of December, I’m still gonna be singing the praises of this book.
Have you read Mister Miracle yet? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comment below!