Review: Mister Miracle #1
Jack Kirby fans like myself have been waiting with baited breath to see the return of our beloved escape artist superhero Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle and his possibly even more beloved mighty wife, Big Barda.
Jack Kirby was one of the greatest artists in any medium. The characters in this book were among those closest to him so the stakes on bringing them back are very high. So even with award winners like Tom King (writer), Mitch Gerads (art), and Clayton Cowles (letters) on board I still wasn’t sure what to think until I saw the Big Reveal.
Well gasp and cheer fellow fans of the Fourth World: Mister Miracle Lives Again! This first issue is tremendously moving– so beautiful and painful it left me on the edge of my seat from suspense and emotion.
The series is already dealing with the key themes Kirby established for Mister Miracle back in 1971: escape and freedom vs destiny or death, nature vs nurture, performance and authenticity. It also delves into Scott’s status as a survivor of abuse, and now as someone struggling with depression.
Scott is literally an escape artist and performer and his performance is at the heart of this issue. How does he present himself and his struggles to the public? To his family? To himself? Can he perform super-powered masculinity as his culture demands he do?
I love what artist Mitch Gerads does with the characters’ faces. The older Scott we see here is exactly the right combination of handsome and weary, even when smiling at the camera in panel #1. I want to give him a hug. Barda is so very tall and strong, using her superior size to envelop her husband protectively or intimidate others when needed. She is one of the few female characters in comics who’s allowed to be physically larger than men and have visible muscles. Scott’s assistant Oberon has never looked more like Jack Kirby himself than he does here.
Barda and Scott are one of comic’s great love stories. Kirby’s wife, Roz was part of his inspiration for Barda. Gerads draws Scott and Barda’s body language with each other so effectively that words aren’t needed.
And then, when he needs levity to show how Scott Performs, he brings out the rubber faces we came to associate with the characters during their series in the 80s and Justice League International. This combination shouldn’t work– but it does.
Mister Miracle has finally survived the trap of one-note portrayals that occurred in many of the team books in which he’s appeared. This comic is darker in tone than Kirby’s original series but the questions Kirby interrogated in his series are all still in this comic. This is Mister Miracle.
The issue ends on a troubling cliffhanger but I think this team understands the stakes it took and I can’t wait for issue 2.
I’d give the comic a content warning for suicidal actions and familial abuse.
Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads Cover Art: Nick Derington
Story 9.5 Art 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review