Review: Mister Miracle #1

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Mitch Gerads

 

Summary

Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks.

You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick—except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.

This is a MISTER MIRACLE unlike any you’ve read before.

 

Positives

Honestly, after my first reading I couldn’t figure out if I liked it or not. I was shell-shocked and not entirely sure I knew what had happened in the book. After a second, more careful reading, I decided that this book was deliberately designed to make you feel that way. When that clicked, I realized how great this book was.

Scott Free spends most of the issue in a similar state. In a state of shock, not acting, just reacting to the world around him. We seem to have a standard New Gods storyline going on, Darkseid has finally attained the Anti-Life Equation, Highfather has been killed, and Orion has called Mister Miracle and Big Barda to aid in the battle against Darkseid, but Scott doesn’t seem to be able to become emotionally involved.

Something seems very wrong here, and I have a theory that Scott is involved in some virtual existence that he needs to escape from, and I think that escape is going to be the central story of this mini-series.

There are clues that this reality Scott is in isn’t real. He’s having hallucinations of Oberon, who supposedly has died previously. Orion seems to have a face similar to Darkseid’s grey stony visage under his helmet. Both Orion and Barda subject Scott to what appears to be one of Granny’s training exercises. Scott appears on a TV show hosted by Glorious Godfrey. And the most illogical of all is the idea that Scott would kill himself so that he could “escape death.”

Instead, I think Scott’s suicide attempt was an attempt to break out of the false reality he finds himself in. But this is just my interpretation of this issue’s events. Future issues will tell if I am on the right track or just barking up the wrong tree.

I also like the little detail of using the cover from Mister Miracle #1 (from the original Kirby series) as a promotional poster for Scott’s escape artist act.

And the constantly repeated black panels containing only the sentence “Darkseid is.” grow more ominous with each repetition. I find it very sinister that the sentence ends with a period, and not an ellipsis to indicate that it may be hinting at something like “Darkseid is coming” or “Darkseid is triumphant.”

Rather, it just states that “Darkseid is.” In a lot of Judeo-Christian theology it is thought that “God is,” meaning that God’s ultimate essence is that He exists – he is existence itself. What could be more terrifying than Darkseid trying to ascend to the level of God (the Presence in DCU terms) Himself, except the possibility of him succeeding.

Also, thank you Tom King for setting the record straight and referring to Mister Miracle as Scott Free, and not “Scot Free” as was continuously being done in his New 52 appearances. Granny Goodness named him Scott Free as a joking reference to the phrase “scot free,” she didn’t actually give the phrase itself as a name.

 

Negatives

The only flaw I can find in the story is that it leaves you hungry to find out what the Hell really happened in this issue, and then leaving you only able to speculate for a month until the next issue. Arrgh!

 

Verdict

Do not miss out on this series. It’s one of DC’s most fascinating characters written and drawn by one of DC’s hottest creator teams. If the quality is maintained from this issue, it should easily be one of DC’s biggest hits of the year.

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.