Mister Miracle

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

ARC from Netgalley.
WAY OVER HYPED!
I am familiar with the New Gods, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, Darkseid and Highfather, New Genesis and Apokolips and all that... and have never been much of a fan. This book was a lot darker than I expected it to be, as war is pretty prevalent throughout. There is some humor to it all, but not nearly what I was expecting from all the hype and reviews I read. Art was not horrible, but nothing to write home about. 
Overall, I was disappointed by how this turned out. Just goes to show that too much hype can ruin a good book. 
If you enjoy these characters, read this book. If not, skip it.
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Scott Free, a.k.a. Mister Miracle, is an escape artist, an alien god, and a superhero, but this story is miles removed from typical superheroics.  This is a story about escaping.  In places it is about escaping from the trauma of an abusive childhood and escaping from the horrors of war.  In other places it is about escaping from the banality of everyday life.  Scott and his wife Barda debate renovating their condo while dodging death rays and acid gas.  They prepare for the birth of their first child while serving as generals in an interplanetary war in which billions are dying.

The book opens with Scott bleeding on the bathroom floor after a suicide attempt.  He tries to play this off as the ultimate escape attempt: escape from death itself, but clearly something is very wrong with Scott.  We learn early on that Darkseid has acquired the Anti-Life Equation and may be using it to warp reality and drive Scott insane.  As the story progresses it increasingly becomes more about the daily trials of a young married couple who have just become parents for the first time.

In the end Scott may have found his escape not by defeating the forces of cosmic evil but by embracing his role as a husband and father.  On the other hand, none of it may be real and he never escaped at all.  It is almost a "choose your own adventure" story in that sense.  The artwork is as unconventional as the story, with the artist capturing the affect of the rolling distortion of a weak signal on an old broadcast TV to convey they warping of reality or the distorted perception of it as the case may be.  

I must admit I have no idea what the current status of the New Gods is in DC comics continuity.  A few years back Jim Starlin did a mini-series in which the New Gods were killed off.  Then almost immediately afterwards Grant Morrison killed them again in Final Crisis.  I know Geoff Johns recently did a Darkseid War series in Justice League, but I have not read it.  Mister Miracle does not appear to be part of regular continuity, but it could be.  I would not recommend Mister Miracle as anyone's first exposure to the New Gods, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has read a lot of comics and is familiar with the tropes of the medium and its various deconstructions.
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Scott Free is Mister Miracle, escape artist extraordinaire. But is he really free? Or is life just a trap? After reading this twisting tale of escape, responsibility, birth, death, and trying to be a god and a family man, the reader needs to decide for themselves what escape really means, not to mention life. And the answer is not 42.
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Who is Scott Free? He is definitely ha7nted. He deals with his past (growing up on Apokalips), his present (marriage and career as an escape artist), and his future (being a father.) Maybe he’s a superhero. Maybe he’s a general in an intergalactic ear. Maybe he’s part of a superhero team. Maybe he is the son of Darkseid, Maybe superheroes only exist in comic books. Maybe he is flitting between different universes. Maybe he is dead. How do you live when you doubt reality?

The artwork does a great job to reflect these intricacies and intersections. Strict adherence to the nine panel format of old comics means that Scott is always connected to his past, whether likes it or not. At a few points, parallel stories or lives or narratives are shown in alternating panels or even entire pages. Dialogue about the mundane details of life is paired with space opera/fantasy visuals. It keeps the reader off balance.

In the end, Scott makes his own decisions. The reader gets to chose their own answer. A satisfying conclusion without being a pat ending.
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Mister Miracle is one of the characters born out of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World explosion following his departure from Marvel. He took the new mythology approach he introduced in The Eternals at Marvel, and blew it up on the big screen at DC, construction the cosmology of the New Gods. Mister Miracle, the ultimate escape artist, saw quite a bit of coverage, but in recent years hasn’t made much of a significant impact. Meanwhile, Tom King had just finished up his rather stunning run on Vision at Marvel, and shifted over to DC to write Batman. Which is when these two worlds collided, leaving us with Miracle Man.

You just know a story is going to be happy when it opens up with the protagonist bleeding out on a bathroom floor after he just slit his own wrists. The story continues this dark angle, as Scott Free, Miracle Man, struggles to make it through his life. His responsibilities as a husband, as the son of the leader of the new gods, his childhood trauma, and his mental health are all leaving him overwhelmed and unable to continue. Yet things only get worse as Darkseid obtains the anti-life equation and leads the forces of Apokolips in waging a war against New Genesis, home of the New Gods. Scott Free must navigate his life as the conflict that rages around him becomes almost as desperate as the conflict that rages within himself.

First and foremost, this is a personal tale of Scott Free, as well as his wife, Big Barda. It does have action and an intergalactic war between gods does occur, but the focus is always on Mister Miracle’s personal struggles throughout. And in that, it is brilliant. Much as he did with Vision, King dives deep into the inner ravages of his tortured protagonists, peeling back the layers on the realities behind the extraordinary exteriority they present as super heroes. This is a heavy read, and it will really hit home at times with readers. Yet through it all, it presents itself along a path of hope, and readers will be fighting right alongside Scott as he seeks meaning to his life.

Miracle Man is highly recommended to adult readers seeking a heady, mature comic that asks deep existential questions and doesn’t provide easy answers. This feels like a continuation of King’s work on Vision and, before that, his novel A Once Crowded Sky.

CONTENT NOTE: As mentioned above, Miracle Man does include pretty direct depictions of a suicide attempt, and the characters discuss significant childhood trauma. These could both be triggering, so please keep them in mind as you consider reading this collection.

Review will be available at the provided link on 3/28/19
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Here is our review from AiPT!: 

“I can always escape!”

Synthesis. That’s very much the word that comes to mind when one looks upon Tom King, Mitch Gerads and Clayton Cowles’ smash success maxi-series Mister Miracle. Tom King’s a writer that’s made his bones out of maxi-series at the big two, from The Omega Men and The Vision to The Sheriff of Babylon. He’s very much a scribe that enjoys working in the 12-issue format, writing to its exact pace and requirements. The former is a cosmic war epic, whilst the other is a family tragedy set in suburbia, with the latter book being a war-noir story set in Iraq, inspired by King’s experiences there during the war. All of them are vastly different books, but all of them are bound by the same core ideas and themes, explored through a multitude of lens’ and genres. All of them feature King’s penchant for the classic 9-panel grid.

But they also feature another’s love for the grid: Mitch Gerads. Gerads was the co-creator of The Sheriff of Babylon, working with King to build a book of relentless formalism. Cowles, on the other hand, lettered The Vision and pulled off the third person omniscient narration that was so vital to the book, alongside some other demanding tasks. So many variables, all linked by Tom King. And in Mister Miracle, they all come together as one. Gerads’ grasp of the grid and textured artwork full of great range and grit, Cowles’ meticulous mastery of controlling the reader’s eye to best suit the story, King’s existential tales rooted in trauma. Sheriff’s grounded drama, Vision’s struggles of domestic life and sacrifices for family, Omega Men’s mythic and cosmic scope, all these disparate elements, which worked to great effect on their own, with specific creatives serving them, are brought under one unified umbrella this time around. Mister Miracle is all of the above. But it’s also more. It’s a razor-sharp refinement of the entire team’s skill-set and work up to this point, one that synthesizes all the best elements of their oeuvre’s into one work of art. A Magnum Opus.

http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2019/02/20/mister-miracle-review-a-magnum-opus/
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My first exposure to Mister Miracle was not through the work of Jack Kirby, but rather through the post-Legends Justice League and his eponymous 80s title.

Neither of these lighthearted romps could ever have prepared me for the breathtakingly beautiful piece of storytelling created by Tom King and Mitch Gerads.

Less about daring escapes and costumed heroics and more about family and mortality, Mister Miracle dives deep into the Fourth World and peels back the layers on long established characters to give them a vibrant new life.

Opening with Scott Free attempting suicide in an attempt to escape death, the series only gets deeper from there.  Sure, Mister Miracle hangs out with Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, but that is largely just a callback to lighter fare.  No, the heart of this story, as has often been with this character, is the relationship between Mister Miracle and his wife, Big Barda.

The pair experience the highs of parenthood and the lows of war.  They also learn to balance the two.  This is no mean feat, but the genuine talent King brings to his tale makes it a joy to behold...page after page.

The unorthodox artwork of Mitch Gerads is the perfect compliment to King's storytelling.  It's atypical tone is the perfect successor to Kirby.  The panels seem slightly out of sync.  The colors bleed and blur.  In short, it's a headtrip.

I truly can't wait to read this story again.  The characters burst with life.  The story lingers long after the last page is turned.  The Frees have taken their place as one of the great DC couples.

Mister Miracle is available now wherever you buy your comics.  Pick it up and dive in.  There will be no escape for your free time once you start reading.

OUR HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION
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This new interpretation of Mister Miracle is something that grows on you the more you read. Writer Tom King humanizes a New God. Something that is hard to do in the pages of a comic. The story starts off with Mister Miracle cutting his wrists with a razor blade. The rest of the book examines the why. Writer Tom King hints that perhaps this is Mister Miracle/Scott Free, the Greatest Escape Artist in the World, trying to complete his greatest escape. That is the beating of Darkseid and his “anti-life equation”. To do this, Scott Free creates a normal, human-like existence with himself and Big Barda and even creates life by impregnating Big Barda and having two children. Another idea that is floated toward the end of the story, is that since everyone else around Scott Free is dying, that perhaps Scott Free has died of a suicide and is in hell trying to perpetuate his greatest escape that of escaping death. Tom King leaves both theories unanswered.
Tom King visits and destroys Jack Kirby’s New Gods. Readers who find the New Gods sacred will find this story blasphemous. At times the story is like a bad romantic novel that goes on just too long. Artist Mitch Gerads with his art makes life seem so normal and a daily experience. His filmstrip style of art makes the reader feel like they are viewing a photo album or a photo booth filmstrip. His artistic detail is almost overlooked because of this. He handles the subject of life and war with intrinsic care and feeling.
Meet: Mister Miracle is not your regular superhero book. Geared toward the adult market with ideas that are far-reaching, this book is not for everyone. But if you like great art and mind challenges, this might be for you.
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How perfect that this book delves into the dark side of Scott Free. A character with an upbringing like his should not be all charm all the time, and King balances a tale of war and emotional damage with truly laugh-out-loud moments of dark humor.
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When Jack Kirby created Mister Miracle and the rest of the New Gods, it's hard to know whether he ever would have expected this level of depth and intensity from his new sandbox. The New Gods and the Fourth World saga weren't commercially successful on first release, so he probably didn't imagine the stories that could be told two decades into the 21st Century. 
I was not prepared for this Mister Miracle story. Tom King has written what is easily the best Scott Free story since Kirby put words to pictures. This isn't just another story of the world's greatest escape artist foiling the bad guys. King and Mitch Gerad's heartbreakingly personal work finds the survivors of abuse inside Scott and Barda. This story is about a war for the fate of millions, alongside a deeply intimate look at PTSD, survivors guilt and mental illness. 
This is a masterpiece. No hesitation required. This along with "Batman: White Knight' are proof that DC are interested in taking some strange and wonderful chances with their characters. What a beautiful work of art this is.
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As a fan of the Justice League International, I was thrilled to see Mister Miracle given another shot at a stand alone book. Then I read this volume. It was so different than I expected. The current Mister Miracle series is a far cry from King Kirby’s New Gods and from Giffen and DeMatteis’s JLI. With all the story and pathos of the modern age books, this is more reminiscent of James Robinson or even Neil Gaiman. A spectacular read I’d recommend to anyone.
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Mister Miracle collects the critically acclaimed comic book run by Tom King into a convenient trade paperback. Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle, and his wife Big Barda struggle to move beyond their traumatic childhoods while being drawn into a power struggle on New Genesis. In the wake of a suicide attempt, Scott tries to reconcile the absurdity of superhero life with the realities of his everyday life. The art and writing are phenomenal, with hints of a larger issue sprinkled between the pages. Be sure to read the condo renovation fight scene for a perfect encapsulation of the series as a whole!
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Scott Free is Mister Miracle.  He has done many successful scapes.  He is hoping to escape death.  Does he?  This is a graphic novel that made me question is this story real?  Did the war between light and dark gods happen or was a hallucination?  It is a sad story.  However, I hope that Scott and Barca (his wife), have a better future.  

Gerard stunning art shows the differences between the New God stuff and Scott and Barda’s Civilian lif.  I’m still not sure what is “real” and “not real” as I was never completely sure what was “real.”  It’s a great story regardless., read it!
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This was an incomplete collection. I was warned that before requesting. THAT BEING SAID: this story is so disparate and cerebral that it killed the story not knowing how it ended. Mister Miracle is, arguably, a largely unknown entity in modern comics. Many of the characters in this story are lesser known today in the larger DC canon. I don't know a lot about the New Gods or many of the characters here, so I was curious as to how Tom King (whose work I read regularly and hold in high regard) was going to approach this story.  
The art work by Mitch Gerads was top notch and really held my attention even when this started to meander all over the place. I wanted to like this, really I did.  I wanted to have faith that Tom King was going to help me understand who these people were without having to do an entire origin story... Instead I got an incomplete collection from DC that just left me angry about trying so hard to stick with it. I figured I'd have a good enough handle on the people and story it wouldn't be as big of a deal that it was missing the last 2 comics. 
I was wrong. I didn't care about Darkseid or any of the other antagonists here. I wasn't sure who half the people were and with what seems like a really dense back story and universe, I wasn't sure what the stakes were supposed to be for Scott Free or his wife Big Barda who was interesting here, but never really fleshed out as an individual. 
Disappointed is putting it mildly. Tom King is better than this and I'm guessing Mister Miracle is too. I don't even know if I have it in me to try and hunt down the last 2 comics to figure out if any kind of resolution was ever reached.
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Tom King and Mitch Gerads are back again, proving that they're the ultimate dream team. The duo clearly work so well together and have settled into a way to bounce off each other to bring out the best in one another. Mister Miracle is a phenomenal title featuring a brilliant story paired with stunning art that brings underutilized characters back into the spotlight.
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A modern existential classic. King and Gerads are an incredible comic book duo. Mister Miracle will challenge mature readers as they are asked to contemplate life, anxiety, and the comics medium.
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This was a long Mind bending and dark read. So many moral Quandaries. There are things that happen that make you question if this story is all in the main Character Mister Miracle's head. It balances war and family life and really succeeds on making you feel like you are a part of Scott Free's world and really care about the characters around him. it ended on a cliff hanger so I need to know what happens next!
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This book is cool and interesting, and does a lot of juxtaposition of different perspectives, mixing mundane dialog with costumed super-heroics. However, unless the reader is deeply immersed in DC lore, particularly the New Genesis plot lines and lesser-known characters, it's easy to get completely lost. There's layers upon layers of references, cameos, and comic history piled up in this book. As a casual DC reader, I felt like I really wasn't getting the full scope of what was going on. I picked up a few names, a few references, but mostly I just felt overwhelmed, especially since this seems to tie in to some of DC's darkest stories.
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I was very impressed by Tom King's writing on Mister Miracle.  It captures the mundane details of life along with fantastic adventures.  The psychological overtones are disturbing, in a good way, and keep you guessing.  I particularly like the Big Barda character, who is as important as the title character in the book.
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Somewhere Jack Kirby is puking. 

The art is interesting but the story is absurd, and not in a Kirby way.  A frustrating attempt,to be hip. Just give us good comics, DC.
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