Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mister Miracle explores real life

A good friend of mine recommended Tom King’s Mister Miracle to me, saying it was the best thing he’s read since All Star Superman or Sandman. Certainly strong praise in my eyes.

So, I read it.

I have long been a fan of Mister Miracle. He’s a great character visually and symbolically. He was designed to be an expression of freedom and individuality.

And Tom King took him to a darker place than I think I’ve ever seen the character go. I am not sure if I can honestly say that I had fun but I do think that the series had impact and power and actually had something to say.




The series starts with Scott Free, Mister Miracle, trying to commit suicide, which pretty much tells you what kind of ride you are in for. In fact, one theory is that the rest of the series is a dying hallucination, like the movie Jacob’s Ladder. From there, Scott deals with work, depression, parenthood and marriage. Work means both performing as an escape artist and fighting in a war, by the way.

The series doesn’t have a lot of big, epic, cosmic moments. Instead, it has a lot of little moments that resonate a lot more with real life than most comic book hero stories. In particular, Scott and Barda becoming parents and coping with a newborn rang true to my memories of that experience.

There’s a lot of black humor in Tom King’s Mister Miracle. The scenes where both Orion and Darkseid have a snack from vegetable trays are hysterical. But they don’t subtract from how grounded the series is. They just remind us how life sometimes is funny, even when it’s also horrible. 

The series also addresses Scott Free’s origins more seriously and more deeply than I think they ever have. I am pretty sure that Jack Kirby meant for Scott rising up from the abuse and drugs of Granny Goodness to represent the power of free will. Tom King asks ‘Okay, what kind of damage is that really going to do?’

I have now read and heard different interpretations of what the ending means. Personally, I’m going with that the decision to live a real, grounded life is at least as valid as being some kind of cosmic superhero.

I read that part of the inspiration for the series was how the political events of 2016 started giving Tom King panic attacks. I can see how that might be true and how the series is about working through that. 

Not a fun series. Maybe one of the best uses for Mister Miracle ever.

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