Hey there! Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews. This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.
This is a special edition of Preview Reviews. Normally we are very careful to keep our analysis spoiler free, and we have not done a collected trade before, but we are making exceptions to both those rules for this book.
This week’s preview comic is the collected trade paperback of Mister Miracle from Tom King and Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics. This series was so special that it requires further analysis and this collected edition allows people who did not read it in single issue fashion the opportunity to read it all at once. Also, I will just read it all again, and I did, … for you.
Here we go…
Mister Miracle TPB
Written by Tom King
Pencils, Inks, & Colors by Mitch Gerads
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Edited by Jamie Rich
Assistant Editors Molly Mahan, Maggie Howell, & Brittany Holzherr
Series Cover Artist Nick Derington
Cover Art by Gerads
Official Solicitation from Previewsword.com:
The critically acclaimed 12-issue mini-series is collected. Scott Free is the greatest escape artist who 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.
Before we get to the analysis, let’s discuss what you are getting in this collected edition. First, the prelude is an eight-page brief history of Mister Miracle that was published in the Director’s Cut version of Mister Miracle #1. The art for that little story was done by Mike Norton with Jordie Bellaire on colors, and Clayton Cowles returning for the lettering. The prelude is followed by all twelve issues in the series. Originally, the plan was to collect this series in two six-issue volumes, but the decision to wait until it was complete and put it all out together was a great choice. Also, in the collected edition is a cover gallery at the end including all the amazing covers by Nick Derington and Mitch Gerads. They are all fabulous. This collection is available on Wednesday February 13th at your Local Comic Shops, and a special cover is available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.
Where to start? Lets begin with the art. Mitch Gerads worked on Starborn for Boom!, The Activity for Image, and The Punisher for Marvel, before beginning his partnership with Tom King. They first worked together on the Vertigo limited series The Sheriff of Babylon, which you should read. In Mister Miracle however, Gerads performed some fantastic feats of illustration. Almost the entire thing is in nine-panel grid pages. The amount of detail squeezed into each panel is incredible. There is a very consistent feel that the regular panel layout brings to this book. However, it is not a normal story, and Gerads method of creating glitches in the visual feed is brilliant. The color choices and application of them are fantastic. There are some consistent themes that run through the book, including the superhero shirts that Scott Free wears when not in costume. Also, the development of Scott’s beard throughout the series is fantastic to watch in this collected edition.
King once said that his inspiration for this story, (I am paraphrasing here) was waking up in America in the late 2010’s and wondering if this was all real? There are several very strong themes that this story is built around. The love story between Scott and Barda is one of the most powerful that I have ever read in any superhero comic. It will fill you with joy and bring you to tears. Their journey is critical to the story. Although, this is about Scott’s escape, his wife is such a part of him that you cannot tell his story without her. The road to parenthood that the couple takes is all to real in so many ways and more bizarre than you can imagine at the same time. Scott’s struggle to conform with the insanity of the world around him and the demands placed on him is another of the central themes to this story and the resolution to it is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Shut the $%&@ up, Lightray!
Beyond the fantastically deep and developed thematic elements to this story, it is also full of exciting action and humorous dialogue. There are a few running jokes that upon a second read of this collection felt like visiting old friends. I just want to highlight a few. There is a scene near the middle of the book where Scott is on trial for treason. He offers to have the trial in his and Barda’s L.A. condo, and they serve a veggie tray to the New Gods. The absurdity of it is hilarious. The concept that there is a refrain through the book that “Batman kills babies” is ultra-ironic considering King’s other job as a Batman writer. However, probably my favorite recurring line through this amazing book is Barda repeating saying, “Shut the $%&@ up, Lightray!” It gets me every time.
Now let’s be clear, I am not the only one who liked this story. King and Gerads won Eisner Awards year for there work on it and it won Best Series at the Ringo! Awards last year. This is one of my all time favorite comic books. It is that good. I will be buying and giving it as gifts for years.
Below is a gallery of some of the covers to this awesome series along with my favorite panel in the whole book.
Mister Miracle and the New Gods were created by Jack Kirby!!!! Thanks Jack!