Tom King and Mitch Gerads Engage Readers with the Marvelous Mundanity of Mister Miracle

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Mister Miracle 6

Mister Miracle -- Scott Free -- is a character that has had me puzzling over him ever since I first encountered him in Jack Kirby's Fourth World comics. Oh, I got his schtick: world's greatest escape artist, so naturally anyone he fought would try to trap him rather than just shoot him or fight him hand-to-hand. And I got that he was in love with this amazon-like Big Barda who used to work for the bad guys. And I even got that he was supposed to be a god -- one of the new ones -- even though he seemed to be the least godlike, relying on tools and technology rather than exhibiting anything remotely deific.

But what I never understood was, how does his mask conform to his face so perfectly? I mean, look at that thing! It curves to his lips, and goes right inside his mouth! He can eat, he can smile, he can shout -- the mask never slips! I have a ski mask. I can tell you, that's not natural.

Eh, it's comics. Go with it.

MISTER MIRACLE #6 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads is a masters class in what can be done with comics using the standard 3x3 panel structure. Keith Giffen knew how to use it (without ever changing the image!). Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons knew how to use it. And Tom King and Mitch Gerads know how to use it -- and bend it to give it a new purpose. Without splash pages or jump scenes, King and Gerads deliver over-the-top death-defying action that's muted and subdued by a mundane conversation between a man and wife over remodeling their condo. Yes, while they almost absent-mindedly slice through guards and escape death traps, Barda and Scott engage in actual conversation about how to move the walls around in their home to make a second bedroom. Barda wants it, Scott doesn't know why they need it. The tone remains consistent to the end as the two continue their quest for Scott to confront his not-brother Orion.

Scott is a very relateable character to me in regards to his side of the argument. Barda wants to shrink the living room by half. Scott likes his space because his childhood of slavery to Granny Goodness had him locked in a cell. (I just grew up in a small trailer). "Making things smaller doesn't always make them better," he tells Barda. "My room in the X-Pit: I lived in a three-by-three box."  It took me a second reading to get the pun there -- because throughout the whole comic book, Mister Miracle is living in a 3x3 page. Barda reminds him, "You grew up in a box. You want to escape the box. But if you're escaping the box, then you're still in the box." Perhaps there is allusion here that King and Gerads are attempting to do a Grant Morrison Animal Man here, and have Scott "escape" the comic book, and break that fourth wall. Fourth World, fourth wall, Source Wall... it could work. (There is even a throwaway conversation between two guards wondering what the first three worlds were if this is the fourth one.)

There's also a television show effect happening in the artwork whenever anyone from Apokolips gets involved that has been persistent from the first issue, with narration from Funky Flashman that leads one to think that this is all some sort of a televised reality show that Mister Miracle has become trapped in.

One thing is for sure, however. There's a new New God on the throne when this one's all over, and the ride is just beginning.

5.0 / 5.0