If he was alive today, legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby would have been 100 years old in the weird age of 2017. You hear his name, and you immediately link it with the Golden and Silver ages of Marvel and DC. A name that was behind the architecture of icons and legends, whose art was decades ahead of the entire industry.
You think of Jack Kirby, and you think of the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and the Mighty Thor. Heroes of an age that blazed a path. While Kirby’s work at Marvel was undeniably ground-breaking stuff, I always felt that his later years at DC were his own personal golden age. The New Gods is an aunderrated treasure, a gift that has kept on giving with a universe of titans that included mad gods and the ultimate struggle between good and evil.
Soldier deities and the pursuit of ultimate power aside, one of the best characters in that modern day pantheon has always been Mister Miracle. An immortal escape artist who makes David Blaine look like a charlatan in comparison. There’s nothing that Scott Free cannot escape from…except perhaps himself, as DC’s Tom King and Mitch Gerard have revived Kirby’s escape artist Jesus for a series that has the new god stuck in the ultimate trap.
Mister Miracle #1 is a stark contrast to the Scott Free that you might remember. Underneath the bluster and smile of one of the biggest celebrities on our planet, there’s a man there who might not have truly escaped the horror of a childhood raised on Apokolips and the horrific schooling of Granny Goodness while Darkseid watched on.
Mister Miracle is damaged goods, a being who cannot truly die and early on attempts the “ultimate escape” via suicide. Scott is stuck between life and death, a reality he cannot trust while the growing threat of Darkseid starts to take over the printed page. What begins with a simple black panel and the words “Darkseid is” on them (credit to letterer Clayton Cowles for choosing the perfect font here), quickly spirals out of control once it’s revealed that the ancient enemy of the entire DC Universe has managed to finally obtain the fabled Anti-Life Equation and slay his counterpart Highfather in an invasion of New Genesis.
With the power to rewrite reality, Darkseid’s influence begins to consume more of Mister Miracle and the title chaarcter, as Mitch Gerad’s fantastic art paints a detailed picture of a fractured deity. Sometimes minimalist and often dreamlike, Gerad’s art creates a perfect contrast between Scott’s more lucid states of reality and the times when he begins to question his own sanity as the cleaner pencils begin to become rougher and colourful. This might just be my favourite book on a visual level this year.
In a year where depression and suicide has been in the spotlight this year because of high profile deaths such as Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington taking his own life, Mister Miracle feels like a raw examination of personal trauma. It’s a bizarre book that reveals more of itself the more you read it and analyse the small details in the art that a first glance won’t reveal, as a broken hero finds himself thrust into the utter insanity of the Fourth World.
Jack Kirby would be proud.
Last Updated: August 10, 2017