Review: MISTER MIRACLE #2

MISTER MIRACLE #2
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads, Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 13, 2017

After a first issue like what Mister Miracle’s creative team delivered back in August, how exactly do you follow up such a great piece? A series like this, one written by a fantastic author such as King and visually represented through Gerads’s art, is a weird animal. On one hand, I could go out of my way now and just tell you, “if you like Fourth World material? If you like Jack Kirby’s universe of characters? Buy this book.” I am going to do that, don’t worry, but there is so much more about this book that you need to know before buying it.

The previous reviewer of Mister Miracle #1, Doug Zawisza, poignantly commented how that issue was worth numerous readings. I took that to heart myself after I read his review and then read issue #1. Darkseid is.

So, why should you buy this book? Just because it is a continuation of a great first issue? Sure, there is that, but there is something else at play in King’s narrative that is so insidiously ingenious that I actually am having a hard time putting it into words. Really, you’ll know what I mean when you read the book, but let me try and explain why this issue is a screaming mind trip with just one example: Granny Goodness.

Granny Goodness is a weird character, okay? Straight up, she is the personification of Kirby’s weirdest, darkest concepts for how compassion and affection can be turned into torture and damn if that isn’t a hard thing to really ‘get.’ There will always be Ed Asner’s standout take on the vocals of the character (and, who will remain the voice of Granny in my mind, forever), but a lot of comics really dig making her stand out just a vehicle for torture.

She is so much worse than that, and that is something King hits out of the park. Granny isn’t just horrifying because she’s cruel (and she has one particularly awful act in this issue. You’ll never see Jello the same way again), she is awful because she can also care. Or, can she? That is the trick, figuring out what aspects of her kindness are genuine and what are extensions of her methods of torture. Is there a difference? If she really did love anyone or anything, would it matter? There is a riddle at the heart of Granny’s relationship with Scott that plays out through this issue and it is haunting because, so far, there is no easy answer. We’ll all simply have to keep reading the story to see where everything leads.

There are many other components I could comment on, such as Orion’s status change from Issue #1 to this issue, or how there seems to be something ‘wrong’ with the story that is playing out, but really, much of the issue hinges on Scott and Granny. Darkseid is.

This issue’s art is steeped in darkness, as befits any rendition of Apokolips. To my mind, Gerads’s choice of presenting the landscape through filtered, flat art on which the dynamic characters like Scott and others are drawn is a way to try and depict how lifeless and empty Darkseid’s kingdom is. The opening art is a particularly ghoulish 3×3 layout on which a parademon stands out in stark contracts against a red, flat landscape. While I was at first turned off by the style, it soon became sort of hypnotic and helped establish the dread and desolation of the planet. Gerads’s ability to depict expression is, as mentioned earlier, uncanny. There are minor hints at personality (and, some larger manifestations of emotion) that are carried without words, which is, for myself, the best praise I know how to give an artist on a comic.

Mister Miracle #2 adds to a series that already stood out with dynamic vision and craft, and is now all the stronger. Check it out, read it, re-read it, and tell your friends. Darkseid is.

The Verdict: 10/10

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