by Tom King & Mitch Gerads
Mister Miracle, by writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads, continues its trajectory as one of the best comics in years. Issue six marks the books halfway mark with spectacular action scenes across its nine panel grid structure, endearing dialogue, a heartening reveal, and a series turning point; all with the creative talent working at the height of their powers.
Following the plot twist that concluded last issue, Mister Miracle #6 follows Scott and Barda as they fight their way across New Genesis, attempting to find Orion and appeal Scott’s death sentence. During the entire ordeal, Scott & Barda have an ongoing conversation about remodeling their condo. The dialogue feel’s quirky, becomes more revealing about the two characters as it moves forward, and ends up culminating with life changing and joyful news in relation to its ultimate purpose. That good news is quickly overshadowed, as Darksied’s actions towards altering reality take a dark turn in the final two pages. So much of Mister Miracle #6 is impossible to describe without giving away much of the stories power for the reader. Spoilers, in general, are usually a function of readers overrating plot points versus the inherent quality of the art. Yet Mister Miracle #6 is different; while it’s certainly possible to enjoy the issue while already knowing the punch line, it robs the book of much of its power, and the reader of the books experience. If this review comes off as vague, know that it’s in doing so with the interest of the book having a full impact on the reader.
Mister Miracle was our best comic of 2017, and it’s one of the best comics series to come out in years. Writer Tom King already had one masterpiece in his bibliography with The Vision, and he’s done classic runs on Grayson, The Omega Men & Batman to boot. In an era where comics were already being defined by a new set of writing talents rising out of independent publishers to remake the superhero genre, King has come out of nowhere to establish himself as the mediums greatest literary figure for his writings depth & creativity. King impresses here by giving the readers a parallel narrative between the action on the page, Scott & Barda fighting their way through adversaries & fantastical obstacles, and the conversation Barda & Scott are having about their condo. The latter becomes the emotional crux of the issue, both in how it becomes a deeper conversation about the couple themselves, and its ultimate purpose. But the two narratives also work well in concert with another, showing how the two different people leverage their individual strengths and perspectives to be greater as a pair; whether that’s slaying Tidedragons, crossing the forever void, fighting soldiers, talking over why they need less space, or how their upbringing doesn’t have to define them; the central theme of both tracks is how they work together; which makes the books later reveal all the more endearing, and it’s final pages all the more troubling.
For artist Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle has been a revelation for the artists gifts and abilities in visual storytelling; and issue six is quite possibly the best work on the series so far. Mister Miracle is a series that’s made a point of leveraging not just the comics medium in its self, but specifically the nine panel grid structure. Writer Tom King has been experimenting with the style since his seminal Omega Men run, and has been doing so with artist Gerads since they started collaborating together on The Sheriff of Babylon. Mister Miracle has seen the artist elevate the page aesthetic to high art, with issue six being the peek of his powers. There’s incredible straight forward sequences of Barda & Scott dodging lasers, fighting soldiers and walking a tightrope across the forever void.
There’s an amazing two pages with a room closing in to crush the couple where you can measure it’s enclosure by the size of the panel. There’s the two pages that follows Scott & Barda crawl and escape through air ducts followed by them diving into a pool of dragon filled waters.
But beyond the obvious points, Gerads art excels in the details. The level of consistency, and quality of line work from panel to panel can often times suggest a fluidity of a movement from one box to the next. Mister Miracle is a comic that can almost feel like a moving picture as you read it. Part of that comes from the above mentioned stylistic choices, but it also comes from Gerads commitment to fundamentals, and making each panel its own frame.
Look at Scott’s eyes in this two panels from a three panel sequence above (again, spoilers for why it’s only two out of three) It’s a small detail that signals his stillness from one panel to the next, while the second panels shifting of Big Barda’s position with the smoke clearing off his back clearly allows the reader to process the parts of the two panels that are in motion and static on both an obvious (Barda moving, the panels background etc) and granular level (Scott’s exaggerated facial acting, the level of smoke) Gerads manages to encompass so much in each square, and in doing so, let’s the book feel much fuller then it’s standard page count would suggest.
Over the past two weeks, as we’ve compiled our lists for the best comics and their creators of 2017, this sites admiration for Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and their work together on Mister Miracle is readily apparent. Still, it can’t be overstated just how incredible each issue of the series has been so far, and six is no different; it might even be the best installment so far. If you love comics, you’ll love Mister Miracle #6, another brilliant issue from a series that’s defined for it’s excellence.