Malice in Civility in Mister Miracle 9

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

War is hell. It is economically, physically, and psychologically catastrophic for both those waging war and anyone unfortunate enough to be in war’s orbit. But ending a war? Ending a war requires one of two things: one side to be completely destroyed, or an agreement to be reached between the warring parties. Most wars end the second way. Which is borderline unfathomable, right? Imagine sitting down to negotiate with someone who has been systematically, enthusiastically, killing your friends and family every day for months or years. Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle 9 wrestles with the dissonance of trying to make peace out of war. Continue reading

Recurrent Lyrics and Actions Empower Scott in Mister Miracle 8

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

A lot of Mister Miracle stands on the foundation of process and repetition. The nine-panel grid is established early and repeated on every page. All nine panels will be committed to a single action. Then the next nine panels are committed to a different action. This repetition leads to the feeling of being trapped, both for Scott Free and for the reader. But issue 8 finds writer Tom King introducing a sort of rosetta stone for how to find joy and contentment in the inescapable repetition. “Hush, Little Baby.” Continue reading

Mister Miracle 6: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: I had a little bit of a rebellious streak in high school. No, no — not actually in school, but during my confirmation classes. See, I was a good kid, studied hard and had a lot of extracurricular activities, but I couldn’t help but be a smart-ass where it came to my religious education. It’s easy to recognize this as some pretty impotent angst in retrospect: I was only resisting a belief structure which relinquished control over me as soon as I decided there was no God. One of my shit-eatingest points of rebellion was my constant assertion that Jesus didn’t really pay the price of death the way we understand it. Even granting the reality wherein he was crucified and suffered horribly for a couple days, he got to come back afterward. It’s not the act of dying, but the cold state of “not living” that should be the sacrifice. I don’t want to speak for Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ respective rebellious streaks, but it seems like Mister Miracle 6 agrees with at least part of 16-year old Patrick. Risking or sacrificing one’s life is only valuable is the the life itself is something you have to do without.  Continue reading

It’s Kirby vs. Lee in Mister Miracle 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Mister Miracle 5

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Charlie: I’ve written myself into my screenplay.

Donald: That’s kind of weird, huh?

Adaptation

To call Adaptation “kind of weird” would be putting it mildly — ostensibly about Charlie Kaufman’s attempt to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, the movie is ultimately about itself, but becomes this weird fictionalized version of itself, as Kaufman invents a twin brother to introduce hackneyed thriller elements to the film’s closing acts. It’s much, much weirder than someone simply writing themself into their own screenplay. Heck, the actual script is credited to both Charlie and Donald Kaufman, and both were nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay even though Donald is a fictional character (or, arguably, a manifestation of Charlie’s most commercial writing instincts). But I think Mister Miracle 5 might just top it for meta weirdness, serving as a kind of final word on comics’ own Charlie and Donald Kaufman — Jack Kirby and Funky Flashman. Continue reading

The Burden of “Figuring It Out” in Mister Miracle 4

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

There’s really nothing quite like seeing a good close-up magician. As a jaded mega-skeptic, I always convince myself that if I focus hard enough, I can spot the trick. I’m not even sure that I want that–I love being fooled by illusions–but I always try. It feels like a survival tactic: if I can identify the trick, I can rest assured that the universe functions more or less the way I believe it does. If I can’t spot the trick? Well, then how can I ever be guaranteed of what is and is not real? Mister Miracle 4 zeroes in on this idea of focusing harder on what we believe to be a trick. And the truly disquieting thing is, no matter how hard we look, we can’t figure out what’s really happening. Continue reading

The Evasiveness of Identity in Mister Miracle 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Mister Miracle 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

You are what you think all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identity is a frustratingly slippery thing. We all have one, but most of us would be hard pressed to describe what it actually is — what it is that actually makes us who we are. Is it our life experiences? Our relationships? Our interests? The information we absorb? It’s both none of and all of those things (and more). It’s the messiness of that notion that makes characters like Scott Free so compelling; born of New Genesis, raised on Apokolips, he has two families that are now locked in war with one another. The question of who he sides with slips into the messy details of who he is, an issue already strained by the questions he has regarding the very nature of his reality. To extrapolate from Emerson: who are you if you don’t know what to think? Continue reading

Justice League 41

justice league 41

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Justice League 41, originally released June 3rd, 2015.

Michael: My biggest gripe with super hero movies or comic book reboots is that their world isn’t fully-formed; typically we have to wait an hour into the movie before the hero does the hero-ing we came to see. Origins, exposition and plot machinations take up an overwhelming amount of time and space in these situations. “Darkseid War” might be my favorite Justice League story yet because it doesn’t take that commonplace route. While Justice League 41 does have a lot of exposition, we are entering into the fully-formed world of the New Gods of Apokolips. This isn’t the origin story of Mister Miracle; he’s BEEN Mister Miracle for a while now. Continue reading