Friday, July 21, 2017

Fourth World Friday - Mister Miracle!

Mister Miracle appears to have been the most accessible of the Fourth World books since  of all of them it survived a wee bit longer. When it began we meet the original Mister Miracle, the elder Thaddeus Brown and loyal assistant Oberon. The youthful Scott Free appears in time to accept the mantle of the "Super Escape Artist" and uses that role to confront the many varied menaces from Apokolips. We learn in time that Scott Free is the son of Izaya (who became Highfather) and Avia (killed in the beginning of the war) and that his exchange as a  hostage with Darkseid's son Orion became the basis for a tenuous peace which has broken down as our stories here begin.

The Mister Miracle stories had a lighter feel than New Gods for certain and were more episodic than The Forever People. Maybe that made him feel more like a traditional hero, or maybe it's the mask. He looks like a superhero and so must he be. The addition of Big Barda is a tremendous event and adds much to the narrative. She's a bombastic and needless to say attractive character and seeing a woman of such bearing behaving with such bravado and confidence was a real strength of the series.

But in Mister Miracle, it's the villains. Of all the Fourth World books, no title can lay claim to a better rogues gallery. Granny Goodness, Doctor Bedlam, Doctor Virman Vundabar, Kanto the Assassin, and of course the master of Apokolips, Darkseid himself are a worthy gang of baddies. Each is at once a vital character and a parody of same and function on a symbolic level as well. That's a lot of depth for a mere comic book. Mister Miracle is in the final analysis a book about growing up, facing the demons of our  youth, and as we'll see accepting the responsibilities of adulthood. That's the nature of the escape, the escape from the confines of childhood, the limitations of adolescence, and the rigor of adulthood. That's why Mister Miracle is an entertainer, he and his gang take us out of ourselves, they allow us all to escape the mundane.

Here are the early covers for the run.

The Fourth World comes to close next week.

Rip Off


  1. Rip! We're on the same wavelength. I've been on a Kirby kick for over a month now, and after having read the New Gods and the Forever People for the first time in my life, guess what I'm reading now (also for the first time).

    I really love the old 1990s 4th World compilations with the black and white "coloring." It gives Kirby's art a look I had never seen before. For once, a recoloring job on old material got it right, and I think it's because (in addition to the colorist knowing what they're doing) they limited themselves to three grays and no Photoshop special effects.

    1. I suspect the lack of bright coloring is a result of attempting to keep the costs down. When these came out the reprint world was just warming up to the greatness of Kirby. But I agree that these give the stories a fresh take, allowing one to focus on the story more and the art a big less.

      I'm jealous a bit that you are getting into these for the first time. It's a great saga.

      Rip Off

  2. I remember when they came out. (Shame on me for not getting them back then.) I agree about the economy; even the paper is super cheap. Even though I think they did a good job keeping the 64-color format in the handsome reprints from a few years ago, I think the colors seem more saturated then the original comics (as I've seen them on the internet - I've never seen the actual original comics). I guess I prefer the B&W because, in addition to the fresh and different look, I can really get to appreciate Kirby's drawing more, as well as the inks by Royer.

    I only know of these two compilation attempts. And there's a single volume one coming out soon. I wonder what that one's going to look like. Have there been any there any others?


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