GRAPHIC NOVEL WEEK
I fully admit that I haven’t been reading many comics or graphic novels lately, and I was only peripherally aware of Mister Miracle as a character when I saw the opportunity to get an ARC of this book. The blurb sounded interesting and I was definitely ready for a new foray into the graphic novel world.
Or at least I thought I was.
There’s a war on Apokolips and Darkseid and Highfather are fighting over something (Anti-Life Equation?). Mister Miracle, aka Scott Free, is being drawn into the family feud very much against his will. Scott and his wife, Big Barda, are trying to live a mundane life on Earth – if being members of the JLA can be considered mundane.
But in an effort to get him involved in the family feud, Scott’s half-brother Orion has put Scott on trial and he’s sentenced to death if convicted. Why? Um … I don’t remember. I don’t think it was important. What IS important is that Scott doesn’t seem too concerned about it. Rearranging the living room furniture or finding a bathroom while in a meeting have just as much importance as being on trial for Scott.
The story was trying to be so honest and real that it became boring.
I just don’t know what to make of this story. As someone not really familiar with the character of Mister Miracle, I definitely wasn’t given much of an introduction. Or, if I was, I didn’t care about him. There were moments that were interesting, but moments don’t equal a dramatic twelve-part story.
The art was equally confusing for me. There was a real sense of being a television storyboard. To the point that a panel would get blurry and have wavy lines – as in a bad transmission of an old television show. But I’m not sure why. Is this just a subtle way of telling us that things aren’t ‘right’ in Scott’s world? I don’t know.
Most (all?) of the book has the exact same layout on each page … a nine panel grid. That’s quite unusual, but artist Mitch Gerads mostly works this quite well, varying each page as much as possible given the same layout page after page. Perhaps this backfires just a bit. Since the story seems to go nowhere, the art here doesn’t help but repeating the same format. On more than a couple of pages the same picture is repeated in each of the nine panels – sometimes with a very slight difference, sometimes with no difference other than the dialog. Given that I’m not familiar with the character and confused by the story, this didn’t help me appreciate the book.
Strangely, I didn’t hate this, though. I definitely had to be in the ‘right’ state of mind when I sat down to read this (and I wasn’t, always) and it took me longer than usual to read this graphic novel because of that.
But this raises a question … who is this targeted at? Is a book like this really only for the die-hard comic/graphic novel fans? Surely there aren’t that many who are familiar with this character (maybe I’m wrong). But is this enough of an audience to support the cost of printing a novel like this? Or is something like this supposed to appeal to someone like me … someone who will read a graphic novel if it looks appealing and could even get hooked on it if done well even though I don’t know the main character. Because if it’s the former, fine. Those people are probably going to read and enjoy the heck out of this. But if it’s the latter, then this just fails.
Looking for a good book? Mister Miracle is a graphic novel that starts out with some promise but never clearly defines what it is striving for.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Tom King
artist: Mitch Gerads
publisher: DC Comics
paperback, 320 pages