For decades, Scott Free — better known as Mister Miracle — has been a cult figure in DC Entertainment’s comic book mythology. Part of the “Fourth World” cycle of books created by comic book legend Jack Kirby, he was a member of the Justice League and has been revived a number of times since his original appearances, but never quite hit it big … until this month.
The new Mister Miracle series marks the third collaboration between writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads, following their critically acclaimed Sheriff of Babylon miniseries for DC’s Vertigo imprint and a handful of issues of the current Batman series. It’s also, after the Aug. 9 release of its first issue, a contender for the most buzzed-about comic of the year.
“The reaction has been crazy. I’ve never done anything in my career that has had this kind of reaction,” Gerads tells Heat Vision via phone. “My first instinct after [the first day of release] was to go over the PDF of issue two about a hundred times to make sure that it’s good.”
The first issue of the series sold out on the distributor level within 24 hours of release, with a second print due in stores on the same day as the second issue next month. Critically acclaimed across the board, the series takes the Kirby character — who first appeared in 1971’s Mister Miracle No. 1 — in a new direction that sees him struggle with the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt while fighting to save his home planet from the forces of Darkseid.
The result is a comic that’s heartbreaking, complex and subtle — and a million miles away from Kirby’s bombastic style of storytelling. According to King and Gerads, that was a deliberate decision.
“A lot of people have done Kirby, and they’ve done him very well, but you can’t be smarter than Kirby, you can’t be more imaginative than Kirby,” says King. Gerads agrees. “You can’t out-Kirby Kirby, and I think that’s where a lot of creative teams in the past had gone wrong with Kirby properties — their first instinct is, ‘Oh, I want to homage Kirby, I want to do what Kirby did.’ And nobody can do that except Jack Kirby!” According to King, the two decided that “the way to pay tribute to Kirby was to try and do something new — to try and take what he had done and add our strengths to it, which is what I think he would do.”
The final pages of the opening issue of the series sent Mister Miracle and his wife, Barda, back to his home world, New Genesis, to face Darkseid’s army, and preview pages for the second issue below show some of what follows. King teases, however, that what lies ahead in the rest of the series isn’t what anyone would expect.
“I’ve seen a lot of people guessing what this comic is online, and it’s not what you think it is, which I think is the best thing about it,” he says. “What makes me so excited about this comic is that it transitions between two different worlds. It lives in [a] Game of Thrones world, and also kind of a domestic drama world. I think that contrast is what I’m most excited about people seeing — that we can be both things at the same time and create that dramatic tension.”
Mister Miracle No. 1 is available now, with the second issue currently available for preorder and released in comic book stores and digitally Sept. 13.