The mini-series that began in 2017, written by Tom King and drawn by Mitch Gerads, was one of the most powerful comics I have read in a long time.
I read this book from day one. I had heard that Tom King and Mitch Gerads were collaborating on a new story, I got really excited to see what it was going to be about. Then it was announced that they would be coming out with a Mister Miracle storyline. Mister Miracle is one of the many creations Jack Kirby brought to DC Comics, and has had a few highlights over the years, but has never really had a devoted series like this was sounding to be. A character whose power is that they can escape anything and a past being a soldier on a hellscape world, I was interested in this series and what direction it would go.
Then, I picked up my copy.
The book is not your average comic, there is still action and big set pieces, but there’s more to it. The first issue we see Scott Free (AKA Mister Miracle) dealing with his post-war trauma, struggling with the things he was forced to do and the lives he was made to take on a war he doesn’t believe in. Both he and his wife Barda (AKA Big Barda) we’re raised by Granny Goodness, who was anything but good. They are free from that world, but Scott is battling demons in his head. The first issue shows us Scott can’t take this mental pain anymore, and he tries to take his own life.
Issue one hit hard and hit fast.
This moment is a difficult moment to see, especially if you have ever struggled with thoughts of suicide or had to walk through someone in your life commit suicide. Reading this moment was tough as that is something I had to walk through with the death of my friend, and this moment is handled with care and not to exploit a serious problem. This is the set up for the book, a man who can escape anything, except the pain of his past.
The series then shows Scott’s growth from his lowest moment, picking up the pieces and try to move forward. He is continually contacted by other characters from his home world that are trying to bring him back, and he keeps having to fight to grow and not be brought back into hardship. He tries to hold it together and go forward, but family and old rivals challenge his mental state. In issue four, one of the moments that sticks with me, is that Scott is being questioned for a murder, and forced to tell the truth, he is made to look back at his life and come to face the pain in it. We see Scott break down, something you don’t see all the time in a superhero comic, and he loses it. Another moment that struck me, because at the time of reading this, I was working through some of my own identity struggles and battling with my mental health.
Moments like this make this book unlike many things I have read before. Moments that feel very real and address real issues that most of us face. Scott and Barda half way through the series find out they are pregnant which sets up the plot for the end. In this moment one would think Scott would be afraid, but really it is a rallying point for Scott to face his demons both figuratively and literally. You don’t normally see superhero marriages and families function well, and that’s a great moment in the book. This family is not filled with issues about each other, but fighting the issues trying to break this family down, and it never happens. This family has dealt with hardship and pain, but when it comes to each other, they will defend each other no matter what.
This is a book about mental health and overcoming one of the hardest battles many of us face. Depression is very real and not a quick fix, but with time and support from others around us, we can beat it. Trauma from either abuse or war, can affect how we perceive the world going forward, but we need to make sure we are taking care of our own personal care. Fatherhood and family are not something that should be a burden, but a joy that helps us grow and mature and raise up the next generation. This book highlights real world issues in a fictional setting, one that I think everyone should read. This book opened my eyes and helped me grow in my own struggles, and I hope this book helps many, many more.
I hope this book helps you the way it helped me, enjoy.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__