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Mister Miracle – The Greatest Comic-Book Series Since Watchmen!

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Having just finished reading the Tom King and Mitch Gerads masterpiece comic series – Mister Miracle for the third time, I reasoned it was be about time for an impassioned plea as to why (if you haven’t already, of course) you should rush out to your local comic-book emporium right now and scream at your local comic shop employee until they hand over a copy of the collected version of this stunning story (please don’t actually scream at them, that was just hyperbole on my part, and screaming at someone is very, very bad and could end up with you – getting kicked out the shop, derided by your peers, or even locked in a padded cell, and you aren’t a super escape artist like Mr Miracle… so it’s probably best not to!)

You may be thinking to yourself that this post’s title is a tad controversial considering how many fantastic comic-book tales have been rendered over the decades since Alan Moore’s seminal opus ‘Watchmen’ released in 1986. Of course all views are subjective, and opinions are just that – opinions, but I am definitely not alone in my view that Moore’s daring and controversial take on the popular Superhero medium was (and still is) the greatest literary take on costumed vigilantism of all time, and despite all the stunning storylines and thrilling tales that have been wrought upon the spandex loving comic-book populace over the years, for me, Tom King’s recent 12 issue series for DC Comics ‘Mister Miracle’ is the greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Moore’s superlative scope.

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Tom King and fellow master of the miraculous – artist Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle monthly maxi-series was unleashed unto the fans in August of 2017, in honour of the literal King of Comics – Jack Kirby’s 100th anniversary since birth. Jack Kirby was an American comic-book writer and artist, who is widely regarded as the most influential and innovative creator of the medium, ever!

Kirby has created some of the most famous heroes and villains in comic history, aside from our eponymous protagonist Mr Miracle, Kirby also created The New Gods for DC Comics (which is currently being turned into a movie by director Ava Du Vernay, with a script co-written by Tom King) but it’s his work for Marvel Comics that really brought his genius to the forefront for most fans. Kirby ushered into virtual life well loved characters such as Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Captain America and many, many others for DC’s rival comic book giant. Yet the bubble eventually burst for the Marvel stalwart, after creating, illustrating and writing a plethora of characters, with his books always in high demand, and critically praised by both fellow peers and fans, behind the scenes things were very different for Kirby during his long tenure at Marvel.

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Kirby ultimately (and quite rightly) felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was being treated as a mere writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to what should of been his status as it’s foremost creator having given the company the majority of their most beloved and best selling creations, so, in response to Marvel’s apathy on the subject, he left the company in 1970 to join it’s rival, DC Comics.

Initially signing a three year contract with DC, Kirby went on to create some of his most memorable heroes and villains, from the aforementioned New Gods, plus Etrigan the Demon, The Forever People, Morgaine Le Fay, through DC’s biggest SuperVillain – Darkseid, and of course the titular star of this post, one Scott Free, better known by his costumed moniker Mister Miracle, a super escape artist, whose creation (as I have posited once before) could be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of his previous employment to forge new horizons.

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Phew! after that exhausting (yet hopefully entertaining ) look into the initial creation of Scott Free by his cosmically compelling creator, let’s move on to the latest (and also prodigiously talented) creative team charged with bringing his fans, the next chapter in Miracle’s convoluted life as a super escape artist and costumed hero – Tom King and fellow comic conspirator, Mitch Gerads. King and Gerads’ awe inspiring take on Kirby’s esteemed creation has been an absolute delight from the premier issue onwards, returning us to the daedalian, poignant and ultimately tragic life of the fourth world paragon. 

Miracle has always been an immensely popular second tier character for DC, with a myriad of mini-series and ongoing monthly titles. He was also a welcome addition to the ranks of the Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda) in the mid to late eighties version of the team by the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis. The much anticipated return of Scott Free has, thankfully, not only exceeded all expectation but has, quite frankly, blown said expectations out of the water, the torturous wait for Miracle’s heralded return is worthy of it’s Kirby heritage, of that there is no doubt.

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Mister Miracle is a masterfully woven tale of anxiety, depression, ardour and ultimately family, it is an uplifting fable that eschews the atypical and familiar Superhero tropes to deliver an inspirational and enlightening chronicle about a man ill at ease with the world, searching for meaning beyond what is. King and Gerads’ Miracle is wholly different beast from what many people believe that godlike heroes are, it’s a story about subsistence. Throughout this tour de force of mental dissonance, Scott is represented as just a man, not a new god (as he is) or a Superhero, just a person attempting to make sense of existing, it’s a startling and ultra realistic take on mental health instability, written with a knowing authority yet, compassionate and impassioned to the cognitive disability. In fact the very first chapter begins with Scott (apparently) surviving an attempt to take his own life, the renowned super-escape artist, cheating death itself (possibly)

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As Scott’s beleaguered chronicles continue, his depression becomes more pronounced, with it’s effects on his nearest and dearest, especially devoted wife Barda explored profoundly by the creative duo of King and Gerads. It’s not just the narrative of Miracle though that strays from the well worn path of Superhero fiction but also its astonishing artwork, Gerads experimental illustrations are phenomenal throughout, with my favourite being the distorted panels occasionally punctuated through the story representing Scott’s reality being called into question. In fact fourth wall breaking is brilliantly played in Miracle with at one point in the narrative, Scott literally touching the hand of his own creator as he encounters Jack Kirby’s Hollywood star on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.

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Emotional, poignant, groundbreaking are well deserved superlatives to describe this narrative work of absolute genius, from the exemplary talents of Tom King and Mitch Gerads, an unreserved masterpiece and a must have in any ones literary collection… THE greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Watchmen!

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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exhilarating episode of  ‘The Week In Geek’  where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…

DC Comics Channel Stephen King With – #DCEASED Cover Image…

Comic book writer Tom Taylor has been teasing #DECEASED over the past few weeks with some rather cryptic hints towards some devastating destruction headed towards our beloved DC heroes and their universe. Not only that, but a major death of a classic DC villain also seems to be on the cards as a catalyst for the coming storm… Darkseid, DC’s big bad is largely thought to be in the firing line for this with Taylor’s phrase “Darkseid Was” dominating headlines, an idiom of Grant Morrison’s “Darkseid Is” from his incredible run in the nineties Justice League (with this original phrase also appearing heavily in Tom King’s recent groundbreaking series Mister Miracle)

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Taylor recently posted to Twitter Yasmine Putri’s variant cover for DC’s upcoming event series, with the cover an obvious homage to Stephen King’s frightening horror/thriller – IT. Transposing King’s creepy clown killer for DC’s very own clown prince of crime – The Joker, handing the titular red balloon to what is obviously the Jason Todd version of Robin (who Joker previously killed, rather bloodily, utilising a crowbar) Creepy! #DCEASED is due for release in May.

Detective Comics #1000 Reveals Dozens Of Variant Bat Covers…

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Eight Decades ago what is now known as DC Comics unleashed Detective Comics unto the comic book loving world, this was THE comic book that defined that beloved purveyor of costume clad crimefighters, eventually becoming their famed appellation. Of course Detective’s most distinguished and prominent addition to Superhero lore is the first appearance of comicdom’s, arguably, biggest creation of all time – Masked Manhunter, Caped Crusader and Darkest of Knights – Batman, who made his dynamic debut in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939!

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Eighty years later the SuperVillain punching, long eared, curmudgeonly creature of the night is still stalking the crime ridden streets of Gotham City, and with the 1,000th issue almost upon us, DC are releasing a cadre of compellingly collectable comic covers to celebrate this enormous event. Astonishing artists such as – Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Greg Capullo, Joelle Jones, Frank Miller, Dustin Nguyen and many, many more will be rendering our favourite spandex clad avenger of the night when the title hits your local comic book emporium on March 27th 2019. 

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Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek!

Precinct1313 Recommends: Mister Miracle #1

Tom King is without a doubt the most fitting writer currently working in comics today to take on the legend that is Mister Miracle, not just because he’s a scribe of almost unparalleled talent, but his surname ably pairs him with Miracle’s genius creator – Jack ‘The King’ Kirby! 

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To honour the the 100th anniversary since Jack Kirby’s birth, DC Comics along with aforementioned writer Tom King, and artist Mitch Gerads are reuniting us with one of Kirby’s most beloved and successful creations – super escape artist Mister Miracle, in a 12 part maxi-series that also features The New Gods from DC’s Fourth World Saga – which is widely hailed as being one of the sources that classic sci-fi movie Star Wars was inspired by.

Jack Kirby was an American comic book artist and writer who is one of the most influential and innovative personalities in the medium. Aside from Mister Miracle and The New Gods for DC Comics, Kirby also created such iconic characters as – Silver Surfer, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, X Men and many, many other too numerous to mention.

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Kirby initially was a Marvel stalwart, creating, illustrating and writing a myriad of storylines for the publishing giant, his titles always had high sales and even higher praise, but behind the scenes a different picture was being painted. Kirby felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was seen more as a writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to one of it’s foremost creators and innovators, and in response in 1970, he left Marvel and joined its arch-rival DC Comics.

Signing a three year contract with DC Comics Kirby created some of his most memorable characters, from The New Gods, Etrigan and The Forever People, through DC’s big bad – Darkseid and of course – Scott Free (the perfect moniker, let’s be honest) better known as Mister Miracle, the super escape artist whose creation could almost be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of previous employment to forge new horizons.

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Miracle has been a popular character for DC since his inception, with a slew of ongoing and mini-series, and was an exceedingly welcome addition to the ranks of The Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda, which is a whole other post we can’t wait to get to!), during the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis late eighties entry of the World’s Greatest Superhero team-up.

The much anticipated return of Scott Free is, thankfully, not only been worth the torturous wait but manages to exceed all expectations with a fantastically written tale that gives us a very much grounded portrait of a Superhero, a quirky yet flawed individual who is ultimately struggling to find his raison d’etre.

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As fantastic as the writing is, the art by Gerads is definitely no slouch in comparison, in fact it’s superb! Gerads is an extremely flexible penciller which shines through in his art in this first issue, which at times evokes an almost pitch perfect Kirby-esque feel in the art style.

Mister Miracle #1 is a must buy, featuring one of Jack Kirby’s (definitely my favourite) greatest creations,and a first rate creative team who bring us a powerfully emotional tale that entices you in and holds you entranced until the final page… dammit why isn’t issue 2 out yet!?

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New Comics Spotlight: Batman and Robin #37

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Well this is the big one, a knock down, drag out fight between the Batman and DC’s premier Supervillain the immortal Godlike being Darkseid. This issue brings us the penultimate chapter of the Robin Rises storyline that has been running in Batman & Robin for the past five issues. Batman has been fighting to bring back from the dead his son and former Robin Damian Wayne, and his journey reaches its conclusion on Apokolips with a life or death struggle with it’s ruler Darkseid.

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This isn’t the first time these two titans of comic book lore have fought, though the last time they did Batman found himself on the wrong end of Darkseid’s Omega beams and got vapourised! (eventually coming back from the dead, as all good heroes do), but with the possible resurrection of his son riding on this fight, Batman is more than prepared to make sure that this time he comes out on top.

The Robin Rises story has kept me wanting more every issue so far, I am a big fan of the Damian Wayne Robin and have lamented his untimely death since he was killed by the Heretic (actually an adult clone of Damian) in Batman Inc in 2013. The story comes highly recommended and this issue in particular is a highlight of the series so far.

Batman and Robin #37 is available at your local comic book emporium right now, with the cover and interior art by Mick Gray and Patrick Gleason, written by Peter J. Tomasi with an alternative cover also available drawn by Darwyn Cooke.

New Comics Spotlight: Constantine#19

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New comics Wednesday is here again friends and this time we will spend it in the company of supernatural investigator extraordinaire – John Constantine. As if being stranded in the alternate dimension of Earth 2 isn’t bad enough for the cynical occult detective, the fact that this particular Earth is being ripped apart by Darkseid and his minions only confounds his situation, and all John wants to do is get to Liverpool intact, but this may prove impossible with the apocalyptic war raging around him. Join John on a road trip through hell and just hope to come out the other side in one piece.

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Constantine #19 is available now in your local comic emporium, with the awesome cover by Justin Ferreyra, interior art by Jeremy Haun and written by Ray Fawkes.

Precinct1313’s all time favourite comic-book characters..daily countdown.

Welcome friends…

NUMBER 6 is: Power Girl.

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Power Girl was created by Gerry Conway and Wally Wood and was first introduced in All Star comics #58 in January of 1976, she is from the alternate reality of Earth 2 where she was known as Supergirl. Her origin story has varied over the years but currently is the same as her equivalent Earth one counterpart, when her parents learn that their planet-Krypton 2 was going to be destroyed they sent Kara Zor-L (PG’s real name) to Earth in a capsule to escape the destruction. At the same time her cousin Kal-El..Superman was also being put aboard his own escape capsule by his parents, though they left at relatively the same time Kara’s pod took longer to reach Earth 2.

There have been differing versions of what happened after this event in the comics, but the current story as told by the reboot New 52 version is that Earth 2 is attacked by the Apokolips ruler and God-like being of Darkseid, during this struggle the alternate versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are killed and Kara and her friend..fellow crime fighter Helena Wayne (known as the Huntress and daughter of Earth 2’s Batman and Catwoman) are thrown into a dimensional rift and end up on Earth one. Discovering that another Supergirl exists in this dimension PG changes her name to Karen Starr and renames herself Power Girl.

Though they are essentially the same character, the differences between Power Girl and Supergirl are many, PG is physically bigger than Supergirl and is a few years older and a lot less naive. Running her own billion dollar business, PG spends her off time fighting crime alongside the Huntress in the monthly World’s Finest comic-book.