This is going to be hard to write. Not because I love the Fourth World, I do. Not due to the fact that Mister Miracle is one of Kirby’s most enduring New Gods – that is also self-evident. Rather that I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to write something like this. Something disappointed, something tired, and something (the worst thing of all) boring. If there’s one attribute that a New Gods comic should not have, it is being a chore to read.
There is some good here. The base themes of the comic have merit. King has gone on record as talking about the duality of Scott Free and a lot of other fertile story ideas. His dynamic with Highfather, the trauma of being one of Granny’s students, all of it – it’s interesting. I’d love to see those explored and really given some weight. Unfortunately, Mister Miracle isn’t that comic so far. It overplays its hand and it overplays it hard.
Rather than going for a subtler touch, it goes straight for a blunt certitude about what it wants to convey – robbing it of any engagement. It just begins and I don’t care. It starts off with some ideas toward a lofty disparity, likely with ironic intent, but never gets me to care. I know the characters and I have enjoyed stories with the characters, but if one of them has slit their wrists on page two, you’re going to lose me because there’s no real build up to that. “Oh no, he’s killing himself“, it’s a trite way of creating interest. Cheating death is what Mister Miracle does. Actually cheating death is what Mister Miracle has already done before.
Here we just get the blunt stapling of a depression characteristic to Scott to make this work. It’s not some subtle undercurrent, it just comes out and smacks us in the face. In doing so it comes off as disingenuous. There’s a way to make the depression aspect interesting and something to really mull over, but the comic cares about showing it off, not making sure it isn’t hollow. Other such quirks of this is the rampant use of “Darkseid Is”, which take up most of the comic and don’t work because it’s so over-serviced. I understand that it’s meant to be an overbearing punctuation that symbolizes the presence of Darkseid in their lives, that’s clear.
My issue with it is that it happens again, and again, and again and it just becomes an annoying intrusion. What we are left with is an opening issue that doesn’t set up an interesting conflict, doesn’t go into new areas for its story, and makes what themes it does have ridiculous due to their immediate disclosure. The Fourth World has humanity, a lot of what it does with its characters is exceedingly relatable, but this comic strips all avenues of interest in some misguided attempt at crafting a human story – when it didn’t need to go that length. This comic isn’t doing anything we haven’t seen before and isn’t King stretching himself creatively. Now that’s a shame.
Overall Estimation: 5/10