When a great series concludes and it provides the perfect opportunity to assess what made it so good...
"I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both." - Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
James R: By now you've probably read a huge amount of praise for Mister Miracle series but I'm not looking to convince anyone still unconvinced by its greatness here. What I want to do is highlight one of the reasons the series worked so well for me - it's one of the most philosophically literate series I've ever read, and as a consequence, it shows just how mainstream comics can be refigured and reimagined if they are infused with intelligence, wit, and stylistic verve.
Mister Miracle came about when Dan DiDio at DC wisely offered Tom King the opportunity to write whatever he wanted as a limited series. His choice of Scott Free - the eponymous Mister Miracle - was an inspired one. Arguably the most recognisable of Jack Kirby's Fourth World creations, Mister Miracle has had philosophical overtones in each of his 21st century iterations. This is largely due to Grant Morrison's influence, as he was a central figure in the Scot's sprawling Seven Soldiers Of Victory project. That series also coincided with Jack Kirby's centenary, and certainly acts as a fitting salute to the King of Comics.
Mister Miracle feels like the spiritual sequel to Tom King's outstanding The Vision series for Marvel. In that title, we saw the Vision in a domestic setting, in an attempt to understand humanity. The series used Shakespeare's Merchant Of Venice as a device to reflect on that question too, and it worked remarkably well. Mister Miracle also focuses on the domestic life, but here the philosophical scope is larger still, and if I had to highlight the one recurring theme from the series, it is choice. More precisely, how do our choices define us, and how do we live with their consequences, both as humans, and as readers of the text.