Book Review - Mister Miracle TPB

Mister MiracleMister Miracle by Tom King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I see why people like this series so much. It's got an ethereal vibe to it and the central protagonist is a god who was raised in the pits of hell. Scott Free is a really engaging character - his existential crisis has an authenticity to it which is surprising.

The story is gripping, with a writing style that harks back to the golden age of comics. There are the intros which home in one why we love Mister Miracle, and the epilogues that portend doom and gloom for the main protagonists. It's a catchy, infectious storyline.

But (and there's always a 'but'), the big problem with this series is Big Barda. Like... come on! She's a Fury, a terrifying warrior on Apokolips, but she is completely devoid of personality for the majority of the series. She is Mister Miracle's wife. Yup, that's it, the crux of her character. She's the kind of character who is talked at, not talked to. Scott holds long monologues about all the things plaguing him (some of which should be plaguing her, too), but she is completely unperturbed. Her reaction to most things is to strip and get in bed with her husband.

Their relationship is great, the depth of their love and connection is evident, and I love all the little authentic moments Tom King puts in there like being stuck in traffic, organising parties, worrying about their kid; but Barda really only comes into her own in the final issue of the series. It's really frustrating. Barda is written like those quintessential female characters men love writing - the supportive beauty who is just a little unconventional looking (Barda's too tall) but has all the right curves in all the right places. Her job is to pine for her man, while being strong enough to fight, but really she's got zero characterisation or arc. There were times it felt like Barda was in this book just so the artist could have gratuitous shots of this giant goddess taking her kit off.

The art, per se, is quite succinct. I felt Mister Miracle was modelled after Matt Bomer - there were some panels, especially near the end where Scott looks exactly like Matt.

I think, in 2019, we need to do better by women characters. Barda can be the wife and also have personality and a character arc! She has to feel something; it felt like Barda was written like Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter - a beautiful statue that enables the men around her, but has no motivations of her own.

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