Writer: Grant Morisson
Artists: Freddie Williams II, Dave McCaig(c)
Now this is more like it. Issue three of Mister Miracle should have been issue one. Everything you need to know to understand the character and the plot is better served this issue than in the two previous issues which lacked the zing that I expect from Grant Morrison. This baby chucks decompression in the blender and dumps it down the drain.
Packed with everything and the kitchen sink, the fourth issue begins with Baron Bedlam in a new incarnation infringing on the territory of Shilo Norman, the third Mister Miracle. The narration expresses Shilo's arrogance and his anger. It without exposition identifies his raison d'etre and his nemesis as well as his flunkies. Visually, the story begins with a bang nicely executed by artists Freddie Williams and Dave McCaig.
From there, Morrison segues to the narrator's location--on his psychoanalyst's couch--never a good place to be especially when your psychoanalyst happens to be DeSaad, sniveling mad genius, and property of Darkseid, whom appears later in the book. We follow Shilo home to where we meet his girlfriend and his best friend. Morrison immediately establishes through the dialogue Jonelle's character. Freddie Williams' rendering of her warm, natural movements--contrasted later in the book--help create a very human, likeable character for which readers can empathize.
The scene does more than flesh out the cast, it also reveals salient plot points. Shilo's study of the Bedlam tape reveals that he cannot possibly be human, and a conflict between he and ZZ, his best friend, foreshadows dark happenings to come later in the book. Morrison even finds something of interest in what Shilo does in his spare time. He practices his death defying escapes. This makes them more a part of him than previously seen.
Seriously bad things happen in the remaining panels. The hero's maiden fair succumbs to the evils of the plastic people, and the hero suffers excruciating tortures. Morrison cannot make me hate him for this. Usually such darkness sickens me, yet the way Morrison meticulously plans out the torture does not create tension, and I believe this is the author's intent.
The tortures together create the step-by-step traps that parallel Mister Miracle's ballyhoo. In other words, the baseball bat beating is like the straitjacket. The next humiliation is like the chains wrapped around the straitjacket. As gruesome as these actions are, they set up the potential for a big escape--hopefully seen next issue.
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