close
HomeBlogsBill Williams's blogWe're Halfway through "Mister Miracle." What the F&%k Is Going On? [Spoilers]

We're Halfway through "Mister Miracle." What the F&%k Is Going On? [Spoilers]

Bill Williams and Michael Ossowski are back for another comic book discussion. Bill Williams is a comic book writer/penciller/inker/letterer/editor extraordinaire, who has been published by DC Comics, IDW, Ape Entertainment, and more. He’s currently working on the coming-of-age superhero series “Punchline” for ComiXology. Michael Ossowski is a media ecologist and comic book retailer, who runs a late night pirate TV station that's the craziest, weirdest viewing experience you'll ever see called “The Black Lodge” at at midnight central time Monday through Thursday.

***

Bill says

We're talking about "Mister Miracle" at the halfway point. It's a 12-issue miniseries and the first six have come out, and I think it's fair to say I have no idea what the hell is going on with this book. It was pitched as the best thing since sliced bread. I read the first couple, and I'm a big fan of some of the things it's trying to do, but it is making less sense the more I read it.

 

Michael says

I think you hit the nail on the head. I feel like when I read the first two or three issues, I was pretty enamored with it. I like what it was trying to do. It seemed like it was failing here and there at the actual storytelling, but I sort of forgave it when it was still in its opening days but now that we’re six issues in, I'm wondering about the actual storyteller's ability to convey a story to readers.

 

Bill says

Yeah this is a mess for me. OK, we're going to really spoil big chunks.

 

Michael says

Some of the sentences are massively grammatically incorrect.

 

Bill says

People talk that way. I don't have such a problem with that. I have a problem with the larger thing that's going on in the book. When we first see Mister Miracle he has tried to kill himself. His arch enemy at this point is crippling depression, and yet he goes on a talk show, and the host makes fun of it like, “Hey, did I hear you try to whack yourself?” You know ha ha ha. And the pitch document apparently said Mister Miracle tries to outwit and escape the biggest prison of all—his life. I find at this point it's kind of confusing. I think that there are interesting domestic moments. The sixth issue, which just came out, has them talking about redecorating their kitchen and redecorating their apartment.

 

Michael says

That was the biggest waste of an issue I've ever read. Everything that was done in that issue could have been done in two pages.

 

Bill says

So there's a juxtaposition in the book during the time they're talking about closet space, and I'm not kidding there's a page about closet space. They're outwitting deathtraps and they're battling their way through stuff. It's interesting as an exercise, and I have a theory about what's going on in the book as a whole, but I find it also really unnecessarily murderous. There's a scene with a couple guards and the guards are talking about how they're gods. The thing about the fourth world is that everybody on it is a God, even the security guards who have nothing to do all day. And then these guys randomly get murdered. Like what? Why? Why is that necessary? Why do we have our superheroes chewing through people? And I think that at some level I've got no idea what's going on. It got off to a good start, but it's going down the corridor of becoming a big effing mess.

 

Michael says

Last time when we talked about “Paper Girls,” we talked about people being clever. I think this is an attempt to be clever and failing. I've seen issue number six and seen this in "True Lies" and I've seen it in whatever Tom Cruise remake about him and his wife as spies. I've seen this a bunch. A couple have an argument or whatever while they're fighting bad guys because it's so easy for them because they're such consummate professionals that they can just banter. It's not that clever. It's not that fun. It's not that funny. Especially, like you said, the trap for him is his life, right? His life that he's trapped in. He's trying to escape. He's pretty quick and nice, and I have a lot of trouble feeling any empathy or sympathy for this character. He may have supposedly grown up with abuse or whatever, but clearly this is a person of privilege. They're talking about downsizing their condo, and they're worried about about veggie plates and stupid banal crap. If these two people were having a discussion at a coffee shop, I would be so annoyed. Is this really the best thing you have to talk about? You make me sick.

 

Bill says

There is kind of a "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" element to the dialogue as they're going along, but the entire thing feels unreal. And I have the feeling it’s based on the conceit that you don't have to be smarter than the characters, you just have to be smarter than the other writers.

 

Michael says

Yeah. And the artist.

 

Bill says

Yeah I had the feeling that Darkseid has one overriding quest to rule all the known worlds and find the anti-life equation. I get the feeling he's found it, and he's suddenly rewriting the rules of reality around Mister Miracle. That's what he's trying to escape. But I find it unnecessarily murderous, and he's walking through a state of shock, even though he was raised on a hell planet and trained to be a soldier. He had a mother figure and that mother figure dies pretty graphically and violently in front of him about a third of the way through the whole thing, and I can't tell if that affects him or not. People are attached to their bodies just because he is.

 

Michael says

He's just so filled with ennui and depression already that nothing can really affect him. It just seems so damn privileged to me. I hate to use that word in today's media, and people recoil from hearing that a lot of times, but I just had trouble caring about this person at all. I also don't think it serves as a good DC book. Not only because of its murderousness and all that, but mostly because this is mental masturbation gymnastics around philosophy and Tom King thinks that Mister Miracle can supposedly overcome this crippling depression by answering the deep philosophical questions about life, which are supposedly, I guess in Tom King's mind, questions like “Can God make a rock he can't lift?” That's not a question that you're supposed to actually try to answer. I don't want to read somebody looking at their pocket lint and thinking about that. The question is meant as a doorway so that you can open your mind up to a more free-thinking consciousness. It's meant for its side effect. It's not the meat. That's just the doorway.

 

Bill says

That's kind of a trick the devil, “Twilight Zone” kind of question, but I have no idea where the story is going. We're 120 pages into this, and it would be nice if we can stick the dismount and make the story make sense at the end. But it's kind of spun off the rails.

 

Michael says

I was really enamored with it, but through issue 3 and issue 5 seemed like mostly a waste of time with them on the beach. I felt totally cheated. Had I paid to read that book, I would have I would have felt cheated out of my money. I would have taken the comic back to the store and said, “Can I have my money back for this?”

 

Bill says

I liked the fifth issue because that is with Mister Miracle being sentenced to death the next day. It's him spending one perfect day with his wife. I'm fine with that going nowhere because you know not everything has to drive the plot and sometimes you can have a little bunch of character moments.

 

Michael says

That would be great if it wasn't so weighed down with his inner philosophical crap.

 

Bill says

I just hope that this wraps up well because I loved his “Vision” book, and the thing is that that thing had a better driving narrative hook to it than Mister Miracle does.

 

Michael says

It was a much better told story. It was so much easier to follow and I'm someone who loves David Lynch and “Twin Peaks,” so I don't need a story to be super easy to follow. As a matter of fact, I like to be challenged. There's a certain point where you're not actually challenging your audience, you’re just not actually giving them enough to work with.

 

Bill says

Yeah and that's a tightrope that every creator walks. It has come out that the “Mister Miracle” book came out of a bar bet between the writer and Dan DiDio. DiDio approached the writer and said, “You know I really love this “Vision” book you're doing for one of our competitors. What do you want to do for us?” And King apparently handed over a list of characters and said, “Oh, let's do Mister Miracle that would be awesome.” And the start was awesome, but the middle is just a total effing mess.

 

Michael says

And I appreciate the artist in them trying to do the nine-panel grid and work within that frame in that context. If it actually makes your story worse though it defeats it. If a writer decided they were going to make a new book, and every chapter was going to be three pages long, and then you had one chapter that really only needed to be one page and you stretched it out into three pages, does that actually help your book? Will it stand the test of time? I don't think so. At some point you have to realize that this should be one panel that stretches up we don't need to make this three pages of him climbing up the tower and showing that that could have easily been done in one panel.

 

Bill says

Yeah the thing about Watchmen is that it's primarily a nine-panel grid format, but there's a lot of places where it breaks that, and I'm waiting to see our hero triumphantly break out of his nine-panel grid a la Morrison's "Animal Man." I hope that something like that is showing up pretty soon.

 

Michael says

I still have to give it room even as much as I couldn't stand it the sixth issue. They still could get their heads out of their butt and show us that he knows what he's been doing the whole time. The “Vision” book that you mention I like a whole lot. I don't think it's a good “Vision” book. I don't think it serves the character, the IP, or Marvel at all. It was a good book. It was a great read. It would have been a fantastic Image book. And I see how this is pretty much the same thing with DC. I don't think this serves DC or its readers at all. It does say that it has a tiny mature readers tag at the very bottom left-hand corner where you can't notice it, but ultimately I don't think that is a good move for DC.

 

Bill says

I look at just about all comics as else worlds books or what if books so that kind of thing doesn't bother me at all a whole lot right. I look at everything as being out of continuity at some point because that's what the companies did. They blew up their key universes and rebuild something smarter and better, and this, by in large, hasn't really been smarter and better. It's just been different. It's been dumbed down to an extent.

 

Michael says

I will say that a lot of the art and the art techniques on it are stunning and wonderful and interesting. There's times that reminds me of Kyle Baker. It can be sloppy on occasion. There are times where its sloppiness doesn't do it any favors. So I'm back and forth on that. Ultimately I do appreciate the artist and what they're doing as a whole.

 

Bill says

I like it. I think there's still time for the writer to salvage what's going on there, but we need a few more breadcrumbs to figure out what the hell the book's about. Aside from crippling depression.

 

Michael says

Right. The colors in the book are great.

 

Bill says

The other thing is that the sixth issue is essentially one long fight scene with two people fighting inanimate objects. And it's that doesn't work so well.

 

Michael says

And discussing crap that I could care less to hear.

 

Bill Williams

Bill Williams

Bill Williams has done it all in the comic book industry. Writer, penciller, inker, letterer, editor… you name the job, he’s done it. Bill has been published by DC Comics, IDW, Ape Entertainment, and more. He is currently working on the coming-of-age super-hero series Punchline for ComiXology.

Add a comment