30 in 30 - Day 20: Seven Soldiers – Mister Miracle / by Frank Gogol

Another day, another Seven Soldiers series—and today I read the really fantastic Mister Miracle. While I liked yesterday’s Klarion the Witchboy, and even found some stuff to love in the less-than-stellar Manhattan Guardian, Mister Miracle is up there in quality with Shining Knight. It’s got a well-designed and smartly drawn character-driven story that talks about trauma and pain in a personal way the other series don’t scratch.

Synopsis

Title: Seven Soldiers – Mister Miracle
Storytellers: Grant Morrison & Freddie E. Williams II
Publisher: DC Comics
Year of Publication: 2005
Page Count: 88

Ever wonder what life might have been like if you'd chosen a different path? The Omega Effect can take you there! Join Shilo Norman, super escape artist, as he faces the ultimate challenge! The Life Trap is here, and the only way out is in a box.

SPOILERS FOR SEVEN SOLDIERS – MISTER MIRACLE BELOW

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing

In this series, Morrison plays with metaphor and storytelling in a really interesting way. At the beginning of the series, Mister Miracle performs a stunt in which he attempts to escape a black hole. And for three issues that’s sees like a cool idea. Then, in the fourth issue, Morrison dives into Mister Miracle’s past, revealing that his brother was murdered while he was tied up and unable to stop the attack. That event, the death of his brother, is epitomized in the escape from the black hole. In reality, nothing can escape a black hole, just as Mister Miracle can’t escape his past. But in the end, he is able to successfully perform the stunt, suggesting he’s begun moving on with is life. The withholding of the backstory retroactively adds context and meaning to the parts of the story that came before it AND Morrison designs plot spectacle that assumes a metaphorical meaning/symbolism. Of the stories in the Seven Soldiers series so far, this one is by far the most well-designed.

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art

Freddie Williams II understands storytelling in a space. Let me give you an example. There’s a page in the final issue of this series that sees Mister Miracle, the world’s best escape artist, trapped in a coffin. As he struggles to exit the coffin, the panels grow larger and larger until he breaks free in the final, borderless panel. When I write a script, I strive not to put much direction in my panel descriptions—to give my artistic collaborator as much freedom as possible. But, these days, I’m interested in writing comic pages as a unit and working with my collaborators to create a page that enhances the story, like Williams II does in this instance.

Recommendation: A (Must Read)

Check back tomorrow when I tackle Seven Soldiers – Bulleteer.

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