Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom debuted with a lot of promise and an exciting first issue, but it could very easily have been a series that slipped away in subsequent issues. Thankfully, Brandon Easton and Fico Ossio have made sure that isn’t the case, and the second issue of this series further solidifies its exciting potential. Shilo Norman continues to be an endearing, vulnerable hero in a somewhat unique situation for a superhero.
Easton makes some strong writing decisions with the series’ plot here by simply working towards the logical outcome of the scenario he had set up. It was pretty obvious in the first issue that Norman’s fear of exposure was the Chekhov’s gun which would send the series’ hero spiraling, and that’s what should happen. Within that, though, Easton effectively develops Norman in a way which makes him easier to empathize with, and makes his story feel more universal.
Additionally Norman’s outing is used incredibly effectively as a commentary on how people treat black celebrities. It really fulfills the promise the first issue made, but hadn’t quite made good on. This is amplified by the way in which his outing, and N’vir Free’s accusations compound on each other to make a more compelling problem for Norman.
Ossio’s paneling helps deliver this in a really effective way through some clever paneling that hits home Easton’s script, and why things are happening in it. It hits home how quickly people are ready to discredit Black celebrities.
Outside of the commentary, Easton is doing a wonderful job building up realistic and likable characters. Norman and Denise both stick out as flawed, but likable people with unique interests and fears. It’s also somewhat endearing how hell-bent on hitting on Denise Norman is. It feels like one could know him in real life, and that would be his real life behavior.
Even the Mother Box is given many endearing and humorous moments to show off their personality.
Easton also brings a good bit of focus onto Thaddeus Brown. This is interesting in so much as it allows readers to explore the Mister Miracle legacy in a way it hasn’t been thoroughly explored before. In contrast, Norman has consistently been shown to not know who Scott Free and Big Barda are. This is somewhat confusing because the two were once part of the Justice League and would assumedly be well known public heroes. Secondly, Scott Free proceeds Norman in the role of Mister Miracle and it would seem pertinent that he knows who he is.
This problem plays into the lack of credibility N’vir Free often exudes. On top of being somewhat of a cliche setup for an antagonist, Norman not knowing who Scott Free and Barda are means that largely the interaction means very little to him.
She does supply a good mystery though, and at the end of the day if a quality book can leave readers with two strong mysteries to explore, then it’s probably doing its job.
Speaking of doing their job, Ossio is absolutely killing this book. Specifically everything on the superhero side of stuff, which they draw with such dynamism. Every panel Mister Miracle himself is in makes him look like an absolute star, and in and of itself is a compelling reason to return to this series over and over. Effects are used throughout to add bombast to each and every physical interaction Norman has, and each seems more important in the moment then they necessarily are.
Outside of these moments, Ossio conveys Norman out of costume, as well as the other non-costumed characters, with a lot of cartoonish charm. They emote in an overly dramatic way that makes them fun and easy to understand. Each seems down to Earth by nature of their absurdity in some sense, and it takes a really strong artist to master that balance.
Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #2 is a step up from an already exciting first issue. The trajectory for this series is strong, and if the solicits are anything to go by, there’s an exciting trip to New Genesis in Norman’s future. Readers should be stoked to check out this book.
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