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Book Breakdown - The Great Escape is Full of Hope, Dreams and Furies

Book Breakdown - The Great Escape is Full of Hope, Dreams...

By Mandy Curtis Friday, January 28th, 2022

Welcome to Ink Spots, a quirky little corner of DCComics.com devoted entirely to all of our favorite Young Adult comics and fiction. In this new Book Breakdown, Mandy Curtis plans an Escape with Scott Free.

Scott Free doesn't know anything about his path, but he's certain about one part of his future: He needs to get away from Granny Goodness and her Furies, and heading to Earth seems like as good of an escape plan as any. He's not alone in his wish to leave Apokolips, but there are only so many spots in his plan for the other people he'd love to save.

Although Scott would love for everyone to call him Mister Miracle, he hasn't quite lived up to the name (yet) and this next escape will be his greatest test…especially when love gets factored into it, too.

Read more about Scott and the people in his life in DC’s latest YA graphic novel, Mister Miracle: The Great Escape, written by Varian Johnson and featuring art by Daniel Isles. As for whether this escape is for you, read on as we break this Apokoliptian adventure down!


Cover Crackdown:

Although I didn't know this version of Scott (or any, really, but even if you're familiar with the character, this story might be new to you), I immediately liked him because of his depiction on this cover. From the excellently flaired-out jacket—love the nods to other DC characters and elements of the story—to the look on his face, which is delightfully cheeky and tells me that we're going to have a lot of fun together (even if it might not be totally above board).


Tell Me a Story:

Scott Free doesn't know who he is. Even his name was given to him, as a joke, by Granny Goodness (whose name is something of a cruel joke, too). He would love to know more about himself, but that's a secondary goal to getting off Apokalips before he's sent to the front lines of Lord Darkseid's war. He's tried a few different plans, but the latest was thought up by someone he considers his only real family.

With the escape date looming, Scott isn't ready to tell his friends that he's leaving without them—nor is he prepared when Big Barda, the new leader of Granny's enforcement gang, the Furies, makes more of an impression than he expected. But best-laid plans often go awry…


Let’s Talk Art:

Isles, a.k.a. DirtyRobot, is known for his Afrofuturist art style, which lends itself nicely to a story about a young black man who isn't from Earth. The characters are all very expressive, while the backgrounds are only detailed when it’s necessary to add to the story. Overall, the book has a bit of a sparse vibe, but that totally fits with the severe nature of the setting. The visual onomatopoeia is also a ton of fun. I don't think I've ever read a graphic novel that used "plop" as an action, but it made me giggle each time.


Dialog Discussion:

For a bunch of young folks who aren't from Earth, the characters in this book certainly feel like real teens, which will hopefully resonate with the actual teens who read this book. (Alas, I am no longer a teen, but I do read enough YA that I don't feel totally disconnected from the age group. If I am, however, please don't burst my bubble.) I think Johnson does a great job of bringing them all to life, particularly Scott, who is equal parts overly confident and secretly totally unsure. This is especially true when he starts to get closer to Barda, who, similarly, is very nuanced in her public conversations vs. the ones she has with Scott alone.
 

Voted Most Likely:

If a high school populated by DC's YA graphic novels voted on their year-end superlatives, The Great Escape would be crowned with two very different titles: Biggest Mouth and Most Likely to Leave This Town Behind (and Make a Name For Themselves Elsewhere). Sure, that second one is a little long, but it's obvious that Scott (and Barda) are headed for bigger and better things, even when his plans to leave Apokolips are only just plans. And Scott himself can't keep his mouth shut when a sassy or witty quip bubbles to the surface, even when he knows that it will get him in trouble. I think these superlatives work really well together, and really give a good indication of the type of person Scott is.


One Perfect Page:

I'm a hopeless romantic, so the page that delighted me most in The Great Escape was the one that showed the lead up to Scott and Barda's first kiss (page 111). It perfectly depicts both Scott, in his goofy earnestness, and Barda, with her impatience and reluctance to give in to her feelings for such a doofus. (She doesn't call him that outright, but I can imagine she was thinking it.) Plus, it includes another of my favorite visual uses of the word “plop,” which adds to the hilarity of the moment—but, thankfully, doesn't detract from the pure sweetness that comes after.
 

The Final Word:

I'm not sure if there's more to come from the crew we meet in The Great Escape, but the ending of the book certainly leaves it open. I'd love to revisit with Scott, Barda and the rest of his friends to make sure they're doing all right. (And to see what kind of comeuppance Granny Goodness and Prince Kalibak might endure, because they deserve the worst.) If this proves to be a one-and-done kind of date, however, I'm going to hold tight to the belief that these kids can do whatever they put their minds to. And that somewhere, a whole lot of someones are finally calling Scott “Mister Miracle” (without snickering when they say it).
 

Mister Miracle: The Great Escape by Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles is now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and as a digital graphic novel.

When Mandy Curtis isn’t reading books by Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas, she’s dreaming of busting bad guys with Wonder Woman—if Steve Trevor’s there, too, she won’t complain—and writing about YA fiction and pop culture at Forever Young Adult. Follow her on Twitter at @mandyannecurtis.

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