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He’s Paid In Birdseed

March 3rd, 2008

There are several reasons I love this cover to the debut issue of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury.

One is that it’s actually the first page of the story proper. The interior of the book picks up right where this kick to the face leaves off. I don’t know that any other title has done this, but in an age of comics that are little more than one full-page splash panel after another, it’s nice to have one that uses its own cover to give you an extra page of story. Plus, it’s a nice throwback to the days when covers enticed readers with a sense of the action within, rather than a static pose of the main character.

Second is the little box in the corner that says “Ages 10+.” I appreciate not only the attempt to provide guidance to parents, but also the suggestion that this was written for someone other than twentysomething mouth-breathers.

Third–and this is by no means a lesser point–is that one of the bounty hunters unsuccessfully trying to collect Ms. Mercury’s head is this guy:

A freakin’ killer cardinal. My college team was the Ball State Fighting Cardinals.

I buy very few comics a month, and usually wouldn’t even look twice at a title that wasn’t from DC or Dark Horse, but this one was written up on one of the blogs and I found it intriguing enough to sample. Happily, I quite enjoyed it.

One thing I find especially appealing is that it’s about a black superhero who is based neither on a pre-existing white character nor a blaxsploitation stereotype. Even better, Miranda’s race doesn’t enter into it at all. She’s the future’s greatest adventurer–a habitual achiever of the impossible–who just happens to be black.

If there’s a downside to the book, it’s the central gimmick of starting the series with issue #295. The conceit is that Miranda and Jack have been adventuring for years, and we’re only now coming in as things build up to the climatic–and presumptively tragic–issue #300. I think the characters and the flavor of the setting are strong enough to stand on their own as an ongoing series.

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