Batman Secret Files: Miracle Molly #1 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Dani, Artist; Lee Loughridge, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: James Tynion IV does an issue on this spinoff series featuring one of his original creations—and the true story of Miracle Molly is actually very different than I expected. When she debuted, she had a youthful energy that made her seem like a more chaotic, more benevolent Harley trying to make the world a better place. As backup to the mysterious Master Wyze, I assumed she was one of the many wild-card youths in Gotham. But this story actually seems to be about early millennial ennui, as an ambitious woman runs into one blockade after another as she tries to pursue her dreams. As her family pressures her to make a commitment, she’s forced to choose dissatisfaction—or embrace chaos.
Mary Kowalski is a genius young designer for a robotics firm, working on a robotic eye design that she believes she can make much more functional. But her bosses don’t seem to view her as a talent, her husband and in-laws want her to settle down and have children, and even her mother seems to view her dreams with condescension. It’s important that none of these are overtly bad people—they’re just people living in boxes and unable to see out of it, and Mary is starting to realize that she’s not meant to be one of them. She finds a retreat in the dark web as she interacts with the mysterious Unsanity Collective and becomes obsessed with Wyze’s words. That and interactions with her mother make her realize she needs to make a big move.
It goes badly. Very badly. This is a dark and disturbing comic in a way that we don’t usually see, because the awful things could happen in real life. In fact, the darkness of Gotham is in some ways the least scary part of this book. The art by Dani is so different from the style Miracle Molly is usually drawn in that it stands out, making her look less like a peppy punk-rock warrior and more like a haunted and strange specter. The events that lead to her creation are darker, giving her a genuine reason to stay on the run. While other characters like Punchline and Clownhunter had origins that march up with what I expected, Miracle Molly is a great example of how to still surprise your audience.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.