Before I get started, just know that nothing I write in this review will do this book justice. So understand that you need Miranda Mercury on your shelf and in your collection. With that said, she is one determined young woman, who along with her partner Jack will accomplish the impossible in an effort to save lives. Known throughout the galaxy to do just that on more than one occasion, Thomas and Ferguson along with the rest of the creative team take us on several wild rides as she kicks ass and takes names if she feels like it.
Time Runs Out collects issues #295-300 along with #124 and #1. Don’t worry about the numbering, because it all makes sense as you read the stories. Each one is a stand alone issue, though carries plot threads that build on one another, making for a much richer adventure than one might expect. We get a sense of who Miranda is at the young age of ten as she saves a planet with the help of the Mercury family. Then we jump years ahead where she and Jack are attempting to keep a cosmic genie that is trapped in a very complex Rubik’s cube-like device from hitting the black market. Here is where we find out that Miranda is actually on borrowed time, and that Jack is determined to see that she gets more of it. Ferguson also uses this story to lay out some great character building with Miranda and Jack that puts this story over the top. I also like the way he writes Jack who we know is her sidekick, but he’s given a very prominent role and is just as entertaining to read. From here on, Miranda is betrayed by a lifelong friend, fights Time Raiders, is framed for murder, tortured, and has to deal with the death of her grandfather, the great James Mercury. His origin is probably one of the strongest written parts of the book as it’s more character driven and culminates in a great finale.
There’s nothing better in any comic when the art is as good as the story, and in some cases can tell the story even better. Ferguson’s panels are all over the place and carry the frantic action and pacing with great execution. This story calls for larger than life sequences, and I’m glad the artwork and dynamic panel layouts complimented that. You can definitely tell the difference in the layout style as the book progresses, and Ferguson keeps getting better and better. During the Time Raider story we’re forced to turn the book upside down when time is stolen and Miranda and Jack are displaced. This totally works and enhances the story’s theme. The two page spread of Miranda kicking all kinds of ass wasn’t too bad, either. Ferguson also proves that he’s not just all explosions and action scenes as he pulls off a lot of drama throughout the stories, as well. Though it’s at its strongest when Jack and Miranda are captured and tortured. He does a lot with very little as the two are confined to a dark cell for much of the story, and he compliments the script quite well. One thing about the art that really impressed me was the fact that Miranda’s hair was on point! Most artists and colorists just give a black female’s hair a solid black color and that’s it. Ferguson gives it actual texture and a much more realistic look so, for that, I thank him. Finally, someone got it right! From beginning to end the colors just make everything that much richer and keep the book looking fantastic and just complimenting the great looking art.
Sci-fi was made for books like The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, that take the medium to those fun and exciting places you remember as a kid. It’s a fantastic all ages read that has quite a few things that are rare in comics. An intelligent, black female lead that is written as a character first and drawn more normal than most females (of any race) in comics. This is yet another stellar title from Archaia, and I can’t wait to read more of Miranda Mercury’s adventures!