Brandon Thomas sent me a .pdf file of the first two issues of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury. I was going to pre-order it anyway, but I thought I'd let you know about what he sent me.
Thomas and Lee Ferguson presumably finished their epic some years ago: The first (and only) issue to see print came out in February 2008, but then Archaia went kablooey for a while, and a lot of their books disappeared, only to be resurrected in collected format. Such is now the case with Miranda Mercury, whose titular heroine, a space-faring adventurer, is dealing with a fatal illness, and in the original conceit of the series, the first issue was labeled "#295," and the final issue would the giant-sized 300th issue. It was a pretty neat idea, but it's no longer important, obviously.
I loved the first issue of this series, in which we were introduced to Miranda and her sidekick, Jack Friday, and together they solved a Rubik's Cube that released the Rebel Ronin from some kind of trans-dimensional prison. The Rebel Ronin can grant wishes, and Jack wanted to use the wish to cure Miranda, but things didn't go quite as he planned. It was a very fun issue, full of weird ancillary characters and featuring a strong central relationship between Miranda and Jack, who are obviously close friends even though they have some secrets from each other. The issue was also very tense and exciting even as Thomas made sure we got a lot of information. I had it on my "ten best single issues" list for 2008, and I'm very happy the series is being completed at last.
The second issue isn't quite as slam-bang as the first, but it shows that Thomas and Ferguson are still doing a good job. Miranda is called to save the population of a planet whose sun is going nova, and while she's trying to figure it out, she rescues a prisoner who tells her something very disturbing. She, of course, needs to put things right. It's a bit more action-oriented than the first issue (which did have a lot of action, to be fair), as Miranda needs to figure out what to do about the population and fight the bad guy, who turns out to be a bit more difficult to defeat than she thinks. She wins in the end, of course (it seems like each issue will contain a standalone main plot while the subplot of Miranda's impending death is lingering in the background), but at what cost? AT WHAT COST?????
Thomas has a nice, light touch with the scripting, even though he's dealing in heavy issues. Miranda is upset about events that occur in issue #2, but she doesn't agonize over what she has to do - she just does it. In the first issue, Jack Friday takes a similarly pragmatic approach. I don't know if, down the line in the series, Thomas delves a bit more into their psyches, but when he's trying to establish the adventurous nature of Miranda and Jack, he doesn't need it. So far, we're getting what we need to know about Miranda and Jack mostly from their actions, which is a good way to do it. I'm curious to see how that plays out when Miranda's illness comes more to the fore.
Ferguson's artwork is as stellar as ever. He has a crisp, clean line and a great design sense - this book looks like it's from the future, which is always cool to see. He has fun with the characters but never lets them become silly, and the way the villain in issue #2 (or #296) turns from benign to evil is quite cool. I'm not sure if Felix Serrano colors the entire series, but his work on the first issue was stunning, meshing nicely with Ferguson's cool designs and Marc Deering's inks. The art really makes the book pop, and it complements Thomas's stripped-down script very nicely.
I don't know how the story plays out, obviously, but based on the first two issues, I'm really looking forward to the rest of it. Thomas is trying to get the word out to retailers and schmucks who write on comic book blogs so that they can pre-order the hardcover, and guess which one I am? The book is in the latest issue of Previews, and you can also pre-order it on Amazon. I encourage you to ask your retailer to get it for you or go on-line and order it yourself. Based on the first two issues, I doubt very much that you'll be disappointed. It's too cool a comic for that!
(If you're still not convinced, the Mothership has the first issue up for your persusal. Check it out here!)