Though “The Midas Flesh” mini-series by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb has been a clever and lovely mini-series on the whole, it wobbles slightly on the dismount in the eighth — and final — issue. The concept was always ambitious and North never shied away from taking the idea in the boldest directions, but the ending leaves a bit to be desired.
“The Midas Flesh” has impressed throughout by being exceedingly clever in how it dealt with the seemingly impossible challenges the Midas flesh created. Unfortunately, in this final issue, they stumble a bit in resolving it. While gods — Dionysus specifically — have been well established in the initial world-building for the series, the plotting turn here can’t help but feel like a bit of a deus ex machina. The book has relied heavily on science and smart decisions, so to have gods magically appear (even if we know they exist) is frustrating. In fairness, the appearance of the gods doesn’t “save the day” by solving problems in any traditional way — and science still plays its part, which helps keep the book unconventional and unexpected — but it’s still frustrating.
Additionally, though the unconventional ending is appreciated from a rational perspective, it’s hard to let go of characters we have come to love the way this story demands with its ending. Our heroes’ fates are ultimately ambiguous and while not everything needs to (or should) be resolved up in a tidy bow, the resolution here is not emotionally satisfying for anyone invested in these characters.
The art continues to be lovely and mostly engaging, even though this is an issue heavy on talking heads. Paroline and Lamb do what they can with expression and their fantastic characters to make the dialogue heavy pages interesting and they mostly succeed. They also have fun when the opportunity presents itself with larger ideas — like an opening splash of a space fight, and a “destruction of the universe and new big bang” sequence. The colors, especially the pages bathed in gold during the conversation with Dionysus and Ananke, are gorgeous.
Overall, though they stumbled on the dismount, this was a surprisingly fun and smart series, with fantastic characters — the kind readers don’t see often enough in comics — and a clever idea at its center. “The Midas Flesh” #8 presents an ending that is unconventional and unexpected, and in this case I think that is both a weakness and a strength.