It’s time for Scott Free and Big Barda to meet Darkseid face to face in Mister Miracle #11! They’re going in with a plan, but as readers of the series know, Darkseid is. After over a year of build-up, does the confrontation feel like a worthy climax?
I left this issue feeling satisfied with Tom King’s script, even if I never felt really surprised by anything. This is an issue that, for better or worse, fully meets the reader’s expectations for the series, blending humor and gravitas in a way that leads to fun payoffs and moments of catharsis. While I felt the previous issue didn’t manage the tone well and ended up coming off as too lighthearted, the humor in this script never undermines the stakes, so the tension of Scott and Barda’s conflict is maintained through the last page.
As I said, however, nothing in this issue managed to surprise me much, with certain major story beats being executed in a way that shouldn’t surprise other readers who’ve been paying attention. Though I saw certain plot points coming, some ways in which they’re delivered were less predictable than others, so there are still some surprises even if you can see the broad strokes of the plot coming. For example, King does a great job of making Darkseid an imposing, threatening being in how easily the New God can do upsetting things to himself or others.
Leave it to Mitch Gerads to further convey the threat Darkseid poses in his continually stunning artwork. King and Gerads give Darkseid a whole row of their 9-panel grid when he’s on his throne, conveying the scale of the character and making him immediately imposing before he’s even made a move. Gerads renders him like a stoic statue who needs not waste any movement, letting the faint red flickers around his glowing eyes suggest just enough deadliness to make you want to keep away. Because of the scale attributed to the character, Gerads almost never fits Darkseid’s whole body in a panel, oftentimes framing panels with his fist filling the space which makes him appear as an unstoppable force rather than a being that can be affected in any way.
As readers of the series know by now, Gerads’ coloring and effects meet the high quality of his line art point for point, and the generous use of reddish browns throughout the issue gives the pages a dismal feeling without resorting to a more conventional overuse of grayscale. The browns make everything feel muddy while the hints of red added allude to all the blood Apokolips is built on before any is actually shed during the confrontation. When brighter neon greens are introduced, they complement the red undertones well and really light up the page. Clayton Cowles continues to do excellent lettering work, giving bone-crunching punches bold, cracked lettering in the sound effects and veggie-crunching effects equally appropriate lettering that’s less eye-catching.
Overall, Mister Miracle #11 delivered a confrontation with Darkseid that goes exactly as fans of the series thus far would expect in terms of humor, gravitas, and exceptional art. Though I wasn’t blown away in shock by anything that happened, I’m excited to see where they take the conclusion as the major revelations of the series play out.