There’s a lot of raw emotion in Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle series. It’s something they’re very good at in all their collaborations, from Sheriff of Babylon to Vision, and it’s a halmark of why they work so well together. In a few well paced panels they can draw you into the character and make you feel for them. The latest issue of Mister Miracle, out today, does that and more as Scott Free spends his last day alive with his wife Big Barda.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
How do you spend your last night on Earth? Why, with the one you love, of course! Having been condemned to death by the new Highmaster, Mister Miracle is going to have to return to New Genesis for his execution. Before he does, he and Big Barda go on one last date. But if Scott Free truly is infected by Darkseid, as Orion says, you can bet some dark force will intervene–only to what end?
Why does this matter?
It’s always exciting to read comics focused on lesser known characters who may not have the respect from readers they deserve. Vision was like that, as are series like Block Bolt. It’s safe to say we can add this series to the pile.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Mister Miracle was famous!
This is a beautiful comic, and I mean that both visually and narratively. King has written an incredibly well paced story here and the nine panel layout format is one that I hope gets picked up by more creators because it seems to tell the story with perfect pace and clarity. This pace is made more evident when the TV tube waves overtake a panel, which happens a few times and have been an unexplained occurrence since the first issue. These wavy moments seem to suggest a moment of anxiety or disconnection from reality, which ends up being a big part of this issue via an interesting discussion Miracle has with Barda.
This issue as a whole serves as a final day for Scott and Barda to enjoy Los Angeles together. It’s filled with incredibly realistic moments that anyone who has been in a relationship will relate to. Take for instance a moment where Scott reflects on the beauty of a pond that holds special meaning for him as he would look upon it when he first came to Earth. Barda unflinchingly remarks it smells. This doesn’t bother Scott in the slightest — that’s just Barda, and it’s probably a reason why he loves her. She seems to put up with his little comments a warrior like herself would find repugnant but they are little details only Scott would notice and she loves him for it.
There’s a reason why the covers for this issue are all about the love between Barda and Scott and that love shines through thanks in no small part to Gerads capturing the delicate moments between them in such a genuine way. The nine panel layout structure allows Gerads to accentuate the slightest of emotions via facial expressions, body language, or the repetition of the panels. There’s also a dirtiness to the art that gives it a grungy and realistic tone you just don’t see in superhero comics.
Wait, is that Stan Lee?
It can’t be perfect can it?
The big twist that ends the issue seems a bit unearned. Maybe it’s because the opening page’s captions tell us the exact opposite of how the comic turns out, or maybe it’s because she’s so stone-cold serious through much of this issue, but her actions to end the issue act as a deus ex machina more than an anticipatory act. It’s possible the twist is supposed to hit like a car crash — life is never perfectly outlined — but King doesn’t probe Barda at all in this issue and instead focuses on Scott. He talks a lot in the issue; Barda always listening, but more from Barda’s perspective may have made this surprise twist feel more earned.
Is It Good?
This series as a whole is a delight as it revels in the human spirit, even if the protagonists are New Gods.