A new chapter of Scott Free and Big Barda’s lives begins in Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Clayton Cowles’ emotional series.
Mister Miracle #7 jumps ahead a bit from where the previous issue left off, starting with Scott Free and Big Barda’s trip to the hospital as Barda goes into labor. By now, readers of the series shouldn’t expect an average visit to the maternity ward, as the Female Furies have appeared to help welcome Scott and Barda’s child into the world. Does the issue deliver a worthwhile read along with the baby?
This is Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s Mister Miracle, so of course it does. King’s scripts for the series continue to be quiet, carefully paced, and emotional. I feel like Scott and Barda say relatively little to one another for most of the issue, but the few words they share capture the anxiety of new parents awaiting their first child expertly. The story feels grounded in very real feelings and experiences even as they talk about the X-Pit of Apokolips. Speaking of Apokolips, as a big fan of theirs in the Jack Kirby run of Mister Miracle, I was excited to see the Female Furies make their debut in this series. Their characterization by King was spot on and though they don’t do a lot in this issue, I look forward to their future appearances in the series. I want to see what King and Gerads do with them in action and a hospital setting isn’t a great place for a brawl, so I understand why they don’t have a lot to do here.
Mitch Gerads brings the Furies to life in faithful detail just as expertly as he continues to draw and color every page of the series. As always, Gerads makes excellent use of repetition in the nine-panel grid, on one page keeping Barda’s face the same throughout the whole page and only changing the positioning of drops of sweat as they trickle down her face. Every character’s face in this issue expresses exactly the feeling the script calls for and there are times where it looks like a panel is being repeated as in the example with Big Barda, but Gerads has slightly altered an expression. These tiny details continue to elevate the series’ art, keeping it affecting and at times even haunting.
Gerads coloring and distortion effects continue to shine with much of the issue being colored in blue from the hospital staff’s masks to Scott Free’s Superman shirt. Though the characters’ anxieties are high, all the blue in this issue gives it a certain calmness, a moment to rest after the action-packed and dramatic issue previous. Clayton Cowles’s lettering is used sparingly, reserved mostly for the beeps of a heart monitor, but the beeps are placed just so as to catch the reader’s eye and help maintain the pacing of the issue set by King and the nine-panel grid.
Overall Mister Miracle #7 maintains the series’ strong momentum. Though not as action-packed as the previous issue, the characterization of Scott Free and Big Barda continues to represent the traumas and anxieties of a couple trying to survive their pasts well. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this issue as a jumping-on point for new readers, but fans of the series won’t be disappointed by this brief respite in Scott and Barda’s war for survival.