War is nothing to joke about. That’s an obvious thing to say, but I feel as if our society has become numb to the effects of war. Now, that isn’t to say our society has become “soft,” I think that’s a childish argument used by ultra-conservatives when voicing their opinions and frustrations with the younger generation. It’s a cycle that will persist until the end of time. No, what I’m talking about is the actual, effects of war. The world is in a constant state of war. If you study international politics at all, you know about theories such as realism and liberalism. Both theories suggest that the system in which the world operates under is anarchy. What that means is there is no overarching power, or Hegemon, to compel states to follow orders. States or countries, can act as they wish and this leads to war. Realism and liberalism have different suggestions on how to handle the anarchy we live in, but the simple fact is that war will always exist on Earth. But in America however, we’ve experienced a prolonged period of peace on our home soil. Yes, 9/11 changed America forever, but compared to the amount of death around the world, the 3,000 people lost that day is a blade of grass on a football field. Places such as the Middle East, Africa, parts of South America, and even Eastern Europe are experiencing some facet of war, even as I type this review. The masses in America have become ignorant to the effects of war, to the point, it’s almost a joke to us. When talks of a nuclear war between North Korea and The United States pop up, go ahead and search social media for a few minutes. It’s a barrage of memes, jokes, and sarcasm. Meanwhile, citizens in South Korea and Japan live with the possibility of a home attack. They’ve been warning their citizens, urging them to evacuate, and taking real precautions to survive a war. America? We’re worried about Cardi B’s accent, Jemle Hill’s comments on Trump, and in a more relevant sphere, if Marvel low sales are because of diversity. We don’t fear war anymore as a whole. Some argue that America has become the hegemon that realists believe can keep the world at bay, others believe this is one of the most unstable periods in international political history. Whatever your stance is on that, I think it’s important to keep perspective on the world around you. While your life may be going well, others don’t have such luxury. And you don’t have to go across the globe to find turmoil. Sometimes it’s in your own backyard, sometimes it’s within yourself. That’s what this recent issue of Mister Miracle reminded me of. War is nothing to joke about.
FOR NEW GENESIS!
Quick recap of the first issue. Superstar team, Tom King and Mitch Gerads are bringing one of the late, great Jack Kirby’s creations to life again. Mister Miracle is a DC hero who is a New God. He grew up on Apokolips, even though he was born on New Genesis. Apokolips and New Genesis are polar opposites. New Genesis is a peaceful utopia, and Apokolips is hell personified. Miracle, also known as Scott Free, grew up in hell because he was a part of a truce between the two worlds. The truce ended a long, brutal war. But, as we know, war is forever, even for the New Gods. Scott eventually grew up, escaped Apokolips, found solace on Earth as a superhero, but his allegiance still lies with New Genesis.
In the first issue, we saw Scott attempt the greatest escape. As Mister Miracle, Scott is known as the master of locks. He can escape anything. The first issue saw him try to escape death. It opened with Scott on the bathroom floor, wrists slit, bleeding out. Now, I don’t want to talk too long about the first issue, but my theory at the end of it was that Scott is in fact dead. Maybe not in the traditional sense we think of, but in some way, be it philosophical or biological, he’s dead. Whether it was his hallucinations or Gerads ambiguous art during Miracle’s interview, that was the vibe I got from the first issue. At the end of the first issue, Scott and his wife, Barda, received word that Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips and enemy to Superman, had gotten control of the anti-life equation. This basically would give him the power to control reality. A war is brewing between the two worlds and Scott and Barda are needed.
The first pages of the second issue are my favorite. Scott is fighting creature after creature. He’s covered in green blood and continues to labor on, fighting for his home world. With every punch, you can see the exhaustion on Scott’s face. As blood covers him, Orion, who was the other child exchanged in the truce and is now the new Highfather, calls him. He calls Scott every time Scott finishes up with a set of creatures. It’s repetitive but I think that was the point. There’s a panel of Scott getting orders literally the second he’s done with a battle. He’s still on the ground, panting, struggling to get to his feet, but the battle rages on. In the last issue, Mister Miracle’s state of mind was revealed and it doesn’t seem to be the most stable. When he’s wearing the costume, he’s clearly a man of many emotions. He’s a personality. But, when he’s just Scott Free, lying in bed with Barda, he clearly struggles while trying to find happiness and meaning. This war just emphasizes my point. Scott told Barda at the end of the last issue, “I don’t know how to escape this.” She hit him, told him toughen up, and that was it. Now, we see him killing beast after beast after beast. Trudging his way through his own emotions while permanently ending the life of someone else. It’s something to behold and that’s just the first few pages.
Next, we see Scott and Barda in a room after battle. Those effects of war? Barda is feeling them. She doesn’t even remove her gear. She just sits on the bed, green blood covering her body. I love their relationship because it’s so simple but you can tell they care for each other. Both of these characters have issues, but Scott looks at Barda with such admiration and love. They have a funny scene trying to figure out how the shower works. They travel to New Genesis soon after. As I said earlier, Orion is the new Highfather. The original died at the end of the last issue. His death wasn’t explained. Here, another great show of emotion as Barda and Scott appear before Orion, but Scott refuses to call him Highfather. The 9-panel technique works so well for Gerads here as the disdain on Scott’s face is palpable. Eventually, he bows to Orion. Orion then tells them that the woman that “raised” them on Apokolips, Granny Goodness is the main force behind Darkseid’s forces. He gives them new orders. Find and kill Granny Goodness.
While they are sleeping, the weirdest part of the issue happens next. Scott is sleeping next to Barda when someone enters his dreams and says, “Scott Free, you are not to know the face of God.” It’s an elderly man named Metron and he repeats this several times. Scott tries to wake Barda but she doesn’t move. They leave to find Granny the next morning. I love the way Gerads draws them leaving through a boom tube. It’s the same way every time, and I feel like these scenes are giving us key insight to the overall story, or at least clues as to where it’s headed. This time, Scott looks at Barda and asks her if she ever liked Granny Goodness. Scott recalls this one time when Granny showed kindness to him. He stumbles over his words at the end, trying to make sense of it all. Barda simply responds, “No, Scott. I never liked her.”
When our heroes arrive, they’re greeted warmly by Granny. They have a snack with her while discussing terms of a truce. Well, she tells them that Darkseid will only accept their surrender and Orion’s head on a plate. During this, we learn that Granny has one of the New Gods hostage. His name is Stormforge and she’s starving him to death. Back on New Genesis, Orion stated that seven of their New God brothers and sisters had been slain in the war. Granny Goodness is a weird, cruel lady and this scene was just as weird as anything else in this comic.
The issue concludes with Barda and Scott sneaking out at night. Taking out guards on their way to kill Granny Goodness. When they go into her tent, she’s ready with a weapon. She fires the weapon and hits Barda, who falls to the ground. Here, we get more plot advancement than I was expecting. Granny asks Scott if Metron visited him last night. She continues, saying there’s so much he needs to know. She then tells him that Orion warned her about them coming and that Orion wanted her to kill them instead. Granny then reveals how she’s been a friend to the real Highfather this whole time, and she’s the one who told him that Darkseid had the anti-life equation. She talks about a prophecy. It talks about how Darkseid can only die by the hands of his own son. Scott is confused. He replies that Orion is Darkseid’s son. Granny replies, “Is he, Scott? Is he?” Before Granny says anything else, Barda gets up and beats her with a blunt object. Both covered in blood, Barda orders the mother box to conjure up a boom tube to New Genesis. It opens and our heroes leave with a presumably dead Granny Goodness in her tent.
The cover of this comic illustrates my point about war perfectly. Scott is staring at the sky, with a morose look on his face. He has a cut on his arm, and in the background, explosions light up the sky. Mister Miracle has to deal with everything in his life, in his head, while dealing with the reality of war. Tom King is an outstanding writer and this series is another example. It doesn’t matter if it’s the subtle, “I’m too tall,” comments by Barda or Scott stumbling over his words, trying to gather his thoughts, emotion is in every word. This comic is dark, depressing, and filled with melancholy, but at the same time, it’s filled with life. You can see that life when Scott tells Barda she’s beautiful. You can also see it in Gerads brilliant art. My favorite section was the beginning of the issue. The colors he used to show Miracle’s battles on Apokolips were great. The scene where Scott refused to call Orion Highfather was filled with exceptional details. Everything in this story has me hooked. The ending was a bit conventional. Too often does a character begin to spill key expositional info only to be killed right before. But, that doesn’t take away from the overall point and theme of this story so far. I enjoyed this issue from a plot stand point more than the first, but the first issue was one of the coolest issues I’ve ever read in a comic. Hopefully the future of Scott Free gets a bit brighter as we read on. I hope so. I highly recommend reading this comic if you haven’t done so yet. Whether you read my reviews or not, pick this comic up and experience it for yourself. And remember, war is nothing to joke about. I give this issue 4.7/5
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