When a comic forces me to think about ideas and themes I’m not sure it’s even trying to get me to think about, I’d call that a win. Actually, the same can be said for all forms of media. When a film mainly about war, makes me think about love in ways I never have before, I find that fascinating. Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads is that type of comic. It’s a superhero story about the ongoing war between New Genesis and Apokolips. On the surface, it’s a very interesting story, and worthy of recognition. The New Gods are a section of comics I’ve always been interested in. They’re a group I have never known much about, and this comic presents a great opportunity to enter their world. And as I just said, it’s a world filled with chaos on the surface. Underneath, this is a story about true love, identity, and mental illness, and so much more. Issue #3 of this series has the most plot, and while this seems like the most straightforward issue of the series, I think it has the most to say.
Here are the links for the first two reviews I did on this series. I recommend checking them out if you haven’t, to avoid any spoilers.
War is the subject of this series so far. A war has erupted (once again) between the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips. War seemed to be a heavy theme in the last issue. Scott Free aka Mister Miracle and his wife, Big Barda, fight for the glory of New Genesis. Opposite of them, is the world of Apokolips, led by Darkseid. The last issue showed Free fighting parademons left and right. He and Barda were covered in blood and exhausted as the war raged on. Orion, the “brother” of Scott and original son of Darkseid, leads the New Genesis fight as the new Highfather. But, if the ending of issue 2 is any indication, it’s clear that Orion has some sort of motive that isn’t being made clear. The third issue starts with Scott reminiscing about Granny Goodness, who Barda killed at the end of the last issue.
Scott and Barda are lying in bed. Scott wants to tell Barda a story that Granny used to tell him, but she isn’t interested. Scott says something here that sticks out to me. He says, “I have to get stuff out of my head,” when talking to Barda. Maybe another indication of his mental health, and her response was, “Just go to sleep.” Maybe some commentary there on how even the one’s closest to us can be blind to our symptoms. Anyways, the story is about a young boy named Sven who informs his teacher on accident that his family has Jews in their basement, in 1942 German-occupied Netherlands. Sven’s father and brother are killed, and his family is sent to a work camp. Eventually, they’re all killed and Sven dies in a gas chamber, but not because of the gas. Sven was at the bottom of the pile of people trying to get out, and he suffocated from the people. Scott then says that Granny would end the story by saying, “Merry Christmas.” One depressing story, and Gerads art shows the melancholy on Scott’s face as he turns to Barda and she’s asleep. Also, Gerads’ art shines during the Christmas story as he shows us Orion retrieving the body of Granny Goodness, but Orion decides to cut her head off and send it as a gift to Darkseid. The art is gritty and in that VHS recorder style that I love about this series.
The next part of the issue, was probably my favorite part. This comic is called Mister Miracle, but he’s hardly been the “star” of this story. Yes, the story is about him and his struggles, but Scott hasn’t really been looked up to by anyone in this story, other than the people he performs for, and I’m not even sure those parts of the comic are real. This part though, had some of that classical DC Comics heroism and symbolism in it. Scott can’t sleep, he never really sleeps. A servant of New Genesis enters his home via boomtube. His name is Forager. They have a long conversation about Orion’s lust for power and how he doesn’t care about Forager’s people, the Bugs. Forager tells Scott that his people respect him, and that they know how much he respects them. To Forager, the only person worthy of following into battle is Scott Free. It was a cool moment but Scott instantly shut it down. He doesn’t care for Orion much at all, but doesn’t want to rise up against him. Lightray, one of the New Gods, enters Scott’s home next. He’s on orders from Orion to kill Forager for treason. He does so in front of Scott, leaving nothing behind. Lightray leaves and Scott finishes his drink. Then, he somberly says, “Merry Christmas,” before heading back to bed. By far one of the best moments in this series, not just this issue.
Scott and Barda are having lunch after one of Scott’s performances. She’s informing him about the war, but he’s got much more on his mind. I like their relationship in this story because while it’s simple, it feels real. But, Scott is trying to tell Barda his doubts about the war, about himself, and she’s just not listening. She responds by assuring him that she’s real. And his response is silence. Gerads puts them both in sunglasses in this scene, but the cheer and optimism can be seen on Barda’s face, and the dread and misery are clear on Scott’s.
The issue ends with Scott attempting to talk with Orion about what’s going on. From the original Highfather and Granny Goodness’ deaths, to the war, to Forager, everything. Scott has come to the realization that he may be infected with the Anti-life equation, which is basically a formula to control reality and the beings in it. Scott asks Orion if he’s infected with it too, but Orion begins punching Scott and asking him, “Have you ever seen the face of God?” He pummels Scott and demands that Scott looks up and answer his brother. Scott replies that Orion is not his brother. The issue ends with Orion removing his mask and saying, “This is the face of God,” as Gerads’ art begins to distort for the next eight panels. Orion’s words repeat, and we get more cryptic narration.
Is Scott infected with the Anti-life? Is that why he tried to kill himself in the first issue? Is he still trapped? How will he get out? Tom King has taken a unique approach with this story, and I think it’s paying off. Can Mister Miracle escape anything? That’s been the thought provoking question that DC asked us when this series started. When we think of things people can escape, especially if there an escape artist, we think of physical things. But, King and Gerads are reminding us that everyone, including superheroes, have mental, emotional, and psychological challenges we must escape every day. And if someone like Mister Miracle can’t escape them, can anyone? I’m not sure if that’s the message that is trying to be conveyed here, but I love that it’s making me think that way. I’m extremely interested in how this all plays out. Three issues in, nine to go. Keep pumping them out, DC, you’ve got a winner.
Been a little while since I posted on here, hope you enjoy this review though! Mister Miracle #4 is up next, followed by Falcon #2 and Astonishing X-Men #5. Great comics everywhere!! Remember to follow me on Twitter @peacelovecomics, and share this review if you liked it!