Mister Miracle #9 – Tom King, Writer; Mitch Gerads, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Thus far, the one way to describe Mister Miracle would be “Harsh”. Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ reinvention of the Fourth World has been nothing short of brutal in different ways in every issue. The first issue featured an attempted suicide in graphic fashion, and later issues showed warfare and assassination in unflinching terms. Even the happiest issue of the series, featuring the birth of Scott and Barda’s son, was much more gritty and tense than one would expect. And this has all been without seeing the hellscape that is the prison planet of Apokalips up close and personal. No more. As Scott, Barda, and Lightray descend on the planet of Scott’s childhood to negotiate peace with Kalibak, this issue is easily the darkest and most horrific of the series, in countless ways. So much so, in fact, that I imagine that it might have turned off some readers if an issue like this came earlier. The horror of Apokalips has been shown before, of course, but never in such sadistic detail.
Elements such as the negotiating table being perched on the backs of chained slaves, or Scott and Kanto at the Apokaliptan urinal only for us to see that there’s a prisoner chained at the bottom, made me recoil. However, I can’t say that it’s anything but accurate for what Apokalips has been presented as. Tom King likes to present us with ugly realities in his work, and Mister Miracle joins Vision and Omega Men as superhero comics that pushed the audience’s tolerance at points. However, there’s always an emotional truth to the story that makes it great. The tension of the negotiating table is excellent, and the way the various players sabotage both the other side and their own has a lot of parallels in reality. Then there’s the scene with Scott and Barda receiving a cruel “Gift” from their partners in peace, which leads to the issue’s most powerful and painful moment. Finally, the last page has one final gut-punch of a twist that sets up the final arc of the series. It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely one that’s worth the ride.
Corrina: If Scott and Barda end up handing over their son to Darkseid to gain peace between the realms, then I throw up my hands at the point of this series being anything but gloom and darkness. I know, Kirby set up the precedent, with the baby switch having brought peace between the warring realms, so this story is only following on that but…still…
It’s harder to become bleaker than Omega Men but King and Gerards might just manage it.
So, yeah, my opinion of the series as a whole will rely on the ending. That is usually the case for me with much of King’s stories: they read better in collected form than single issues because it’s hard to glimpse the full tale otherwise.
So we’ll see.
In the meantime, I will admire the attention to detail of the art, which Ray has already mentioned. When you read this, you’ll miss some of it. Go back and read it again.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.