Mister Miracle #11 – Tom King, Writer; Mitch Gerads, Artist
Ray – 10/10
Corrina: Tense. Scary. But..Yay!?
Ray: It’s taken a while for Mister Miracle #11 to get here, with quite a few delays to the last few issues of King and Gerads’ DC masterpiece. But when you look at the way every single issue of Mister Miracle delivers on every level, it’s well worth the wait.
This penultimate issue is essentially a locked-room hostage exchange, picking up on the horrible bargain Darkseid offered Scott and Barda two issues ago – their son for peace between the two planets. As the issue opens, Scott and Barda are packing up to make the trip to Apokalips, seemingly to make the exchange. As the final page of last issue made clear, though, that is not quite the case. King has kept Darkseid very much in the background of this series, an implacable and omnipresent being of horror that is never seen but always felt. When he finally appears this issue, he’s first seen…eating crudites. It’s a suitably absurd touch that adds a surreal flair to the issue’s tension. The scenes where Scott and Barda say goodbye to their son are packed with emotional power – and then all hell breaks loose.
To say this comic is brutal would be putting it lightly. From the sacrifice Darkseid makes as part of the deal, to the way the initial assault against Darkseid backfires, the pace of the issue is best described as a quiet tragedy combined with explosive violence. Most of this series has been character-driven and then shocked us with just how dark it can get when the time is right, and that’s something that’s very hard to pull off. The way this final showdown is eventually revealed is stunning, although it once again pulls into question just how in-continuity this is. But then, that might be the point – the last few pages of the issue call everything we’ve seen into question with a surprise Metron appearance and a stunning double-page spread that may tie this into Rebirth, or mean that everything we’ve seen since the first pages of the first issue has been a lie or illusion. It’s one issue to go, and I still have absolutely no clue what the end game here will be. I do know that Tom King’s comics, especially when he explores second-tier characters, are unpredictable like nothing else in comics. So far, I think this might be his best work.
Corrina: King’s narrative style and Gerard’s art has been an incredible combination, working together to produce an amazing whole that also creates bonuses like tracking Scott’s numerous superhero t-shirts over the course of the story.
Given how dark King’s gone in his run on Batman, and how this series started with an attempted suicide, I was dreading this final confrontation with Darkseid.
Let’s just say babies and children do not have a good survival rate in superhero comics. (Unless one has the cosmic powers of Franklin Richards..oh, wait, maybe that will be the little Miracle’s secret weapon at the end.) I expected Scott and Barda’s fake-out of Darkseid but then all seemed lost, only to have a final twist appear that left Scott, Barba and their son as…together and safe? Maybe.
When this series began, I’d hoped for a fun, romantic adventure title. Instead, it turned into literary superhero fiction, with Scott suicidal and examining every choice in his life, even as he and Barda struggled with PTSD. It’s an amazing tale, overall, though I could have used far more of Barda’s point of view. Hopefully, the final issue will end things on a positive note.
But I’m not counting on it.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.