[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The hit miniseries reaches the emotional conclusion of its first arc! Scott Free returns to New Genesis to face his punishment, but instead finds the whole world has been flipped upside down. Mister Miracle and Big Barda battle their way through monsters and New Gods to get to the Highfather, but once they reach Orion’s throne room, they learn that the war against Darkseid has taken a bloody turn.
In this issue, King is letting a bit of comedy sneak into his storytelling. The story is no less dramatic and compelling, but there are some nuggets of comedy gold snuck in as well. The most evident is Scott and Barda’s extended discussion, bordering on argument, about remodeling their condo, concurrent with their bloody battle to reach Orion’s throne room. It also turns out that the motivation for the remodeling is an important dramatic plot point.
But my favourite bit of humour is the discussion between two unnamed New Gods who are serving as guards in Orion’s army. One of them wonders what the first three worlds are that must have their Fourth World. One wonders if German soldiers in World War II had similar questions about the First and Second Reichs. Then the same guard, when asked if he knows anything about theology, responds: “Dude, I’m a god. I am theology.”
At the climax of the issue, Darkseid finally makes an appearance in the story. The single panel in which Darkseid appears is distorted, as similar moments have been in earlier issues – but this time to an even greater degree. It’s as if Scott’s world is unraveling. What this signifies is still unclear. My hypothesis is that the reality Scott is experiencing isn’t real, and this distortion indicates the moments where Scott is closest to seeing that unreality.
Also, Darkseid expands the often repeated refrain of “Darkseid is.” When Scott demands of him “What did you do?”, Darkseid answers, “Darkseid does not do. Darkseid is.” This invokes the idea of God’s essential essence being “I am”. Put this together with Scott’s statement that in his encounter with Darkseid, he has seen the face of God, it seems that Darkseid is being equated with God with a capital ‘G’.
But it seems strange – not to mention antithetical to most religious thought to equate God to a being such as the god (small ‘g’) Darkseid. But if Scott is in a reality that has been created by Darkseid (or one of his minions), then wouldn’t Darkseid be the God of that reality? This is merely speculation for now, but this series certainly gives the reader much to ponder.
This series is so well done, that trying to find a negative is difficult. The revelation I mentioned before that motivates the Frees’ home renovations is that Barda is pregnant. If it turns out that Scott is in a fake reality, then that means that Barda likely is not really pregnant, which will be disappointing. We will have to wait to see what happens in the second half of the series.
Mister Miracle is one of the most engaging, and thought-provoking comics I have encountered. Plus, the fact that it is well-rooted in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World mythology make it even better. This was one of the best comics of 2017 and probably will be for 2018 as well.