By Justin McCarty
What is it about the nine-panel grid that automatically gives a comic book the feel of literature? It feels like King, Gerards, and Cowles are elevating the art form. Every element stays true to the point of the story. Just like in the first issue, what is on the surface is wholly juxtaposed to what is just beneath. After almost dying in his most dangerous stunt yet Scott and Barda are off to New Genesis to deal with invading Apokalips armies.
This issue begins with Scott taking on Darkseid’s forces. He and Barda seem to have stalled their advances for the time being. Granny Goodness is leading the invasion on another front, so Scott and Barda have been kept from the main battles. Their conflicted relationship with Granny Goodness is at the heart of the story. The interaction between our heroes and GG create some good character moments. Granny is sadistic, mean, and manipulative. She is also charming. How do Scott and Barda feel about this crazy person that raised them?
The relationship between Scott and Barda grows more distant. They love each other, but there is so much to overcome. Barda is insecure. Scott’s best days could be behind him. They just want to be boring. They can’t escape their past or their obligations. Scott and Barda come from such conflicted families it is hard to know where they come from. Who are they? The story circles these questions as we get deeper into the invasion of New Genesis.
The nine-panel grid captures the gestures and facial expressions so well. It's great for speeding up and slowing down the pacing on the fly. We can linger on a moment or let each beat fall in succession. We feel every moment. Gerards makes everything feel as if it's all just a dream. There is so much here that is uniquely comics. It could not be done in any other medium.
We are just beginning to discover what is at work below the surface of the story. Not only is Scott unsure of his decisions on Earth, is he doing the right thing on New Genesis? Entry two is just a great as the first. If you haven't started on this series yet, you should, you're missing out. This is a classic coming out in real time.
Mister Miracle #2