By Kelly Gaines
Mister Miracle continues a streak of comic excellence in issue #9 as Scott and Barda’s new parenthood and intergalactic mission collide. We’re coming to the end of the Mister Miracle miniseries, and the next three issues promise to wrap up what has been an emotional and vividly told story. The golden couple of the DC universe has a critical choice to make, one that will decide the future of thousands.
Barda and Scott have become mediators in the social and political battle between New Genesis and Apokolips. The negotiations are tense to put it lightly and facilitated on a table with living human legs, the upside of which is that Scott and Barda do not have the hardest job in the room. Like in previous issues, the strange imagery is undercut by mundane situations, including a conversation between Scott and an old friend that sounds like typical "just got back from vacation" chatter- even though they're standing feet from a giant death pit and the vacation was back in time to the Italian Renaissance. The contrast is flawless, and the side story manages to fit though it is not tied to the central plot. It reminds me of the clown anecdote in Watchmen- not necessary for the plot and yet the story would be missing something without it. The Free's are spending a week face to face with the darkest parts of their past, a reflection Barda has clearly accepted more fully than Scott. She's doing her best to hold everything together, but Scott seems to be slipping back into his head and into emotions he can't control. It's the ultimate test of heroism- what good is a hero if they can't face what's going on in their own head?
Their week of arguing and remembering ends with an ultimatum- Apokolips will release all prisoners of war and ceasefire is Scott and Barda are willing to give them one thing- their son. It's in this moment that the religious imagery subtly placed through the series starts to manifest in the plot. It's a biblical choice- the lives of your people for your firstborn son. Obviously, Barda is strongly opposed, and Scott seems to be as well, but the darkness following him for the past nine issues has begun to take its true form- that of Darkseid pulling the strings. Maybe Scott's not as healed as he believed he was- maybe Scott Free isn't free at all.
Mister Miracle is an amazing read. The consistency of both quality design and thought-provoking writing is a gift straight from the comic book gods. I'd call this another strong point for doing limited series. Having twelve issues to tell a story means you have twelve issues to expertly and deliberately craft something amazing. Mister Miracle's team is knocking it out of the park.
Mister Miracle #9