After the events of last issue, Mister Miracle is left with an impossible choice to make. Scott can end the war with Apokolips, saving billions of lives, but only by giving up what little happiness he has left.
We’ve been following Scott’s depression for ten issues now, and it’s gone through cycles. We’ve seen the good, we’ve seen the bad, and this issue is definitely more of the ugly. Tom King and Mitch Gerads use Scott and Big Barda to show how our anxiety and depression affects those closest to us, and how it just wants to take whatever little joy we can muster.
We’ve seen this story unfold from Scott’s perspective, but Barda has also had to deal with all the pain and trouble. Moreover, she’s had to be the strong one, the rock. Finally, she gets some much deserved catharsis in this issue, and it ranges from scary to sad. For the first time really, we see her pain. But we also see, like we’ve seen in previous issues, that she loves Scott despite his problems, and scream as she might, she’ll always be there to help him when he needs it.
It’s beautiful in the saddest way. Welcome to Mister Miracle.
Barda’s the dominating force in this issue, and Gerads doesn’t let you forget it. She commands whatever panel she’s in; Scott looks tiny next to her. It’s a brilliant parallel for their relationship. She’s the strong one holding everything together, and Scott just feels small and powerless.
Think about their relationship. They were both raised in hellfire, literally, but it affected them both very differently. They’re both fucked up, but one seems stronger for it, able to harness it and channel it into something positive while the other dwells on it in a negative sense. Again it’s a sharp commentary on the real world. We all live in the same, messed up world, but some of us deal with it better than others.
When reading issue ten, observe the way Gerads frames Barda and the way she stacks up to Scott. Most of this commentary comes through the art. Mister Miracle rewards you for paying attention and truly studying its craft more than any other book on the shelves.
Aside from how Scott’s metal health affects Barda, Mister Miracle #10 is about how depression tries to steal one’s happiness, and how one deals with that. It’s about bargaining and trying to make sense of nonsensical situations, ones that really shouldn’t require much thought at all. Scott considers making a terrible personal sacrifice for the greater good. It’s insane when you actually think about it, but to Scott it sort of makes sense. King and Gerads unpack this struggle in simple but powerful ways and show how our personal demons mess with our thought process.
Also, it’s great to see Scott’s superhero bros pop up for a cameo. The nods to Justice League International solidify this issue as a high point for the run. (Take note of Scott’s credit card and his bank. Again, pay attention, get rewarded.)
Only two issues left of Mister Miracle; what more can King and Gerads throw at us? Darkseid is.