Mister Miracle #8 by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Clayton Cowles is a bizarrely uplifting chapter in the otherwise surreal and depressing series.
Following the death of Orion, Scott Free is now Highfather of New Genesis, leading his troops in the war against Apokalips. He’s also a new father, so he and Big Barda have to split their time and take turns fighting an intergalactic war and taking care of baby Jack.
Now, to say this is an “uplifting” chapter does not mean that it’s a straight up happy story. Scott’s still fighting a war, and it’s a gruesome one. And he’s still an anxious mess. But the scenes where he’s taking care of Jack are warm and happy. It’s somewhat alarming given the usual nature of the series.
Also alarming is how hard King and Gerads cut between the war scenes and the baby Jack scenes. It’s shocking in the same way that the random “Darkseid is.” panels usually are; it doesn’t allow you to get comfortable.
Mitch Gerads draws basically two different comic books in this one issue. He draws the happy story of a father and son, full of soothing blues and teals, as well as the brutal war story, full of death, destruction, and fiery reds. He’s a master of his craft. Just take one look at any given page – you don’t even have to read the words – and you have a perfect sense of the scene’s tone and emotion. Meanwhile, the warp effect he uses on seemingly random panels has not lost its effect after 8 issues. And his fight scenes are just so fluid and fun to read.
There’s a lot being said in this issue, as usual. King seems to be talking about work-life balance, and about enjoying the little moments of peace and happiness while you can. There’s also an argument that maybe you can’t enjoy the little moments of peace because everything else still bleeds through. Like every issue of Mister Miracle, there’s a huge valley of gray area, and it’s all very relatable.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from issue 8 is the value of family. Scott’s been a wreck for the entire series up to this point, but we’re finally seeing him smile in his personal life. Having Jack allows him some momentary breaks from his usual crippling depressing and anxiety. King’s given him something he didn’t have when he tried to kill himself: something to fight for.
The sense of dread still builds, however, because King’s also given Scott just more to lose when things go south.
Mister Miracle is the #1 must-buy comic right now, of any genre, and any publisher. I can’t wait for this series to end, so that I can re-read it in its entirety and experience the anxiety all over again.