Mister Miracle #2
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10
Scott Free goes to war in the darkly hilarious Mister Miracle #2. Standing like a Coen Brothers adaptation of Jack Kirby’s sweeping cosmic works, the second issue capitalizes on and builds on the wry, yet nightmarish tone of the debut issue. Except this time the scenes are set against the expansive and dangerous background of the ongoing war with Apokolips. Tom King made the intimate powerful in Marvel’s The Vision and in Mister Miracle #2 he’s done it again on a much larger scale.
And if anyone was born for the nine-panel grid is it Mitch Gerads, because, holy smokes, you guys. Employing a precise eye for composition, dynamic colors and visual momentum, Gerads flourishes in this second issue, getting to render some juicy set pieces that draw us deeper into the war against Darkseid and into Scott’s insane life. Armed with a sharp, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny script and raw, personal artwork, Mister Miracle #2 keeps the series going strong and for the throat.
It has been a long war for 'General' Scott Free, and he is starting to feel it. Opening with a gruesomely cool close-up by Gerads of a Parademon feasting on a carass, Tom King gets us up close and personal with the frontlines of the war. King and Gerads stylishly cover a lot of story ground in these early pages, making each panel a bleak moment in time in the campaign. Much has been said about the story economy and purposeful decompression this creative team can generate and Mister Miracle #2 is just the latest example.
But while this issue leans into the cosmic and pulpy backdrop of the characters and carries with it heavy implications for the rest of the story, Mister Miracle #2 is also very, very funny. Anchored around King’s aloofly angry Scott Free, King delivers some genuine laughs, mostly centered around Scott and Barda, which will delight fellow Scott/Barda shippers across the world. But more than that, these characters feel real, thanks to the genuine spark King displays through their dialogue and their interactions. From subtle things like Scott refusing to call Orion by his new title or Barda being self-conscious about being too tall, these gods and demigods feel like actual characters with agency and emotional depth. Not too shabby for a group of characters that hang out with a guy named Lightray.
Though the debut issue was a great display of Mitch Gerads’ visual prowess in Mister Miracle #2 he shines in both the macro and micro. Shifting from real time to long stretches of story real estate with ease, Gerads goes from showing Scott struggling against a single parademon with his aero-discs in harrowingly personal detail to conquering tracts of enemy territory in the turn of a page. Gerads even does us one better with a showstopping sequence of Scott and Barda sneaking through Granny Goodness’ camp that works as a charming, yet tense sequential sequence that, when looked at as one page, functions as a dynamite single splash page. Point of view is the lifeblood of comic books, and Mitch Gerads keeps proving that he has it running through his veins.
But again, like King, he keeps everything so personal and so focused on a particular moment in time. Calling to mind artists like Jon-Davis Hunt and Jamie McKelvie, Gerads is never showing us more or less than what we need to see for that specific moment. It serves scenes like the opening horrorshow and battlefield scuffle by injecting tension. It makes the compressed storytelling pop in a pointed way as it visually conveys Scott’s exhaustion, anger, and barely-holding-it-together charm with singular specificity that feels almost curated. Tom King’s script is rock solid, please don’t get me wrong, but nobody could draw the way Scott looks at Barda like Mitch Gerads and I think that’s what makes Mister Miracle so special.
War is hell, but hell is Darkseid, and after Mister Miracle #2, Scott may be closer to him than he ever thought possible. Capitalizing on an ambitious first issue, Tom King and Mitch Gerads go even bigger while at the same time keeping it laser-focused on their cast all meticulously set into a taut nine-panel grid. Believe the hype and submit to Anti-Life. You’ll be glad that you did.