Mister Miracle #6
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Clayton Cowles continue to deliver a series that’s gruesome, funny, and almost precious in equal measure in Mister Miracle #6, a sweet and thoughtful look at the impact childhood trauma can have our futures as much as it is a bloody, fast-paced battle through the Fourth World to confront Orion and attempt to stave off Scott Free’s execution. As Big Barda opens the issue by announcing she wants to redo their entire condo, the next 22 pages feature the couple bickering over closets and bathrooms and the merits of stuff even as they lay waste to guard after guard.
King’s pacing is impeccable, and is deft touch for Barda and Scott’s easy exchanges carries this issue handily. Too often writers tend towards over-worked, Aaron Sorkin-esque exchanges to show off the sharp wit of their characters and, in turn, of the writer themselves - there’s a fine line between snappy and smug dialogue, and like Mister Miracle himself, King tiptoes across it with laser precision.
Characters like Scott and Big Barda certainly should have an easy rapport built on their shared experiences and their deep devotion to one another, and Mister Miracle #6 is built on the strength of King’s understanding of that bond. King keeps the pacing quick and the words heartfelt but never grating or saccharine sweet.
The nine-panel grid for the series continues to be an excellent choice, and illustrator Mitch Gerads continues to explore innovative new ways to take advantage of its boundaries within boundaries. The Tidedragon escape in this week’s issue is especially beautiful, in no small part thanks to Gerad’s gorgeous colors and Clayton Cowles’ panel-spanning lettering. Mister Miracle #6 embraces negative space, toying with panel sizes and composition to evoke a sense of space and motion within the confines of the minimal flexibility offered by the team’s design choices. Kudos to Cowles’ lettering skill as well - not disrupting the aesthetic of such a visually rigid book is an arduous task, but his careful work complements Gerads’ artwork and keeps the dialogue easy to follow.
Mister Miracle is a consistently beautiful and thoughtful book that works as well as a soft family dramedy as it does a wild sci-fi thriller. King has crafted a thoughtful, emotional look at trauma and recovery that embraces the idea that there’s no universal panacea for troubled childhoods except, perhaps, the devotion of a found family that lets you find yourself without leaving you adrift. Mister Miracle #6 marks the half-way point of the series and isn’t a stand-alone, but serves as an excellent introduction to the long history of Mister Miracle for newcomers to the Fourth World. For those who have been waiting, you’ll either want to hold out for the trades or start catching up from issue #1 digitally. Regardless of your medium, Mister Miracle #6 is an excellent read from a stellar series, and absolutely worth your time.