Writer: Tom King
Art, Inks, Colors: Mitch Gerads
Cover Art: Nick Derington
Published: September 13, 2017
It’s fair to say that the action kicks off immediately in Mister Miracle (MM) #2. The opening couple of pages are a gross/delightful fight between MM and some parademons on New Genesis. He starts off by blasting one unsuspecting parademon in the head before scrapping with another on the ground, which he finally beats by smashing with his dislodged aerodiscs (which are apparently little discs he attached to his feet and not just an effect to indicate he’s flying, who knew). The first half of the book is devoted to MM and Big Barda’s efforts to protect New Genesis from the invading armies of Apokolips led by Granny Goodness. Orion has assumed command of New Genesis and you see Scott in a number of different panels acquiescing with “Yes Orion” as he is commanded to enter battle after battle. Scott’s face, posture, suit, and words betray his weariness and frustration as he repels waves of invading parademons. At some point Scott and Barda are allowed some rest, and even then he is rebuffed by an overly complicated shower and unhelpful mother box. If the previous issue was King and Gerad exploring the tortured psyche of a man unsure if he wants to be alive, they showed in this issue that they are just as capable of doing fun and funny as well as the existential stuff. The post battle shower, Barda yanking Scott down in front of Orion, eating jello with Granny, each of these moments undercuts the mounting threat that looms in the rest of the book. The best example of their light touch may be a page near the end that shows Scott and Barda sneaking through the enemy camp at night. Their path is indicated with dashed white line and actions are accentuated by verbs like “sneek, fite, jmp, kik, runn, trn, and tkle”.
The suicide attempt that was the center of the last issue goes unmentioned, but doubt (about his childhood or himself) still lingers with Scott. His (begrudging) dedication to Orion and defending New Genesis was demonstrated when he entered battle after battle, but Scott worries about what he will have to become in the name of the cause. When he wonders aloud if he has the resolve to kill Granny right before he and Barda step through a boom tube to meet her he receives no sympathy from Barda. Their relationship has been depicted warmly in the first two issues, but in this doubt Scott is alone. For Barda their child hood was only pain, while Scott is not sure what it was/means and if it is worth killing over. It still not clear what sort of existential pain King is trying to unravel. It is during this visit with Granny that the portent “Darkseid is” appears for the only time in this issue. It appears right before Granny tells Scott of Orion’s plot to get him killed, the prophecy of who can kill Darkseid, and Barda smashing Granny’s face in.
Mitch Gerads art continues to delight in this issue with the lighter moments letting his art really shine. The green goo that obscures MM and Barda as they fight is an absurd lime green, but the way it sticks to them even after they take their costumes is a gross/great manifestation of the conflict they have just suffered. Gerard also succeeds in making Granny Goodness extremely repugnant, and helping the reader quickly understand how this woman could make a child’s life horrible (think Trenchbull from Matilda). In the final three panels of the book, when Barda is having her revenge, she is represented as only a white figure while the vicious results of her work spatter the foreground. These panels let you understand the hate Barda previously mentioned she had for this woman to do her in so violently.
The questions King raised about memory and the past in the previous issue are replaced here by questions of forgiveness and the pain of childhood. “Darkseid is” (and Granny as well ) part of Scott’s life and not a problem or memory or excuse that can sit forever at the center of Scott’s existential turbulence. That’s just a guess of how you could end a sentence that begins, “Darkseid is” and the first two issues should give all readers hope that the end of that sentence will be as nuanced as it is exciting.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 9