Mister Miracle #7 review: the terror of the mundane
There's a scene in Mister Miracle #7 where the title character receives an alert from New Genesis. Millions of Apokoliptian troops have appeared on the field of battle, and as the new Highfather it is up to Scott Free to give orders.
Scott is, at most, nonplussed by this revelation. For Scott Free is distracted, terrified about a much more personal development: he's about to be a father.
The beauty and genius of Tom King and Mitch Gerads' series has been its intimacy. They're not afraid to go small to tell a big story. Given that these characters are literally called New Gods, it seems strange that their stories would be so relatable, but that's the beauty of Mister Miracle.
Look at the previous issue, for instance: Scott and Barda fight through hordes of soldiers as they make their way to the throne room of New Genesis, and all the while they're talking about remodeling their apartment. Completely relatable conversation in an unbelievable situation. They may be New Gods, but they're as human as you and me. Now, they're facing the real struggles that come with having a child, from trying to find a parking spot at the hospital all the way up to holding that new baby in your arms.
Rather than being offset by faceless armies or cosmic threats, Scott and Barda endure the slow, agonizing minutes and hours of labor. Every beep of a monitor or sharp abdominal pain just makes the time move that much slower. The most fantastical thing to occur is the arrival of Bernadeth and the Female Furies, their outrageous costumes clearly not blending in with the sterile hospital environment. Even still, they've come to provide support for their former sister. Passive threats against Scott's life aside, it's not much different than a normal human family gathered in the waiting room, hoping to be the first to know the delivery went well.
King is known to use repetition in his dialogue, and it comes off completely natural here. Scott and Barda assure each other as we are wont to do with our own loved ones, repeating phrases and even conversations to pass the time. From nowhere they'll discuss potential names for their child, such as "Axeblow" or "Thunderdeath," picking up earlier threads like only the closest of loved ones can. Gerads also uses repetition in his illustrations, creating genuine suspense across his nine panel grid. With only the slightest of changes to a facial expression or body position to indicate any difference between the current panel and those surrounding it, Gerads draws genuine suspense from Barda's labor. Like the characters, we're left wondering if everything will be okay. Cosmic threats against Mister Miracle take a backseat to the impending change a child brings, with the comparatively mundane experience of childbirth eclipsing an interplanetary war.
As a whole, Mister Miracle has been nothing short of a masterpiece, and its seventh issue continues that trend. It's a perfect portrait of what it's like to be a parent, where you go from experiencing anxiety to fear to relief. It all culminates in the first time you hold your child in your arms, wondering how something so small could become the biggest thing in the world.