Cracking The Equation: Mister Miracle #12

The final entry in our running conversational commentary from Thomas and Adam on the 12-issue DC Comics series, Mister Miracle, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. Previous installments located here

Adam: Alright, folks! Show’s over, please gather your belongings and make your way to the nearest exit. . .

After the breathless, climactic action of #11, this issue sees the dust settle. All the dust. All the settling. This final issue is a relaxed, contemplative piece which sees the creative team play not only with the idea of the “performance” and what happens when the curtain comes down, but also with the eternal DC Comics superhero concepts of continuity and multiversity.

And Scott Free finishes the series in an Adam Strange t-shirt.

Thomas: I don’t know what just happened.

Adam: There are famous people at the beginning. And Barda kicks the crap out of Kanto. And also Mister Miracle finally shaves off his beard of sadness. And he has a maybe-imaginary fight with Highfather. And more stuff, and more stuff after that.

But more seriously, it’s an odd wrap in the sense that it’s more wholesome than I was expecting. The endings of Vision, Omega Men and Sheriff of Babylon were all tonally comparable, I found. I liked them, but they definitely seemed to settle on a wistfully ambiguous note. Issue #12 of Mister Miracle feel like a love letter to superheroes, particularly the optimism at the heart of DC Comics – with the special post-script that they deserve good things and in particular, a life after the show. In this way, it actually recalls the fantastic “happily ever after” Batman and Catwoman story of King and Lee Weeks’ Batman Annual #2 last year.

Thomas: It’s definitely wistful but I found it to be quite bitter too. It’s a sad commentary on the cyclic nature of superhero comics, the more things change etc. etc. he’s shaved his beard off just in time for the next volume of Mister Miracle in a new, bold direction. This is just another ‘era’ of Scott and Barda’s adventures, and there will be yet another version sooner or later – ignoring or retconning or even building on what came before (though I seriously doubt that one). There’s no end in comics, you just gotta keep rolling the stone up that bloody hill.

It also plays into the more mature storyline reflecting a soldier’s return to civilian life: its mundanity and the PTSD that he has obviously been suffering from through the entire series. The war will never end for Scott.

And yet at the same time there’s still fun to be had: a ‘first’ appearance of Avia, the Sonogram, clocking Izaya for being proud of giving Scott to Darkseid, Scott’s feet on Darkseid’s lap as he sings to Jacob – and the bitter sweet moment with Oberon. It’s moments like these that make this series so wonderful.

Adam: Ah, you’re right. In the end, Mister Miracle is both wistful and optimistic. And that’s one of the threads that has run throughout this book: life’s brighter and darker moments. A reminder of just one of the many varied journeys superhero comics can take you on.