Image: DC Comics. Art by Mitch Gerads

The first issue of Mister Miracle put Scott Free under a microscope, examining the psyche of a man trying outrun his own mortality in a hazy world where it’s hard to tell what’s real and what isn’t. Mister Miracle’s second issue offers much the same thematically, but through the deceptive lens of interstellar politics.

Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle headed to New Genesis this week in the wake of Darkseid’s return and the death of the Highfather. Scott and his wife Barda find the planet engulfed in all-out war, and themselves hastily recruited as generals in the armies of Orion. If you’re not up on your New Gods family tree, Orion is the son of Darkseid, but raised as the Highfather’s own as part of the same trade that saw Scott raised on Apokalips by Granny Goodness under Darkseid’s order.

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The first issue was all about the weirdness of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World encroaching on the very real, messy world of Scott and Barda. This week’s Mister Miracle #2 acts as a suitable mirror, as the real, messy world and lives of the people on the grand stage of New Genesis encroach on the weirdness of the battle between the New Gods.

The issue opens in medias res with Scott being dispatched from battlefront to battlefront across the world in what’s become a trademark framing device of King’s work, the heavy thrum of the constant repeating dialogue. Scott, steadily more and more broken as the fight wages on, replies each time with a simple “Yes, Orion” and a battlecry, even as we see him progressively battered and bruised.

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Mister Miracle #2 isn’t really about the alien war, but instead the politics around it all. There’s still a level of discontent about Orion’s ascension to the position of Highfather given his heritage. Barda is quick to follow orders and bestow Orion with the respect his new position commands, but Scott isn’t. He’s petty toward his step-brother, even in the face of New Genesis’ impending defeat at the hands of Darkseid’s armies, being led by Granny Goodness. So Orion issues an order to the pair: given their past history being raised by Granny in the hellish environs of Apokalips, they are to meet with her, and instead of offering peace, assassinate her. It’s a political power play by Orion, and one that exploits the pain and suffering Barda and Scott endured growing up for his own gain. The messiness of their lives and the politics of war are all intermingled into one grim situation.

But meeting Granny again only makes things messier and weirder for Scott. He admits to Barda that he still harbors a weird fondness for the surrogate mother from literal hell, making their mission even harder. And that’s when Granny reveals a devastating secret.

Just as Barda and Scott are about to fulfill their mission and assassinate her, Granny knocks Barda out, revealing to Scott that Orion was attempting to stab them in the back. In an attempt to consolidate his power (and take the true son of the Highfather off the field), Orion pre-warned Granny of their real mission, telling her to take them out if they try to attack her... or so Granny says.

Scott was already at his weakest after the events of the first issue, where he was doubting his grasp on reality, and attempted suicide. Now he’s also caught in the crossfires of Orion and Darkseid’s war, and unable to trust anyone—including himself. But before Scott can even begin to grasp what Granny told him, Barda reawakens. And just as quickly as she was to bend the knee to the new Highfather, as quick as she was to shut down Scott’s own admission of his weird relationship with Granny Goodness, she bludgeons Granny to death and whisks herself and Scott back to New Genesis. And Scott is left more bewildered and trapped than he ever has been before.

How we perceive what’s real and what isn’t, what’s true and what isn’t, is becoming the driving force of Mister Miracle, as the shattered mind of Scott gets shoved into a blender along with the treachery and duplicity of New Gods politics. It makes for a heady, dazing read, as you try to follow the twists and turns, but ultimately get as lost in the weirdness of the situation as Scott Free himself is—and it’s not going to stop anytime soon, if Granny Goodness’ seemingly final words are anything to go by. And that’s a good thing, because if Mister Miracle can keep this up, it’s on its way to becoming one of the most intense and thrilling comics currently being published.

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