Mister Miracle #4 from DC Comics by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Clayton Cowles is an intimate affair, part courtroom drama, but the players a gaudily dressed ‘gods’ and the setting is an apartment living room. Let that settle in for a second, that peculiar, confusing juxtaposition: that’s Mister Miracle, and that’s why this series is fast becoming a modern classic of comics with each issue.
I’d discussed before how Mister Miracle tackles powerful themes, too, such as depression and PTSD. That continues here as Scott Free is put on trial by Orion, now Highfather, in our perhaps most clear look yet at Mister Miracle’s state of mind.
As Orion’s relentless questions continue, Mister Miracle reveals just how encompassing his own confusion and hate have become, and how it’s caused him to question his own reality and the positives in his life. This is what depression is. Perhaps what the comic posits that Darkseid is.
Because Scott Free is now anything but free. He’s trapped in the biggest, most elaborate trap, a trap that has so many of us in the real world, and is perhaps exactly why this comic is so relatable. As Scott himself lists the facts as he sees them, facts that the audience, both in the comic and reading the comic, can see are not the case, we see more and more of the chains binding him.
Gerads expertly mirrors this in the panel structure, a simple nine panel grid, but that almost all the time actively separates the characters from each other. In some cases, this is for literal reasons: a scene where Big Barda, Lightray and the Security Guy as Scott calls him are all sat on the couch, the gutters separate them because each character is separated by their intentions and the animosity between them. However, it is also notable that nearly every time Scott Free is in panels by himself, separated from the others by the gutters.
This is because his world view is separating him. Mister Miracle’s view of reality is untrustworthy, and its creating a barrier between him and those around around him.
Mister Miracle #4 continues the series’ powerful and expert look into the ways in which we entrap ourselves, either willingly or unwillingly, through our actions or our states of mind and emotions. Whatever it is that keeps us where we are.
After all, we’re all bound by something.
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