Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mitch Gerads
Colors: Mitch Gerads
Cover: Clayton Cowles
Published: March 14, 2018
There were two massive developments at the end of the previous issue of Mister Miracle, and this issue deals exclusively with one of them, but maybe not the one you expect (I absolutely didn’t). Right before Scott and Barda enter Orion’s throne-room, after making their way through his funhouse of death, Barda tells Scott that she is pregnant. Then inside the throne-room, Scott finds Orion dead and Darkseid seated in his place. It’s unclear if Darkseid was actually there or if it’s the product of Scott’s still fragile metal state (it’s still currently unclear if any of this is ‘real’). But the answer to that question will have to wait as this issue focuses on the birth of Scott and Barda’s son. That is the singular focus of this issue which is an interesting choice that deserves its own consideration. The common or more straightforward choice, not that this series follows that path very often, would have been to delve into the Darkseid plot and what’s going on with Scott. But many of the best parts of the first six issues were the funny/serious/honest moments between Barda and Scott, and by focusing on this hugely important moment in their relationship, Tom King is letting on that he knows that those two together is where the good stuff is. If you think about issue #6, probably the highpoint of the series, that issue is worse if if Scott and Barda are not going through all of that together with their real life playing out among the absurd. King still has to answer some of the questions he’s raised, but even if the ending isn’t entirely satisfying, all the Scott and Barda stuff will have (probably) made the journey worth it.
The issue opens with a very pregnant Barda and Scott having trouble with a very unhelpful valet in a very funny exchange that sets a bit of a lighter tone for this issue where there is no real conflict and no one dies. Scott and Barda make it into the hospital and are just waiting in their room when some unexpected visitors from Apokolips show up. Big Barda is a former member of the Female Furies who are some of Darkseid’s best agents. They aren’t there to fight (they are currently Scott’s enemies) but to be present for the birth of child to a Female Fury, even if it is a former member. As Scott and Barda wait in their room he is constantly suggesting increasingly ridiculous names for their child which Barda keeps shooting down. Scott and Barda don’t actually have a ton to say to each other as they wait, they talk about names, what they experienced as children in the X-pits of Apokolips, and what it means that their child will never experience that. This moment and its importance to both of them is something that doesn’t need to be stated explicitly, but comes across more clearly in the way Scott is trying not to be useless by pacing around her bed or asking if she wants some spicy food to speed up the process. It’s funny and sweet and watching all this you just want everything to work out for these two. At one point while Scoot is out in the hallway getting some ice for Barda, the leader of the Furies gives him a special knife (which she says she will later use to kill him) that is the only thing that will pierce Barda’s skin when the baby needs to be removed. Its an odd moment but a fortuitous one. Once Barda begins giving birth and as the baby comes out it is not screaming or making any noise because the umbilical cord is wrapped around its neck. As Scott is panicking and wondering what to do, in his only moment of extreme fear and doubt in this issue, the black “Darkseid Is” panel appears. This mirrors the moment in which this panel appeared in the previous issue. As the two of them moved towards Orion’s throne-room and Scott was moving and reacting the panel was not seen. It was only when he entered the throne-room and saw Orion dead, a moment of fear and doubt, that it appeared. Back in the hospital room, immediatley following the “Darkseid Is” panel, Scott grabs the knife he was given and uses it to cut the umbilical cord. The baby sputters into a cry. Eventually they decide on the name Jacob for the grandson of Darkseid, the first new god born on earth.
While not the most dynamic art seen in this series, Mitch Gerads really captures the boredom, worry, relief on Scott and Barda’s faces as the issue progresses. The focus of this issue is more about the emotion of those two people who are about to be parents and the art completly backs up and expands on what these two are feeling. Whether its Barda’s single tears or Scott’s constantly shifting posture, you always know what they are feeling. The four Furies are probably the most unique thing to look at in this issue and each have their own distinct thing going on that is communicated more through the art than through dialougue. There’s the silent one, the apathetic one, the wild one, and the serious understated one. Mitch Gerads’s work on this series has been outstanding and it’s wonderful how he can keep the art so engaging and emotional even when there’s no convential action scenes.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 8