“There are master magicians performing here. Their names are Tom King and Mitch Gerads. And like the best magic trick, with MISTER MIRACLE you’ll never see it coming.” —Brad Meltzer (IDENTITY CRISIS) That is a quote we started our review of Mister Miracle #1 with. And now we've hit the climax of the entire series and Brad couldn't have been more right. Then end of this run will leave you captivated, enthralled, delightfully confused, and slightly upset that there is no more to come.
What you get from this issue are answers...and yet you get no answers. From the beginning I suggested certain options, and without spoiling it, assuming you haven't been following us from the beginning I can say that I was right. Partially. This issue boils down to what I like to call "The Cypher Effect". I'm sure there is an actually psychological term for it, however, I like to do things my way. So do you remember the first Matrix? The character Cypher? Well at a dinner table with the "villain" of the movie Agent Smith, he says this right before selling all of his team out: "I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put in my my mouth the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious." Cypher goes on to end his rant with the saying "ignorance is bliss" and that's what you get from this issue. Mister Miracle has closed his eyes to truth in acceptance for what is not.
So was their a devastating war between the Gods? Is Darkseid dead or is he still a baby somewhere? Did Barda get the bathroom in time to take Miracle to the hospital saving his life? Or did he bleed out on that bathroom floor? Did he succeed at escaping from life only to be trapped in this alternate reality. The fact is we'll never know. And with Kings "Inception" like ending we'll never know if the top stopped spinning. And that to me is only part of what makes not only this issue issue a Masterpiece, but the whole series.
Through suicide or attempted suicide Scott Free, Mister Miracle has learned just because you can escape doesn't mean you have to. This comic is riddled with people, very well known people to Scott expressing their disappointment in his inability to "escape". All but one, a stout and old man who asks him: "what makes one reality more real than the other?" Ultimately, King gives us a fantastic and honest story, And one that ends with the hope that maybe Scott and Barda are okay. Their kids are okay. And their living happily every after.
But in the end, it doesn't matter. What was real to Scott or what was real to us? Because like Scott, King took us on a journey. Death, war, life, etc. What's real and what's not doesn't matter. All that matters is Darksied Is, Scott is happen, and we've got one of the greatest comic book masterpieces of this generation.
As for what Gerads brings to this issue. You should already know by now. Consistent art, great colors, clean panels and a sense of emotional understanding that translates well through the pages. And I find that, that is one of those things that you get when you have the same artist throughout the series. The art was great in issue 1 and its great in issue 12. Gerads' use of his distortion effect is put to magnificent use in this issue, showcasing that Scott might have won the war...but again, did he really win, (or lose for that matter) anything? Gerads' Use of colors is has always been spectacular. And the tones used to differentiate "Scott Free's life" from "Mister Miracle's life" is truly something amazing.
Mister Miracle #12 is the prestige a final act should be. It is delightfully confusing and slightly frustrating that even after a year we still don't understand the trick. However, what has happened is that King and Gerads have entertained us. In the end Scott Free HAS escaped. Maybe not life. Maybe not the afterlife. But the guidelines and rules so many of us are forced to follow. The ideas of what is real and what is not. This issue is a solid and heartfelt conclusion to a saga that had me at Darkseid Is. And proves that King is not only a master at words, but the king at eliciting emotions.