What is the ***REDACTED***? Mister Miracle #7 Spoilers

What is the ***REDACTED***? Mister Miracle #7 Spoilers

Since it began, Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle has been a critical and fan darling, instantly hailed as one of the best, and most important, comic series being published. The themes about war and, more specifically, the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on soldiers, set it apart as more than just the average superhero comic but, instead, a mature work for our age.

The book has heavily utilized some particular stylistic motifs in order to evoke the surreal imbalance of Scott Free’s world within the story, with four in particular coming to define the series. One is the juxtaposition of the most fantastical elements of the Fourth World mythos with highly relatable, almost mundane, naturalistic dialogue between Scott and his wife, Barda.

 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #6

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #6

Another is a distortion effect, like an old television, that calls into question the very nature of Scott’s reality at its core.

 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #3

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #3

The third is the use of black panels with only the words “Darkseid Is” in stark white, which keeps the series grounded in a sense of existential dread.

 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

The last of these unique motifs has been the use of quotes from Jack Kirby’s original Mister Miracle issues, specifically the teases in the beginning and ending of issues. Using the quotes from the corresponding issues of the Kirby series, King places them in a way that contrasts and enhances these moments in various ways, but the best inspire, from Kirby’s bombastic, superlative text, a tangible sense of unease and even horror. The first use of this is the best, from the opening pages of the first issue.

 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

Here, a suicide attempt, when set against the carnival-barker intensity of Kirby’s introduction to his own series, creates a chasmic dissonance, as if the narration is mocking the magnitude of the moment even as it matches it.  

 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #1

Later, in issue 6, the climax of the first half of the series, a shocking and gory moment utilizes three of these motifs, including a block of Kirby tease text that slides from sinister to absurd and back, adding to the disorientation of this unsettling moment.

 Mister Miracle  Vol 4 #6

Mister Miracle  Vol 4 #6

But what does this have to do with issue 7?

***Spoiler Warning!!! If you haven’t gotten your hands on Mister Miracle #7, stop now, go to your local comic store and buy that thing! Fast!! You know the first printing is gonna sell out and you’ll get stuck with a second printing, or, god forbid, a third.***

In the last panel of the next-to-last page of #7, Scott tells Barda that their newborn child looks like a “lump.” This triggers another block of Kirby teaser text, this one from the end of his own Issue 7:

THINK OF THE MOST FEROCIOUS, MIND-SHATTERING FIGHT THAT HAS EVER TAKEN PLACE!!! - - - - - - AND IT WILL FALL PITIFULLY SHORT OF WHAT AWAITS OUR MISTER MIRACLE!!! ONLY THE ARENA OF THE GODS WOULD PRODUCE THIS COMBAT!!! ONLY VILE GRANNY GOODNESS WOULD FIND AN ADVERSARY LIKE THE LUMP!!! ONLY SCOTT FREE HAS A GHOST OF A CHANCE TO SURVIVE THE BATTLE OF THE ID!!
— Mister Miracle Vol 1 #7, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle Vol 4 #7, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
Mister Miracle #7 1.jpg
 Mister Miracle Vol 4 #7

Mister Miracle Vol 4 #7

Now, as you can see from the index of quotes at the bottom of this article, they will, at times, reference characters and plot elements from the classic series that are in no way related to the narrative of the current series, and anyone would be entirely justified to feel the same about the Lump quote...except it’s more than just a quote in this instance. By linking it directly to Scott and his own feelings about his child--the arrival of which is marked by heavy use of the distortion as well--King has built a connection to this quote that goes beyond just the usage of it so far.

So what is the Lump?

 Mister Miracle Vol 1 #7

Mister Miracle Vol 1 #7

The Lump first appeared in Mister Miracle #7 and 8. Held in Section Zero of Apokolips, the Lump was a creation of Granny Goodness, who runs the twisted Apokoliptian orphanage where Scott was raised. The Lump was an unmoving blob in the real world, but was incredibly powerful inside the realm of the mind.

 Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

After Scott returned to Apokolips to win his freedom through trial by combat, Granny Goodness and some honored guests watched on monitors as Mister Miracle took on the Lump, who was able to manipulate the very world around them to his whim, including crude simulated environments, even summoning up hazards such as quicksand.

 Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

Scott is able to defeat the Lump by turning that sand to glass, taking a reflective piece and showing the Lump his own disturbing visage, which causes the Lump to free Scott and withdraw into a comatose state.

 Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

Mister Miracle Vol 1 #8

The Lump has only shown up a tiny handful of times since its first appearance, but the most prominent was in Grant Morrison’s Batman: Last Rites and Batman: RIP The Missing Chapter, two stories that tell the same sequence of events from different perspectives, events that tie directly into Morrison’s own Fourth World-centric event, Final Crisis.

 Batman Vol 1 #683

Batman Vol 1 #683

The Lump was used on Batman after he is captured investigating Darkseid’s machinations on Earth, trapped in a horrific, and fully realized, version of his own life for weeks, unaware that it was nothing more than a fabrication. Of course, being a master detective, Bruce is able to suss out that he’s trapped in a false reality and is able to throw a wrench in the Apokoliptian plans, which leads to the Lump’s death and Bruce’s freedom.

 Batman Vol 1 #683

Batman Vol 1 #683

Again, it is perfectly reasonable to dismiss Morrison’s alteration to the modus operandi of the Lump and conclude that King’s story isn’t informed by Morrison’s work using the Fourth World characters, except that one major element of King’s story, the aforementioned invocation of the phrase “Darkseid Is,” comes from Morrison’s own work on JLA in the 90s. King has spoken directly about the influence Morrison’s take had on his own creation of this story. So what if it isn’t only “Darkseid Is,” but also Morrison’s extrapolation and expansion of the Lump that inspired King’s story?

And what, exactly, would that mean for Mister Miracle?

Well, in short, if Mister Miracle is secretly under the thrall of the Lump, then just about every single moment of King and Gerads’ series is called into question. What if the distortion effect is a literal distortion on a monitor, one watched by the (not really dead) Granny Goodness, or maybe even Darkseid himself? That would mean none, or nearly none, of the series is happening in the “real” world. Or perhaps King has evolved the Lump even further, so that Scott is infected by it and it’s the cause of the surreal elements in the story that are making Scott, and readers, question his reality? This would make Scott incredibly vulnerable and unstable, bring him to a place where he is unable to trust anyone or anything, making him much more susceptible to manipulation. Or perhaps it something else entirely, a scenario that will only be conceivable once King and Gerads reveal a few more of the cards they are keeping clutched to their chests?

No matter what, Mister Miracle #7 is another exemplary issue in a series filled with them, and it has only become more clear that Tom King and Mitch Gerads have a modern classic on their hands, one that will not only go on to win many awards but will be another evergreen title for DC.

Mister Miracle #7 is available in comic stores now. Until it sells out.

BONUS - Full Breakdown of the Kirby Quotes Used in King and Gerads’ Mister Miracle:

IS HE A MASTER OF SPECTACULAR TRICKERY - - OR IS HE SOMETHING MORE? - - YOU WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHEN YOU CONFRONT THE STRANGEST, MOST INCREDIBLE HERO EVER TO APPEAR IN COMICS! YOU WILL SEE WHAT HE DOES - - YOU WILL WONDER HOW HE DOES IT! BUT ALWAYS WAITING IN THE WINGS - - ARE HIS TWO GREATEST ENEMIES - - THE MEN WHO CHALLENGE HIM - - AND DEATH HIMSELF!
— Mister Miracle #1 Page 1, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #1 Pages 1-3, Tom King & MItch Gerads
AND SO THE ACT GOES ON - - TO OTHER SATANIC AND SINISTER SITUATIONS SIMMERING WITH MOUNTING MAGNITUDE TO JUGGERNAUT JOUST WITH THE SUPER ESCAPE ARTIST’S GREATEST ADVERSARY - - DEATH!! HE WILL ALWAYS BE SECONDS AWAY - - SWIFT! RELENTLESS! FINAL! FOLLOW MISTER MIRACLE(.) ENTER THE NEXT TRAP
— Mister Miracle #1 Page 22, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #1 Page 22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
DEATH LASHES OUT FOR MISTER MIRACLE - -SUPER-ESCAPE ARTIST(.) BUT IT IS NOT THE END, FRIEND! WHAT LIES AHEAD IS EVEN MORE TO BE DREADED - - A LIVING DEATH - - A TRAP SPRUNG BY A MIND NOT OF THIS EARTH - - - THE TERRIBLE - - INESCAPABLE...X-PIT! ALSO - - TO KNOW HER IS TO HATE HER - - “GRANNY GOODNESS”
— Mister Miracle #2 Page 1, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #2 Page 2, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
HOLD IT, DEAR READER! WE’RE NOT DONE WITH YOU YET! IT IS SAID THAT THE ULTIMATE TRAP - - IS THE SIMPLEST TRAP! - - AND WHAT COULD BE MORE SIMPLE - - THAN ENTERING AND LEAVING A BUILDING? FOR MISTER MIRACLE THAT COULD MEAN DEFEAT AND DEATH! YOU’LL BE MAD ABOUT HIS NEW EXPLOIT - - IF YOU SWALLOW - - “THE PARANOID PILL!”
— Mister Miracle #2 Page 22, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #2 Pages 21-22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
IT’S DOCTOR BEDLAM CALLING! AND HE’S GOING TO SPRING A TRAP THAT IS AS SIMPLE AND FOOLPROOF AND SINISTER AS HIS OWN EXISTENCE! READ WHAT LIES IN STORE FOR - - SCOTT FREE, MISTER MIRACLE! SUPER ESCAPE-ARTIST(.) OPEN THE DOOR OF TERROR!! AND DROP THE PARANOID PILL!
— Mister Miracle #3 Page 3, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #3 Page 4, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
IS IT TRUE? HAS DOCTOR BEDLAM, WITH THE AIR OF THE PARANOID PILL, DEVISED THE PERFECT TRAP FOR MISTER MIRACLE? IT WOULD SEEM SO! BUT ONE CAN NEVER BE CERTAIN, WHEN DEALING WITH A SUPER ESCAPE-ARTIST! WATCH THAT HURTLING TRUNK!!! WATCH FOR THE NEXT SENSATIONAL ISSUE OF MISTER MIRACLE!! AS HE PREPARES FOR - - THE CLOSING JAWS OF DEATH
— Mister Miracle #4 Page 22, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #4 Page 22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
BUT DESTINY IS ON THE MOVE WITH EVEN STRANGER EVENTS!!! FOR THERE ARE OTHER ARRIVALS FROM THE DREAD AND DISMAL WORLD OF APOKOLIPS!! CREATURES OF POWER!! - - DEDICATED TO DESTRUCTION - - AND VENGEFUL TO A LETHAL DEGREE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ON EARTH!! THEIR OBJECTIVE IS SIMPLE - - AND YET, COMPLEX!!! THEIR ORDER READ - - - TRAP AND DESTROY SCOTT FREE! - - MISTER MIRACLE!! SUPER ESCAPE ARTIST
— Mister Miracle #5 Page 4, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #5 Page 4, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
YOU KNOW HIM!! I KNOW HIM!! EVERYBODY GETS TO KNOW A ‘FUNKY FLASHMAN(.)’ THE QUESTION IS - - - ‘DO WE NEED HIM?’ THIS CAN BECOME A DESPERATE ISSUE - IF A ‘FUNKY FLASHMAN’ CAN DECIDE YOUR FATE!!! WATCH MISTER MIRACLE GET TAKEN!!! - - - BY THE CON’S CON-MAN!! - THE FUNKIEST AGENT OF THEM ALL!!!
— Mister Miracle #5 Page 22, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #5 Page 22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
AND NOW WE SWITCH TO THE PIGEON MARKED BY AMBITIOUS, ENTERPRISING FUNKY!! IT’S NONE OTHER THAN THAT HANDSOME, HARDWORKING AND DEATH-DEFYING SCOTT FREE!! - - WHOSE AMBITIONS AND STRANGE ENTERPRISE ARE AN OUTGROWTH OF AN EVEN STRANGER ORIGIN!! YES, IT’S A MYSTERIOUS PIGEON THAT WAITS FOR THE VULTURE’S SWOOP!! - - AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE MOMENT OF THE KILL, OPENS WIDE THE DOOR FOR A SHOCKING GLIMPSE OF THE REAL WORLD OF MISTER MIRACLE! SUPER ESCAPE-ARTIST
— Mister Miracle #6 Page 4, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #6 Page 1, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS IT - - THAT SPAWNS GODS OF EVIL AND LESSER BEINGS WITH HORRIBLE HANG-UPS!!!?? YOU’VE SEEN SOME OF ITS NASTY PRODUCTS!! NOW COME ALONG WITH SCOTT FREE AND BIG BARDA!! - - AND TAKE A FEARFUL GLIMPSE OF THE APOKOLIPS TRAP!!
— Mister Miracle #6 Page 24, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #6 Page 22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
WOULD SCOTT FREE BE SO FOOLHARDY AS TO RETURN TO THE NIGHTMARE WORLD FROM WHICH HE ESCAPED?? YES, GOOD FRIENDS! IT STILL HAS ROOTS THAT MUST BE CUT! ROOTS THAT COULD REACH TO EARTH AND DESTROY ALL THAT SCOTT AS LEARNED TO LOVE - - HIS FRIENDS! - - HIS CRAFT! - - HIS NEW LIFE!! - - - AND BESIDES THAT-DEATH HAS THE SAME FACE - - - WHEREVER HE STRIKES AT MISTER MIRACLE!!
— Mister Miracle #7 Page 6, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #7 Page 1, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
THINK OF THE MOST FEROCIOUS, MIND-SHATTERING FIGHT THAT HAS EVER TAKEN PLACE!!! - - - - - - AND IT WILL FALL PITIFULLY SHORT OF WHAT AWAITS OUR MISTER MIRACLE!!! ONLY THE ARENA OF THE GODS WOULD PRODUCE THIS COMBAT!!! ONLY VILE GRANNY GOODNESS WOULD FIND AN ADVERSARY LIKE THE LUMP!!! ONLY SCOTT FREE HAS A GHOST OF A CHANCE TO SURVIVE THE BATTLE OF THE ID!!
— Mister Miracle #7 Page 22, Jack Kirby | Mister Miracle #7 Page 22, Tom King & Mitch Gerads
Jim Starlin at Awesome Con 2018

Jim Starlin at Awesome Con 2018

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