So, this is it. We've officially hit the MISTER MIRACLE halfway point and, in the process, we've come up on a major turning point for the story in more ways than one. But we'll talk about consequences in a second. First, we need to talk about rules and warnings.
In a book like Mister Miracle, it's a little easy to start conflating the forest with the trees. There are a lot of details on the page and a lot of them tend to overlap with one another in ways that can be...well, a bit intimidating if you're looking too closely. For all that the dialogue was deceptively normal in this issue, it was also hinting at some pretty major things with regard to just how Scott is seeing the world around him.
After finishing up a fight, Scott says, "Stuff that happens to you when you're a kid, all that bad stuff. It's a warning. Rejecting it or not wanting it or whatever—that's not the same as being captured by it."
The thing is, it's not actually all that clear as to whether or not Scott really believes what he's saying here. Last month, I talked a lot about the different ways to escape situations—and specifically about how Barda has become a sort of skeleton key. But in that way, the opposite is also true. There are so many different ways to be captured by things. The question is, where do we start to draw the line? Or, more specifically, is the past actually a warning, and by heeding its warning, are we actually just succumbing to its trap? Or are warnings just rules for how to move forward unimpeded?
It's...a complicated question, to put it lightly, and one the overwhelming normalcy of this issue does a great job of hiding. As they breach the defenses of New Genesis, Scott and Barda are confronted by literal warnings and literal traps, but neither seem to take much notice. In fact, they pay so little attention to the fact that they're fighting for their lives, it's easy to forget that there's anything at risk here at all. Giant sea serpents, trash compactor rooms, deadly laser beams, acid smoke… It all just seems easy, trivial even, like getting through to the throne room of a literal god is on par with the difficulty of going and buying groceries.
Or, maybe more appropriately, on par with deciding how to remodel a condo. Neither Scott nor Barda have any trouble at all when dealing with real-deal traps, or real-deal warnings, but when they start trying to apply those rules to other things, they start to lose focus. The irony is, of course, that Scott literally doesn't have to pause to think at all when it comes to figuring his way out of a room that is seconds away from turning him and his wife into a pancake, but when it comes to putting his own history to rest—getting rid of Oberon's cigar boxes, trying to deal with giving up some of his space, moving stuff around—that's when he starts to choke. That's when he starts "heeding the warning."
So, what's the truth? Where are the lines? When do warnings become traps or traps become warnings and just who is making the rules to all of this, anyway? I don't think there is a good answer, but I do think that Scott's about to have to do some thinking on just where he fits into this equation and soon. And I don't mean because he apparently has a child on the way, but because for all the hypothetical loopholes and logic puzzles Mister Miracle is constantly made to duck and dodge around, there is one constant in his life and it's as unavoidable as it is absolute.
And that's not a warning, a rule or a trap. It's just the truth, and it's not something Scott can hide from for much longer.