|Marshall Rogers did stick around for the cover to Gerber & Golden's first issue.|
After last issue, Mister Miracle was hurled into the abyss of outer space by Darkseid. (We didn't see that in the book itself, but it's covered in explanatory text on page one.) He thinks he might be on his way to his own death, reminiscing of Oberon and Big Barda. Instead he lands on a strange human-size chessboard floating in the depths of space. A red-cloaked figure welcomes him to this world or as he says, "to an oasis in the vast wasteland between worlds! Welcome to the domain of Ethos!"
He quickly realizes the strange figure's voice resembles that of Mother Box, but as he's coiled around by two snakes that turn to chains to bind him, the figure identifies himself as Ethos. Ethos is an androgynous being that serves neither Apokolips nor New Genesis. He states a simple purpose for Scott's arrival on this plain, "to break the constraints of your own preconceptions!"
Gerber continues with another page of metaphysical mumbo jumbo that can basically be distilled into "you can't be the messiah you wish to be unless you know yourself." He ascends stairs off of the great chessboard, his chains fall away, and...
He comes to next to Oberon flying in a speeder car. He barely recovers in time to dodge around several other vehicles in an insane death race. But this death race is being ran by the gods of New Genesis and Apokolips alike. He quickly ends up in a dead heat with Darkseid himself, driving a forties era car. Darkseid throws a dagger and strikes Oberon, but Oberon insists Scott finish the race.
Mister Miracle refuses to continue the race though and shoots his speeder up into the sky instead. The speeder explodes and sends Oberon and Mister Miracle falling as the crowds cheer for him. If this all seems a bit existential, well...
It turns out Scott is still with Ethos and its all been a vision. Ethos questions Mister Miracle's sense of purpose before sending him on another quest. He quickly arrives on a jungle world, where Orion attacks him! He's beat up by Orion, even as he realizes that tiny humans are scurrying around their feet. Big Barda attacks him as well, but Mister Miracle refuses to raise his hand against her again.
He touches Mother Box in this plane and shrinks to insect size. But Darkseid arrives to squash him like a bug. But he grows suddenly in side and knocks the off-model Darkseid for a loop. (Golden apparently thought that was a cloak around his head.)
|A major artist and editor blunder with the design of Darkseid's head.|
Let's chalk it up to this being just a figment of the dark god.
He returns to Ethos as he laments the lives lost. Here Ethos reveals why his plan for saviordom didn't work, for as a product of Apokolips and New Genesis, he's not truly comfortable in either. His comfort with humans comes for a simple reason: he is not a god of New Genesis, but a human.
His chains vanish as his admittance to his true nature has broken the chains his supposed godhood brought to him. He walks away, disappearing from Ethos as the next issue promises "Messiah, Save Thyself!"
This issue seems designed to call to a halt a lot of Englehart's ideas for this run of Mister Miracle. I'm a big fan of Gerber on Howard the Duck and Man-Thing, where he's known to get weird and out there. But the existential nonsense of this book often feels glued together after one too many recreation substance. Nor does it really progress the plot at all. Instead it seeks to change the focus for Scott himself, but whether that will stick as the next issues come about remains to be seen.
Whew! That was a wild one. Be ready next time as we fly back towards the only ongoing narrative we have left in the late seventies era.