Depression, Isolation, Loneliness and Digimon

At it’s core, the children’s anime Digimon Tamers is primarily about isolation, loneliness, abuse, escapism and depression.

That probably sounds a little heavy for a show that most would just claim as a Pokémon rip off.

Digimon Tamers (2001 – 2002) was the third entry in the Digimon franchise, following on from Digimon Adventure (1999 – 2000) and its sequel season, Digimon Adventure 02 (2000 – 2001). Season one of Digimon followed a group of 7 kids as they are trapped in the digital world. Later adding an 8th. Being told they are the destined ones to save both this world and ours and learning to grow along the way. Season two is set 2 to 4 years later, depending on which language version you’re watching. Following two of the 8 children as they meet 3 new, then a 4th, digidestined while the older kids struggle with the fact that they now have real world responsibilities, and that they can’t keep being kids the rest of their lives.

Season three was set in our world. Not the real world of the first two seasons. Our world where Digimon is a tv show, and the events of the first two seasons are just that. Two seasons of a tv show. In this season, the digital world and Digimon were created by a group of hackers who in the 80s wanted to know more about artificial intelligence and digital life. The digital world is created through an evolution on this new plain. This becomes the inspiration for the TV series and card game that sweeps across the world. However, the barrier between these worlds are slowly decaying. Glitches and creatures from the digital world are trying to cross into our world. Of course, there is a shadowy organisation that goes about making sure these incursions are never known to the public, but it’s when the kids Takato, Henry and Rika learn the truth, all separately of course. They learn that the franchise they love is in fact real, and they become partners to their own Digimon. They find themselves battling to save the people they care about from invading monsters while going about their daily lives. For the most part the first half of the season is fairly light. Your standard kids fair. But it’s what it leads into and what it builds up to that make the show so important.

Strangely, Digimon Tamers was written by Chiaki J. Konaka, the writer of Serial Experiments Lain. And was heavily inspired by the show Neon Genesis Evangelion. Truth be told, Konaka did write an episode in the second season. He tried to incorporate the Cthulhu mythology of H.P. Lovecraft into the show by creating a dark void dimension, ruled by a monstrous aquatic creature, that could only be reached by those who knew the meaning of darkness, isolation and loneliness. The things the episode introduced were largely swept under the rug after, kids show of course. But canonically the two characters in the show that have the biggest connection to the void are Ken and Kari. Ken previously being the shows villain until he was snapped out of it and made to face the truth of his brother’s death. And Kari who had been showing signs of being a little out of it ever since her introduction in season one, as well as the loses she had faced at a young age. Including the traumatic death of Wizardmon as he tries to save her life during the first season. This traumatic moment in her life is even a point brought up in a later episode as a major plot element.

It’s a little strange that Konaka would only be brought on for one episode in season two, only to become show runner for Season three. Especially given the shows aim towards children and his more adult themes. But this means that season three heavily dives into his own interests. While all the main cast members have their own problems and burdens to bare, it’s the character of Jeri that suffers the most throughout.

While at first Jeri comes off as a goofy side character that has a bit of a crush on Takato. Very energetic, overly happy at times, and always carrying around a puppet. Slowly through the season, you learn that she is deeply lonely, constantly feeling left out, and when she learns that Digimon are in fact real, she wants one for her own. Not in a malicious or spoiled manner. She sees how much fun Takato and Henry have with their partners, how important they both are and the fact that they have a purpose and wants to be like them. To feel that she is good for something. That she has meaning. During an incursion, a Leomon appears in the park before Jeri, and she is convinced that he is there for her. He’s not, in fact he doesn’t know why he’s there, but she keeps childishly chasing him, until they both find themselves in a situation out of there control. Through a series of events, Jeri is granted a digivice. The device that all chosen ones receive, and the pair are now partners. It’s a sweet moment, as Jeri is given some hope that her life will get better, that she does have a purpose. Now, while watching the show and getting to that point, it may not seem like it’s that big of a deal, it’s in retrospect that you come to understand why she is the way she is. It’s heavily hinted through the middle to end of the show that Jeri comes from an abusive household. That her parents make a very unorthodox living, though the English dub changes a fair amount of this.

Later in the show, our cast of characters journey into the digital world in order to rescue a friend that has been kidnapped and held hostage. They travel, are separated, go on crazy adventures, etc. Even come across another digidestined, one that ties it back to the first two seasons in a way, Ryo. But as they go through their journey, another character is having his own adventure. Since the start of the show, a weird creature known as Impmon has been popping in and out of the story and constantly proclaiming to be the real villain. Problem is that he’s small and is more of a nuisance that anything. He often proclaims that for a Digimon to partner with a human, it shows how weak they are. That it’s an abomination. At one point he’s even called out on this, asking why he cares so damn much. At the point of the main characters travelling into the digital world, Impmon makes his own journey. Making a deal with the villains to grant him the power he so desperately wants. Impmon becomes Beelzemon. A gun welding psychopath that now finally has the power he craved.

When the two stories converge, the team argue with Beelzemon about the nature of power and what he’s done to himself. Leomon stands to try and defend the team, only to be brutally murdered in front of their eyes. Jeri is heartbroken. Her mind slowly begins to unravel from this point onwards. In a fit of rage, Takato even begins to abuse his connection with his partner Guilmon, ordering him to transform to his mega form, and kill Beelzemon. Guilmon begins to transform but is corrupted as Takato’s digivice disintegrates. The entire moment is fuelled by rage, sorrow, and corruption. The effect it has on Jeri is devastating. She begins to withdraw herself from everyone, barely speaking until their journey through the digital world is at an end. During their time in the digital world, they learn of the entity known as the D-Reaper. At its simplest, a being of pure destruction. As the group travels back to the real world, the D-Reaper begins to follow them, even taking Jeri and replacing her without the others noticing. She has become so withdrawn within herself that a puppet can easily pass for her in the eyes of her friends.

By the series finale, the D-Reaper begins to take over the real world, the hackers who created the digital world are revealed. One of which they had already met in the digital world, while another is revealed to be Henry’s father. And the plan is enacted to save the real world. However, at the core of the ever-growing D-Reaper, in a small sphere is Jeri. The D-Reaper is feeding on her sorrow. Letting her feel as useless and empty as she always feared. Even when the heroes manage to break through and almost reach her, she tells them their better off without her and pushes them away. Jeri is severely depressed. Everything in the show has lead up to this. All 51 episodes. She is at her lowest point and is giving up on life and a future. In doing so, she is allowing the world to be swallowed whole and devoured.

Of course, given that this is a kids show, she is rescued and the world is saved. But her depression is not ignored. It’s acknowledged though never directly named. The show takes a stand and acknowledges the weight that lose, abuse, emotional pain and physical trauma can have on a person as well as how it affects those around you. The show physically manifests her pain in the form of a destructive being that knows no boundaries. This is something Digimon Tamers managed to accomplish better than many adult or teen driven shows managed at the time.

When a lot of kid’s television focuses heavily on obvious morals such as ‘don’t steal’ or ‘play nice with others’. Having media that does tackle such heavy material but breaks it down to a level that a child can understand, maybe one of the best ways to aid in emotional growth and understanding of such a heavy subject.

The uncomfortable subjects that can destroy a person’s life are the ones we should feel the most comfortable discussing. Ignorance and an inability to understand a subject such as depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses, only make it harder for those affected to open up. While not all children’s media should include such heavy subjects, we should have the ability to talk and to educate. While the major themes of loss, abuse, depression and loneliness are not the first thing that might pop into a child’s mind when watching the show. It can provide them with a frame of reference. Educating without them knowing.



Time and Deconstruction

Deconstruction in media is something I find intensely fascinating. And while this video by Under the Scope is a great exploration of deconstruction in anime, particularly in the ‘magical girl’ (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) and ‘giant mech’ (Neon Genesis Evangelion) genres (though it was strange to hear someone refer to the show School Days as a deconstruction of the ‘harem’ genre). What I find puzzling about the evidence he uses, is possibly my own experience with discussing deconstruction. Particularly, calling Neon Genesis Evangelion a deconstruction of the ‘mech’ genre.

A few months ago, I wrote an article discussing how the deconstruction aspect of a piece of work is waisted, when that piece of work is recommended or introduced above and before the thing being deconstructed. A deconstruction without reference. The two examples I used were Watchmen, which is often praised as one of the greatest comics ever written (personally, I think it’s just ok, but I didn’t read it at the time of creation), and often on the top of ‘comic you should read for beginners list. And I paired that with Neon Genesis Evangelion for an example in another medium that is also highly praised, and first to be recommended to newbies.

The two most common responses I got to the piece had nothing to do with the content, but argued that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn’t a deconstruction, and no one reads Watchmen first. And that I’m an idiot for thinking so. I did a little research into the profiles of the people who commented, and concluded that a lot of them were either relatively new to anime, had read Watchmen recently, or were jumping on the band wagon of the first few commentator’s due to other posts they had made being contradictory to what they had later said.

This makes me wonder something else about the nature of deconstruction. With both works being creations of (arguably) a different generation. The mid 80s for Watchmen, and mid 90s for Evangelion. Has the passage of time, and the effect these works had, changed how we view the media enough for them to no longer be considered deconstructions?

In the case of anime, Evangelion’s release spear headed a dramatic shift in the medium. Particularly in the production of original television properties. This change also allowed writers such as Chiaki J. Konaka to bring works such as Serial Experiments Lain to the screen. The Youtuber Digibro describes this shift well in his video How Evangelion Altered Anime Eternally. Concluding Evangelion’s full effect kicking in, with the series Now and Then, Here and There. Taking on the familiar trope of a young boy being transported to a magical new world. Something usually seen in a show aimed at young children. Only to be met with a dark dystopia, full of twisted characters, and plot devices including murder and rape.

In the realm of comics, Watchmen was part of a one-two punch, along with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Eventually culminating in advertisements for comics presenting them as “Grime, Gritty, Grown up”. These kinds of stories lead to darker storytelling, particularly in the worlds of superhero comics. A genre created for a primary audience of children, and grew in the wake of the second world war, as a means of hopeful escapism. This darker tone has continued to reverberate through modern comics, particularly in DC. With the ‘Rebirth’ relaunch acting as a course correction, and the storyline ‘The Button’, and the current ‘Doomsday Clock’ actively blaming the darker tone on the Watchmen characters. Particularly Dr Manhattan.


But this all leads back to my initial question. Is something still a deconstruction, if the deconstruction has become part of the norm?

  • Digibro (2017) How Evangelion Altered Anime Eternally. [Online] YouTube. August 3rd. Available from: [Last Accessed: 01.01.2018]
  • Johns, G. & Frank, G. (2017 – 2018) Doomsday Clock. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Miller, F. (1986) The Dark Knight Returns. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Moore, A. & Gibbons, D. (1986 – 1987) DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 – 1996) TV. Directed by Hideaki Anno. [DVD] Studio Gainax: Japan.
  • Now and Then, Here and There. (1999 – 2000) TV. Directed by Akitaro Daichi. Studio AIC: Japan.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) TV. Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo. [DVD] Studio Shaft: Japan.
  • School Days (2007) TV. Directed by Keitaro Motonaga. [DVD] Studio TNK: Japan.
  • Serial Experiments Lain (1998) TV. Directed by Ryutaro Nakamura. Studio Triangle Staff & Studio Pioneer LDC: Japan.
  • Under The Scope (2016) What Actually is A Deconstruction? [Online] YouTube. July 5th. Available from: [Last Accessed: 01.01.2018]
  • Williamson, J., King, T., Fabok, J. & Porter, H. (2017) The Button. DC Comics: Burbank.




Even More HTML!

I know it’s  been several years since the first time I used it, but it feels like the corse the site provides is severely deminished. The site now includes ‘pro’ sections to each course, implying that they now keep their exercises and slightly more advanced methods on a paid route. The site is now harder to navigate to new exercises. While the site is more aestheticly pleasing, it seems to have exchanged this for accessability.

As the chapter on COMMON ELEMENTS begins, we are reminded that all content for the site being made must be placed within the opening and ending tags of the <body>.

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There are 6 different heading tags that can be used, with 1 being the biggest and 6 being the smallest. All are still bigger than the stand font size. Obviously, these are tagged with <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6>.

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Next up, Paragraphs, Divs and Spans. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t come across Spans, or at least it’s been a long time since I’ve needed them.

Paragraphs are just that. Paragraphs. The tag is simple and easy to remember, simply a <p>. These contain simple blocks of text. Divs are boxes that can be used to divide pieces of code within the body. Anything contained in <div> in held in it’s own box. This can be very handy for laying out the page. According to Codecademy, Spans contain short pieces of text or other HTML. They are primarily used to wrap small pieces of content that are on the same line as other content and do not break text into different sections. They are shown as <span>.

Example of <div>, <p> and headings:

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Next up is <em> and <strong> or ’emphasised’ and ‘strong’. <em> tags will put any text inclosed with in italics, while <strong> will put them in Bold.

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Trying new Programming Software and HTML – Mad Scientist

Previously, I have been using Dreamweaver as my standard coding program. I’ve been using Dreamweaver since my first year of university but I’ve never been the biggest fan of it. So, time to try out some new programs.

When I first taught myself HTML, I used an old library book and notepad on an old Windows XP machine. While I know notepad can still be used, I want something that can still recognise Syntax’s to help out a little when I may type a word slightly wrong. A common problem of mine. And that can easily run on my computer without slowing everything else down. With Adobe products, I find they take up more power than needed.

There’s one program I have heard of before and used slightly, so I think I will give this one a try. Notepad++

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Downloaded the software, very easy to install and fast loading. Upon opening the software, I’m a little lost.

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I opened a new file and tried to type something simple in JavaScript. The website refereed to the software’s ability to recognise syntax and give suggestions, but I couldn’t see any of that. After looking around a little, I found that in the language setting up above, I can change the coding language and this activates all the little things like syntax recognition. The ‘run’ function is much simpler with plenty of options. At first glance, I think I may prefer this software to Dreamweaver, though admittedly there are things I’ve gotten far too used to. Such as a live coding view.

While I know HTML, I think it will be worth going back and relearning the software from the ground up again, as it has been a while since I’ve used it.

HTML stands for “Hyper Text Markup Language”.


<!DOCTYPE html> – Declaration at the beginning of the code to tell the computer what kind of document it is, in this case, HTML.

<html> </html> – Beginning and end of HTML code.

<h1> </h1> – Heading size 1.

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<head> </head> – Contains the metadata for a webpage. Metadata is information about the page that isn’t displayed directly on the webpage.

<title> </title> – The browser displays the title of the page because the title can be specified directly inside of the <head> element by using a <title> tag.

The title appears in the tabs at the top of your browser. Like this:

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<body> </body> – The main body of the webpage.

So, the basic layout of a webpage looks like this:

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<p> </p> – Paragraph tags.

This does all feel very repetitive, but the point is to refresh my mind…

<br /> – Line breaker. when put into a paragraph tag, it separates the text into two lines. Example: <p> Line One <br /> Line Two </p>

– Div boxes allow for code to be placed in “a box” within the body of the code.

Screenshot (166)

Commenting! The most useful tool imaginable. To comment something out, for example a paragraph. Use:

<!– <p> this is being commented out </p> –>


Superman: Speeding Bullets (1993)

Time for a trip to the Elseworld titles! A series of stories set in the DC universe but out of continuity. A chance for writers to flex their creative muscles and ask ‘what if’ questions. Superman: Speeding Bullets was released in 1993 and written by J.M. Dematteis with art by Eduardo Barreto. The ‘what if’ in this case is a little bit strange but very fascinating. What if Superman was Batman?

The cover is just fantastic. Using the iconic image of Superman flying over the city that appeared on Superman #01 in 1939. Instead of a yellow background, the cover reflects Gotham’s aesthetics with a gradient of black to grey. Superman strikes the same pose within the oval, but his costume is replaced with a modified Bat suit. Noticeable, his face is covered with a full mask, similar to that of Spider-Man, rather than a cowl. The emblem on the chest is a perfect fusion of Superman’s shield and Batman’s yellow oval design with the overall shape being that of the shield, and the bat stretching out inside. The style, particularly in the cape, feels inspired by the work of Norm Breyfogle or Todd McFarlane. For this darker take and Superman’s Alien status, the style of cape works perfectly, as it gives it the feel of having a mind of its own. Even the books title box corrupts the original image. Taking the smooth curves at the edges and giving them a jagged horn like appearance.

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Throughout the book we have narration, asking what it would be like if things turned out differently. We see a rocked escaping a planet as it explodes, a green glow all around. The rocket travels through space and crash lands just outside of Gotham City, where it is discovered by Thomas and Martha Wayne along with their butler Alfred. Inside is a young boy, Kal-El of the planet Krypton. Through pages styled to look like a photo album, we see the young boy grow as Martha and Thomas decide to adopt him, naming him Bruce Wayne. Martha dotes on the child, stating to love him as though she had given birth do him. Thomas was intrigued by the boy’s ability to quickly take to his lessons. How the boy was so agile, never a bruise or broken bone. Thomas was compassionate and kind, concerned with testing his mental and physical limits. He imparts to Bruce:

“The cowards and bullies use violence. But you – of all who live – must aspire to something better. Something higher.”

They were a family. Happy, without worry, and with a bright future ahead.

However, the point of the book is ‘What if Superman was Batman’. And one constant in the mythology of Batman is the death of the Wayne’s. Leaving the Monarch Theatre, Bruce shouts about how he want’s to be Zorro. “Defender of the weak. Righter of Wrongs”! Martha jokingly mentions that last week he wanted to be John Carter, and before that Sherlock Holmes. As they round the corner, they are confronted by a mugger demanding their money and Martha’s pearls. During the struggle, both Martha and Thomas are shot and die in front of Bruce as he cries on the floor. The mugger turns to Bruce gun pointed, and as Bruce looks up to him, full of rage, Bruce’s powers activate, and he blasts the mugger with his heat vision. The mugger runs in fear, his face burnt and Bruce struggles to control what’s happening to him.

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The mugger is revealed to have been found the next morning, his body burned almost beyond recognition. But is identified as Joe Chill. Because of course. Young Bruce is found by the police, eyes wide, covered in his parent’s blood. After the funeral, Bruce is left in the care of his butler Alfred. Over time he grows and matures, but the guilt and shame still run deep through him, always at the forefront of his mind. At the age of 21, Bruce is bitter to the world, looking through the paper he sees nothing but blood and madness. Nothing but violence and death. As he tosses the paper aside, we see an article informing us that Lex Luther is coming to Gotham City. Because so far there has been far more Batman than Superman in this Superman story, apparently. Bruce unlocks a door to reveal hundreds of newspaper clippings tacked to walls, all relating to acts of senseless murder in his city. As he looks around, he begins to enter a panic attack, thinking about his parents and wanting it all to stop. He runs through the mansion before he realises that people have broken in and holding Alfred hostage. Pointing a gun at Bruce’s face. In a fit of rage, Bruce knocks them all side, even throwing one out the window. As one fires bullets right at him, they simply bounce off. Bruce crushes the gun in the criminal’s hand as his heat vision activates, terrifying the criminal. Alfred watches on, as Bruce breaks down remembering what he did to the man who killed his parents.

In a cave beneath Wayne Manor, Alfred and Bruce look through Thomas Wayne’s journals. As Bruce looks around, testing his super vision, He asks Alfred if he can see his ‘brothers’, referring to the bats in the cave. Testing his flight, Bruce flies among them.

“There’s so much I can do… That I’ve never let myself know I can do.”

Superman - Speeding Bullets (1993)rsyhf

Cut to another location in the city, a man behind a desk telling his men just how disappointed he is in them. Based on his purple and green outfit, brief flashes and pale skin, as well as the maniacal laugh, it’s clear who he is supposed to be. Condiment King. Obviously. He’s chewing them out over their inability to break into a mansion even with the equipment they were given. One of the men starts ranting about how Wayne is crazy, that he put Charly through a window. In retaliation, they are both strangled on the spot, as the figure laughs to himself.

Two months later, the GCPD are after a man on the roof, Mick Johnson. He’s firing at them from up above when a shadowy figure descends upon him. The Batman has arrived! In a flurry of panic, Johnson fires several rounds at Batman only for them to rebound off. In a final moment of panic, Johnson throws a grenade straight at him, only for Batman to catch it and let it explode in his hands. Batman throws Johnson over the edge, letting him fall, before swooping down to grab him and throwing him into the arms of the GCPD.

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The next day, the media is having a field day over the appearance of a cloaked flying figure in the night. Luthor is looking over the paper during a meeting as he is attempting to take over Wayne Enterprises. Just as he’s about to sign the papers, Bruce walks into the meeting telling him that it’s not going to happen. Luthor doesn’t know who he is at first, meaning that Bruce is not very well known publicly, or doesn’t have much involvement with the company. Which leads me to wonder what exactly he has been doing over the years. Bruce puts an end to the deal, saying that he plans to be much more active in the company’s management and dismissing many of the people in the room. As Bruce leaves, it’s clear that Luthor is far from pleased.

Bruce stops off at the Gotham Gazette, the cities local paper and one he now owns, and meets the editor-in-chief Perry White, as well as running into the Gazette’s newest recruit, Lois Lane. Just arrived from the Daily Planet in Metropolis. Around Lois, Bruce becomes a bit a buffoon. Stumbling over his words and knocking into desks. It’s heavily reminiscent of a phrase from Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek. “If I sound smitten, don’t read too much into it – it’s because I am.”

At this point, it becomes clear that the narrator is Lois. Talking about how she expected Gotham’s famous recluse to be a lot of things, but not a shy, stuttering klutz, referring to him as charming, adorable, and disappointing all at the same time. Walking through the streets, Luthor’s car pulls up along side Lois, offering her a ride home. Lois accepts but Batman is watching from the rooftops. In the car, Lois and Luthor talk about how much things have changed, Luthor alludes to an accident that has changed him as he tries to slip his hand up Lois’s thigh. Lois slaps him across the face and is thrown out of his car. Fifty blocks from her apartment, Lois finds herself on the street with a group of men cat calling to her. They attempt to attack her just as Batman swoops in to save her. After knocking out the guys, he reaches out a hand to Lois asking if he can help. After the events of the night, Lois slaps his hand away and asks him to get away. Batman flies away just as the police arrive to help.

Back at the Gazette, late at night, Lois is typing up an article based on the man who saved her and the state of violence in the city. Bruce finds her there, and Lois instantly questions his appearance. Bruce says that he’s just getting some work done while it’s quiet and asks her what’s wrong. Lois tells him everything about her night, and describes Batman, saying that he has an “utter disregard for human life!” That he could do so much more for the world with those powers. She compares Batman to Bruce, his idealism and dedication, using his wealth to help others. The pair embrace and kiss in the middle of the office. Interestingly, this is a nice little twist on Lois preferring the meta-human to the bumbling co-worker. But even with the change of name and identity, Kal-El and Lois still feel like they are made for one another.

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A few weeks later, a man furiously enters the offices of the Gotham Gazette and demands to see Mr. Wayne. As he crashes his way through, we see his purple and green suit and as he bursts into Bruce’s office, we see that the man is Lex Luther. Removing his hat and prosthetic skin to reveal a bleached white face and thick red lipstick. A jokerised Lex Luthor! Who saw that coming… Bruce jumps up to confront him, only to be blasted back by an umbrellas gun. As Bruce falls out of the window behind him, Joker/Luthor kidnaps Lois and escapes into the night with a small flying machine strapped to his back. As they land on the top of a tall building, complete with devil horned gargoyles. Batman flies in and grabs Joker/Luthor. Flying him high into the sky as narration talks about how Luthor wants to use chaos and violence to take over the city. As Batman announces to Joker/Luthor that he sees him as an “Insufferable Maggot”, that he is going to kill him. Joker/Luthor begins to laugh telling him that he’s just as mad as he is, wouldn’t he agree. As Batman screams “YES!” he throws Luthor to the ground from high above the city, as Lois watches on with the saddest of expressions on her face. Batman looks down at Lois, seeing her face and flies back down and catches Luthor, telling him that he’s going to jail in order to save the city. Batman takes on the hordes of tanks and men working for Joker/Luthor that have been trying to tear apart the city during this whole ordeal. When he’s finished he flies back over to Lois making sure she’s ok.

Lois: “What you did tonight… it was different. Not hate… not vindictiveness… not wasting your gifts on terror and brutality. With your power – There’s so much more you can do. Instead of flexing your muscles… stooping to the level of the very people you’re trying to stop – you can rise above all that. Stand as an example. A symbol of hope.”

Lois reveals that she knows Batman is Bruce Wayne and the pair embrace once again and fly off into the night.

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As the story comes to a close, Lois continues talking about how all of this could have come out so differently. How different the man she loves could have been if he had landed somewhere else. Even making reference to Superman: Red Son as well as the main continuity. As the words play out we see a brighter figure fly over the city of Gotham, and the final page reveals a bright new costume for Bruce, and the new name of SUPERMAN!

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In the end, the story is mainly about nature verses nurture. Not just for Superman but Batman as well. Superman is often called the most human of us all, despite his alien origins. This is largely contributed to his upbringing among salt of the earth people on a farm in Kansas. Batman is often the first to bring it up and often talks about what he would do if he had that kind of power. The book works as a good character study on these ideas. While certainly not the first story to do this for either Batman or Superman (and definitely not the last). Superman: Speeding Bullets is a fine addition to the Elseworld library.

Mister Miracle by Tom King #1 – #6 (2017 – 2018) Breakdown [Part Two]

[Part One can be found here!]

Issue #4:

We return to Scott after his ordeal with Orion. Laying in bed recovering with Barda by his side. They are visited by Lightray, who informs Scott that after the events of the last issue, Scott is accused of being an agent of Darkseid and must stand trial or face execution. Furious, Barda sends Lightray way, covered in a few bruises. The pair spend their night in front of the TV, discussing the trial to come while still trying to hold on to a touch of normality.

Mister Miracle 04 (2018)

A full-page spread shows us Scott performing what could be his final show, before cutting to Scott and Barda’s apartment. I moment of fun before the trial. This brief interlude for Scott’s performance makes masterful use of the 3×3 page layout, especially in the use of space. Orion and his men arrive, and the trial begins in the comfort of the apartment’s living room.

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Orion appoints himself as Accuser, Defender and Judge as Highfather of New Genesis, announcing that Scott is on trial for Treason against Gods. On Orion’s command, Scott may only answer statements as true or false, that he must answer true to his own beliefs and not his doubts. As the questions go on, Scott struggles to clarify himself when answers are grey, punished for replying with anything other than True or False.

Orion: “You are an agent of Darkseid. True or False?”
Scott: “False.”
Orion: “Now. An agent of Darkseid would deny he was such an agent. True or False?”
Scott: “True.”
Orion: “An Agent of Darkseid would also accuse the Highfather of being an agent of Darkseid. True or False?”
Scott: “True.”
Orion: “You have made both of these statements today. True or False?”
Scott: “True”.

Orion continues to push Scott, until he finally snaps and makes Orion bleed. A god, the Highfather, bleeds. As Orion and the others leave, Barda cradles Scott in her arms.

Issue #5:

Scott and Barda, mostly in costume, are stood outside the Chinese theatre imprinting their hands in the pavement for the crowd, all the while their dialogue plays over the top. Debating what to do about Orion and how they stand by each other. They are met by Funky Flashman, an old Jack Kirby allegory for Stan Lee, who tries to spin a great angle on the events going on. Trying to turn his upcoming execution into a spectacle. Scott and Barda make it to their hotel room, a chance to finally relax and lovingly spend the night together.

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The next day, knowing what lies ahead of them, they decide to spend their day together. While stuck in traffic, Scott asks Barda if their Motherbox could play whatever song was playing when they first met, with Barda replying they met in the Pits. Scott jokingly has the box play the sound of screaming, and the two share a laugh while stuck in traffic. They have lunch, visit a fair, watch the sunset on a beach, and the night sky from the car, all the while discussing the nature of life, gods, and existence.

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Back home and in bed, Scott is awoken by Funky Flashman and the executioners from New Genesis. Flashman continues his bravado while Scott grabs his costume. Taking a breath, Scott prepares to leave, before Barda takes out the executioners and Flashman, telling Scott only one thing.


Issue #6:

Body disposal is the first call of the day, the pair watching the remains burn away in front of them. They know what they need to do, and where they need to be.

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Battling there way through New Genesis, fighting off guards, breaking down walls, and avoiding security systems abound. Barda takes this time to talk to Scott about remodelling the apartment. Talking about making the kitchen a little smaller while decapitating a guard. Arguing back and forth about how much space they really need even when danger is breathing down their neck. It’s when Barda brings up turning half of the Livingroom into a second bedroom, Scott questions why they are having this conversation.

Scott: “But… So we’re in the Living Room? Who’s in the new room?
Barda: “Next to the new Bathroom? It’ll be nice.”
Scott: “W-wait. Who’s in the… new Bedroom?”
Barda:” Scott. So. I’m Pregnant.”

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When the coast is clear, Scott embraces his wife, and for the first real time since the series started. Scott is happy.

At the gate to the Highfather’s throne, Scott discovers the body of Orion mutilated on the floor.  Darkseid waiting. Darkseid is. As Barda enters, she finds Scott shaken to his core, sat on the throne, eyes wide open.

“I saw the face of god.”


6 issues in and Tom King has crafted a masterful tale of PTSD and depression like no other. With 6 issues still to come after the break, it’s anyone’s guess what else is instore for Scott Free. Mister Miracle. Super Escape Artist.

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