Gaiman brings his short-story anthology to a close in this issue, as all the characters that we've previously seen in this "book" arrive in London for the Carnival that concludes five days of mourning from the victims of the Battle of London. Meanwhile, at some similar point, Dicky Dauntless is resurrected. Young Miracleman lives!
I recognized some of the anthology characters immediately, like the mother of Mist or the guy that climbed Olympus to get his daughter healed. I'm pretty sure that the guy selling t-shirts was the one who lost his virginity last issue, but it took Gaiman's note at the end of the issue to remind about the existence of windmill guy. At any rate, we watch them on their individual journeys through Carnival, and Gaiman reminds us that some diversity exists in the opinions of the people of this new world. (It's not all a "Brave New World" Utopia.) Mist's mother spends five days in the Killing Fields, and she refuses to put aside her grief, as you're supposed to do for Carnival. Conversely, the father that climbed Olympus finds relief, realizing that his grief has turned into regret that his daughter isn't there to share in the moment. Others, like the teen selling t-shirts, show little emotion of any sort: he's just there to capitalize (literally) on the moment. (I have to say, I loved the random Captain Britain cameo: I totally gasped.) If I had to try to identify a thread that runs through these stories, I'd say that Gaiman is showing us that, nine years after Johnny Bates destroyed London, people have come to grips with the fact that the world that they knew is gone.
It's the ending of the "Retrieval" back-up story that sets the stage for where we're going. If you've spent the last few issues wondering, "Hey, if Miracleman can do all this amazing stuff, why can't he resurrect Young Miracleman?", you get your answer here. The problem is that this story only make sense if you read Gaiman's script at the end of this issue. Initially, I thought that the deformed corpse and the other guy in a similar uniform were random bus drivers. I couldn't for the life of me figure out their connection to Dicky Dauntless. It's only in reading the script that we learn that the deformed corpse was Dicky Dauntless. (I don't get why he's deformed in his delivery-boy uniform. Wouldn't the atomic explosion have destroyed his Miracleman body, not his "normal" body?) Miracleman has instructed the aliens to clone Dicky from his corpse. For reasons that I still don't understand, they're able to create both a normal body -- the other "bus driver" -- and a Miracleman body for him. In the end, it's not essential that you follow all the gory details since you can't miss the end result: Young Miracleman is resurrected. But, given how easy it was to miss those details, I have to wonder what else I'm missing.
At this stage, I think the most burning question is why Miracleman resurrects Dicky now, nine years after the events in London. Have they been working on it the whole time? If not, is there a reason that he waited? I'm intrigued to see how Dicky handles his return to the present, particularly since he's getting the full Captain America experience here.
** (two of five stars)