Alright guys, I'm just going to cut right to the chase on this one. With only two issues left in the series, we really need to buckle down and start trying to figure out exactly when, where and if anything that we've read in the last ten issues is happening.
Don't pretend like you haven't been thinking about it. Between the war and the deaths and the reveals for Apokolips and New Genesis, it seems like something has to be going on, right? There has got to be more to the story than Scott and Barda just merrily progressing through their days with their new son while the rest of the DC Universe clips along seemingly totally unaware.
Though, I'll be the first to admit, that's kind of what I've been thinking this whole time. I've been reading comics for a very long time and the idea that a cosmic war could be going down in one book while no one seems to know in the next book doesn't even ping me as strange anymore. It's just part of the shared universe experience as far as I'm concerned.
But that being said, I've started to change my tune recently, especially after this week. It's not just that Scott's planning on trying to straight up kill Darkseid (though that's part of it, obviously). It's actually something much less dramatic. MISTER MIRACLE #10 struck me as odd because of the cameos. In this month's issue, we see Scott hanging out with his old Justice League International teammates, Booster Gold and Ted Kord. This in and of itself isn't weird at all—like I said, they're old teammates and they're certainly friends, close enough to be drinking buddies. It's weird because this issue is actually the very first time Booster and Ted have properly shared a page since 2015's CONVERGENCE event.
Now, listen, I know what you're thinking. "Meg, who cares? It just means they're hanging out, why does that matter?" But look, Booster and Ted have a pretty strange and tumultuous history (go read some of the lead-up to INFINITE CRISIS and then the follow up event, 52, for more on that), so the two of them getting to hang out is a pretty big deal, all things considered. There's a lot of baggage there to be dealt with.
Baggage that suspiciously doesn't seem to exist in the Mister Miracle universe. Or...maybe it does? This is where things get fuzzy. Obviously, the Justice League International stuff from the ’80s happened here, otherwise Scott, Ted and Booster wouldn't be friends. But that doesn't necessarily mean any part of this story is happening in real time—or in the present. Mister Miracle could be set in the not-too-distant past or the future, any spot in the timeline where JLI happened, but isn't currently happening.
Of course, perhaps the simpler explanation is that the events of the book are a dream (or, well, maybe "nightmare" is more accurate here) of some kind, and Scott saw Ted and Booster at the bar because that's what his subconscious produced for him. That would explain how major players like Highfather, Orion and Granny Goodness have all died without much fanfare from the Justice League. It would also explain how Jacob Free can exist at all without causing an international/intergalactic public relations debacle. Maybe Scott is trapped (fitting, right?) in some sort of Matrix-like simulation or magically induced coma that is making him live out entire swaths of his life—his idealized, but still flawed life—while his body is actually elsewhere.
Regardless of what happens in the end, there's a pretty big chance there's going to be some sort of twist or reveal, even if it's just the ultimate confirmation that yes, all of this has been happening and yes, it's all been happening in real time. Maybe that would be more the more tragic explanation in the long run. After all, if it's all a dream or an illusion or artificially constructed trap, at least it means that the decisions Scott's making here can be undone.
If this is all real? Well, that's a much different story…and one that probably doesn't have a very happy ending.