WARNING: This article following contains spoilers for Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 by James Tynion IV, Howard Porter, HI-FI and Tom Napolitano.
Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 showcased the entire DC Universe responding to the supernatural and corrupting flood washing over the planet. As one would expect, the Justice League attempted to save the planet, with heroes around the world uniting to help, as seen in a multi-page sequence showcasing Flash sprinting around the world to help heroes like Kenan Kong (aka China's Super-Man), and the Teen Titans.
One of the spots he swings by to help is Mister Miracle and Barda in Los Angeles. And in doing so, Drowned Earth may have inadvertently spoiled the climax of Tom King and Mitch Gerads Eisner-winning Mister Miracle series.
During the course of Mister Miracle, Scott Free has been trapped in a strange, contradictory and apocalyptic take on the New Gods. It’s a version of reality he and Barda don't completely recognize, without any superheroes to help them. It was here that Orion assumed command of New Genesis after the death of Highfather and entered all-out war with the forces of Darkseid.
All of this is juxtaposed against Scott and Barda getting a chance to start a family of their own with their newborn son, Jacob. By the end of issue #11, almost every New God, including Darkseid himself, have fallen in battle. While Mister Miracle and Barda try to catch their breaths, the man they assumed was Desaad was revealed instead to be Metron. The celestial puppet-master and knowledge seeker revealed to Mister Miracle that he and Barda shouldn’t be in this reality, belonging instead in the proper DC Universe.
It was a huge bomb dropped right at the climax of the series, prompting readers to wonder just what was happening. Is Metron still just messing with them? Or worse, is he telling the truth? Because if Mister Miracle and Barda don’t belong here, then what about their son?
The birth and young life of Jacob Free have been the focus of the second half of the series. Mister Miracle and Barda actually killing Darkseid was done in the name of protecting their child in the first place. Scott doesn’t want to abandon his son the same way his own father left him.
Even if he knew it was all a lie, even if it meant coming back to the DC Universe, could Scott really give up Jacob?
The Other Shoe Drops
And yep, it looks like he can. While the pair of heroes appeared in Earth-2 and Darkseid War, Mister Miracle and Barda haven’t been featured in the mainline DC Universe since the prelude to Dark Nights: Metal. Being trapped in a fake world conceived by Metron would explain where they’ve been, and their presence in Drowned Earth suggests that they return to the DC Universe by the end of Mister Miracle #12.
There could still be a curve ball in the upcoming finale to Mister Miracle, like Jacob getting to exist in some form, or Metron escaping with him. But it’s also likely (as earlier clues in Mister Miracle have suggested) that Jacob is just a Lump, a being which can trap others in false realities.
By breaking free of the Lump, Scott and Barda will lose Jacob even as they rejoin the DC Universe. It was hard and heartbreaking set-up, unceremoniously answered. The impact of Mister Miracle won’t be lost, and their appearance in Drowned Earth (though brief) is exciting just to see the two most important New Gods back among the Justice League.
But it still kind of stinks that the ending to Mister Miracle may have just been spoiled by an unrelated crossover event, you know?
Drowned Earth #1, by James T. Tynion IV and Howard Porter, is currently available digitally and in comic stores. Mister Miracle #12, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, is scheduled to be released digitally and in comic stores Nov. 14.