I think it's safe to say we're officially entering the home stretch of MISTER MIRACLE as we round out issue #8. There are four more issues left, and…well, now that we're over the halfway point, things are looking both more and less bleak than usual.
But what did you really expect? There is officially a baby in the mix now, and that means the stakes have seriously skyrocketed now that an infant's well-being is on the line. So, it's a good thing Funky Flashman is on the—
Okay, yeah. That's a whole thing too, isn't it? The last time we saw Funky, he was on the receiving end of what looked like a killing blow care of Barda's mega rod. If you're anything like me, you probably TOTALLY missed the fact that he wasn't one of the unlucky folks to be crammed into the incinerator after the fact—he's actually shown behind both Scott and Barda in the beginning of issue #6 in some sort of life support machine, something I didn't pick up at all until I went back and reread that issue today. So Funky isn't dead after all, and he doesn't seem to be all that bothered by his attempted murder. In fact, he's back on his feet and working as Scott and Barda's nanny.
I'll be completely honest. I had myself almost entirely convinced that Funky was actually a figment of Scott's imagination the same way Oberon was—or maybe even Metron was—back in those early issues. It took Barda talking to him over the Mother Box for me to completely buy that Scott hadn't just totally lost it (bleak as that sounds).
But as it seems right now, Funky is in one piece and happily serving the new Highfather without a care in the world—which is, despite being occasionally sort of unsettling, sort of poetic in a way. It's not hard to tell, especially in this issue, that Funky Flashman was a character that, if not inspired by, was at least influenced by Stan Lee. (I mean, the "Excelsior!" is kind of a dead giveaway.) So, in a totally weird and somewhat circular way, there's really no one better to play caretaker to a newly invented Kirby-inspired character...especially given how that newly invented Kirby-inspired character just so happens to be named Jacob, or as Funky keeps calling him, Jack.
Wheels within wheels, right? Jack Kirby's legacy is not at all in danger of fading out of memory any time soon, but it's nice, appropriate even, to see things come full circle like this, with Jack's own creations giving life to something new that takes his name.
But then again, things might not be all that sweet or touching in the long run, considering how dubious little baby Jacob's nature really is. I don't claim to be an expert on babies by any means, but I'm worried that whatever is going on with Scott might have been passed down to his kid. After all, it's not very common for New Gods to have children and Scott and Barda's circumstances aren't exactly typical or currently all that great.
Even more pressing is the fact that, over the last few issues, time seems to actually be speeding up in a way. I've written about the way time unfolds and can be manipulated across nine panel grids before, but suddenly, with the addition of Jacob, we're actually given a barometer for the passage of time in a much more zoomed out sense. Back in issue #7, we saw him as a newborn, but here, across a single issue, we see him progress to walking in the space of a few pages. There's a very real clock in place now, and as much as it's literally counting up as Jacob grows, I can't shake the feeling that it's also counting down to something too.
Scott's falling apart—which we've known for a while now—but now we can see just how long he's had to keep shouldering the weight that's been hoisted on him. He's like coal that is either about to solidify into a diamond, or to just completely disintegrate into ash. And as much as I'm obviously rooting for him, I'm genuinely not sure how much longer he can keep this up.