Alternate action from metafictional Morrison
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Publisher: DC Comics Writer: Grant Morrison Artists: Various
– and then there’s strange according to Grant Morrison. One of the biggest name in comics, Morrison has been redefining the limits of weird since the late ’ 80s with tales like The Invisibles, Zenith and his legendary runs on Doom Patrol and Animal Man. Now, having concluded his epic Batman saga, he’s doing one more DC Universe tale before departing from superhero comics, and it’s as massively ambitious as you’d expect.
First teased back in 2006, The Multiversity takes us head- on into the DC Multiverse, exploring the variety of the DCU’s 52 alternate Earths. The overarching story follows on from Morrison’s 2009 event comic Final Crisis, as the last remaining Monitor, named Nix Uotan, discovers that reality itself is threatened by god- like entities known as the Gentry. As a call for help goes out, heroes from across the Multiverse assemble to fight – but thanks to a haunted comic book known as Ultra Comics, the battle may already have been lost…
The Multiversity will last for eight 40- page issues, and is structured in a similar manner to Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory, with a two- part framing story that begins and ends a run of six interlinked specials. Each special focuses on a different set of characters on a different alternate Earth ( and also features a new artistic collaborator), as the after- effects of Nix Uotan’s fight against the Gentry echo across the Multiverse in different ways.
This gives Morrison the chance to portray the wilder edges of the 52 Earths, from the pulp 1930s splendour of Earth- 20, where Dr Fate battles the psychotic plans of Vandal Savage, to the glossy crime- free utopia of Earth- 16, and its self- obsessed, narcissistic superheroes. Three issues in, and The Multiversity is already a highly entertaining read, mixing slick action, stunning visuals and witty in- jokes with Morrison’s trademark self- aware strangeness as the barriers between the reader and the comic break down.
Unpredictability is part of the mix, and while the loose anthology structure means some Multiversity episodes will hit stronger than others, each bumper- sized issue packs in a ferocious level of invention and style. Artists like Ivan Reis, Chris Sprouse and Ben Oliver have already turned in kinetic visuals that give each chapter a memorable identity, and there are still plenty of highlights to come, including the
Three issues in and it’s already a highly entertaining read
Captain Marvel/ Shazam- starring Thunderworld, illustrated by Cameron Stewart, and a Watchmen-influenced alternate Earth that will reunite Morrison with All- Star Superman artist Frank Quitely.
It’s true that sometimes The Multiversity feels more like an enthusiastic farewell tour, with Morrison echoing and referencing previous works rather than breaking new ground, but this love- letter to the DC Multiverse is crafted with such energy that it’s hard not to get swept along. Saxon Bullock Alongside the main series, Morrison has written an 80- page Multiversity Guidebook, which will be released in January.