The Mul­tiver­sity

Al­ter­nate ac­tion from metafic­tional Mor­ri­son

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Pub­lisher: DC Comics Writer: Grant Mor­ri­son Artists: Var­i­ous

There’s strange

– 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.

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