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Bar­ton Fink in outer space

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Pub­lisher: Leg­endary Comics Writer: Grant Mor­ri­son Artist: Frazer Irv­ing

If The

Mul­tiver­sity is Grant Mor­ri­son’s fond farewell to the DC Uni­verse, then this cre­ator- owned mini- se­ries shows that DC’s loss is indie comics’ gain.

Named af­ter real- life black hole the Great An­ni­hi­la­tor, on the sur­face it’s the story of strug­gling screen­writer Ray Spass’s en­coun­ters with Max No­max, the sup­pos­edly fic­tional pro­tag­o­nist of his lat­est block­buster script. But dig deeper and familiar themes emerge.

Con­tin­u­ing Mor­ri­son’s fas­ci­na­tion with not so much break­ing down but com­pletely shat­ter­ing the fourth wall, the con­stant shifts be­tween Max’s in­ter­stel­lar mi­lieu and Ray’s in­creas­ingly sur­real re­al­ity evoke Den­nis Pot­ter’s The Singing De­tec­tive. And while is­sue three’s sur­prise rev­e­la­tion con­jures up the play­ful spirit of The Mul­tiver­sity: The Just’s haunted comic, the wry asides about Hol­ly­wood’s renowned shal­low­ness chan­nel Mor­ri­son’s own re­cent ex­pe­ri­ences as a scribe- for- hire in Tinseltown.

He also has some fun with his long- stand­ing ri­valry with Alan Moore, as is­sue one’s early segue be­tween the sin­gu­lar­ity’s vast depths and a seem­ingly bot­tom­less sink­hole at Ray’s LA house pays a neat trib­ute to Watch­men’s iconic open­ing scene. But while Dave Gib­bons was con­fined to a rigid grid struc­ture, here Frazer Irv­ing adopts a more or­ganic style of lay­out, and his fluid linework and muted colours bring Mor­ri­son’s bril­liant metafic­tion to stunning life. Stephen Jewell

He had high ex­pec­ta­tions of those can­dles.

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