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Published on May 12th, 2015 | by Brad

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A Guide to the Multiversity – Multiversity #2

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Taken about a week to settle, but we’re finally here to bring you our thoughts on the Multiversity finale, as well as the series as a whole. Obviously it’s not going to be particularly easy to summarise Grant Morrison’s nine-part thesis statement on the comic-book superhero into a single article, but we’ll do our best! I’m joined as always by my partner in crime, Mr Michael Guest, as we take you down the rabbit hole of Grant Morrison’s mind on this little head-trip together.

So I’m going to start with a quick potted history of my time as a Grant Morrison fan. Where most people probably came to Grant through his legendary Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, my first exposure to him was actually through 52. 52 is, in my opinion, the best superhero comic ever written. It follows the adventures of a selection of DC’s B and C-list heroes in 52 weekly instalments over the course of a year, during which Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all out of action. It plays out in real-time, and if you ever wanted proof positive that DC has the richest tapestry of characters out there, or an introduction to some of those characters, this is the comic for you. Grant co-wrote in tandem with Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid, and you’ll probably never see so stellar a line-up of writers on a single project again in your lifetime. From there, I was blown away by Arkham Asylum like everyone else, and since then, with a couple of exceptions I’m still working on, I’ve managed to track down and read everything he’s ever written. For my money, the man is the best writer to ever grace the comic page, and we’re all richer for his influence. My favourite is probably Seven Soldiers, an interconnected series about seven heroes who team up to save the universe without ever actually meeting each other or being aware of their part in the team-up. So when I heard that Grant was returning to that type of meta-narrative, but this time exploring the DC multiverse through a series of connected one-shots, I was sold. I’ve been waiting for Multiversity for a long time, and it’s been a delight to read.

Mike:

Anyone who has read my previous articles on NTC will know that I hold Morrison in as high a regard as Brad does. Seven Soldiers is indeed the pinnacle of his DC work so far and it is that book, along with it’s sequel Final Crisis, that planted the seeds for MultiversityMultiversity is a massive book, taking in the entire DC multiverse. The scope, range and ambition of the book cannot be overstated. It is typical of Morrison, then, that the first panel of Multiversity #1 is a close up of a louse in a woman’s hair. This sort of juxtaposition of the massive and the tiny is typical of Morrison, a theme that runs through a lot of his work, especially his unofficial trilogy of creator-owned works, Flex Mentallo,  The Invisibles and The Filth. After this unnerving introduction we are reintroduced to Nix Uotan, hero of Final Crisis, and his alter ego, Superjudge. Clues litter Uotan’s apartment, from the copy of ‘Ultra Comics’ he is reading to the Rubik’s Cube on his desk. In quick succession, we are introduced to the central theme of Multiversity, which is the metafictional relationship between the different universes and us as readers and the main villains, the horrific Gentry. The Gentry are suitably both terrifying and incomprehensible as villains, a sort of cosmic evil right out of Lovecraft, only they talk in vile text speak, which somehow makes them even worse.

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From Uotan’s travails the scene shifts to Earth-23 and Calvin Ellis, Superman and President. After an encounter with a robot not of his Earth, Ellis is soon taken to the House of Heroes, where his is met by a very friendly Captain Carrot. The House of Heroes is in Bleedspace, between worlds, and essentially acts as a meeting point for the greatest heroes of each of the universes, who have been gathered together for reasons unknown. From there, there is a lot of exposition which doesn’t really help comprehend what is going on (at least, not yet) before an excursion to Earth-8 and a meeting with a motley crew of heroes who absolutely aren’t The Avengers. A full recap and our attempt at an explanation can be found here. I found Multiversity #1 to be typically full of pace, invention and fun, albeit mixed in with a healthy dose of horror. It did a very good job of setting out the themes of the series and gave us a sense of the stakes. Brad?

Brad:

If anything comes of Multiversity in the future, please let it be a Captain Carrot spin-off! Multiversity #1 is pretty fantastic. A lot of the credit has to go to Ivan Reis, who drew both of the book-end issues, and does pretty spectacular work throughout. Given what was to come, opening with a close-up on a blood-sucking parasite was pretty apt. One thing we’ve not brought up so much but I’ve noticed a lot in this series and in DC’s other big events this year, Convergence and Justice League: Darkseid War, is the all-pervading influence of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Obviously Grant draws a lot on his own Final Crisis, and the notion of the Monitors and Nix Uotan come from CoIE, but as soon as Calvin Ellis and Rodney Rabbit walk into the House of Heroes, we are in pure Marv Wolfman and George Perez territory. And why not? This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of that seminal work, and without it we would have neither the constant threats to the multiverse which made Multiversity possible, nor such tropes as the Monitors, red skies and the importance of a Flash at the heart of each Crisis.

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Contrasting the large-scale and the small again, the universe-spanning scale of Multiversity #1 was followed up by, on the face of it, a small-scale tale of the pulp heroes of Earth-20 in Society of Super-Heroes. This one was a little outside my wheelhouse, I’m not very familiar with the early pulp heroes, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. As the first of the one-shots, it does the work of setting up a lot of the recurring themes extremely well. We see a Justice League analogue fending off a cosmic invasion, reinforcement of the importance of the Trans-Matter cubes and of Ultra Comics, and for the first time we hear the SOS called out, though we didn’t see the significance at the time. We also got a look at the duality of certain worlds across the multiverse, resolved beautifully as Doc Fate delivered a sharp kick to the nads of Felix Faust, still probably the funniest panel in the whole series. They kept making great choices on the art, and Chris Sprouse proved perfectly suited for this type of story. Multiversity would go on to hit greater heights than Society of Super-Heroes, but it was a fun way into the one-shots.

Mike:

I was a big fan of Society of Superheroes. It perhaps lacks the ambition of some of the later issues but like Thunderworld it’s an excellent homage to another, simpler sort of comic. I’m not overly familiar with the original pulp comics (though I’ve read a fair bit of The Spirit) but I know the conventions from the glut of films in the 90s and the work of modern day writers such as Ed Brubaker and Alan Moore who regularly evoke the older style. As Brad says, this comic seems a bit small scale after #1 and that’s probably a good thing. After the first issue showed the effects on the war across the universe, Society of Superheroes shows how an attack on an individual world might look. It’s a simpler tale, one that fits  more readily with the pulp stories of old. In his Return of Bruce Wayne comic, Morrison set each issue in a different pulp genre – cowboy, pirate etc. and Multiversity gives him another chance to shoot the same overarching story through a variety of different lenses.

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Next up was The Just, a divisive entry in the series. The reason for this is that Grant Morrison and artist Ben Oliver style the comic (in particular its cover) after vacuous celebrity magazines.  On Earth-16, the previous generation of superheroes have solved most of Earth’s problems, leaving behind entitled, bratty kids to take up their mantles. It begins, fittingly, with a woman named Megamorpho committing suicide, while her friend Sasha whines about being ill for her party. It also includes a reference to the wonderful Chris Morris/Charlie Brooker sitcom Nathan Barley, the title character of which is a smug, self-entitled tosser of the highest order, neatly mirroring many of the characters within The Just. 

More than anything I can recall by Morrison, The Just owes a lot to his contemporaries. The decadent lives the heroes lead is reminiscent of Garth Ennis’ The Boys, the atmosphere generally and this portrayal of Batman is particular recall The Authority, written by Warren Ellis and latterly Mark Millar. Neil Gaiman and his seminal The Sandman are referenced directly. In any event, I really enjoyed The Just when I read it, though admittedly it didn’t stay with me like some of the other issues did.

Brad:

Yeah, The Just is a bit difficult. The idea of casting the offspring of superheroes as bratty celebrities is a novel one, but it does mean spending an entire comic with those people, which isn’t necessarily a good time. But then  once you scratch the surface, something quite interesting comes bubbling through – The Just is a really angry comic. The discussion between Damian Wayne and Alexis Luthor has some real barbs in it, directed at those who insist on calling their comic books “graphic novels”, at the cynicism with which stories about costumed heroes banding together and saving the universe are treated by a certain crowd, and Mark Millar in general. For a series that has a generally celebratory tone, it’s a very odd departure, probably the most “other” of the Multiversity one-shots. Got a cliffhanger to die for, though.

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Up next came probably the most spectacular issue of the entire series, Pax Americana. Drawn by the inimitable Frank Quitely, this was a take on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ legendary Watchmen series, substituting the original Charlton characters back in place of the analogues Moore and Gibbons crafted. It’s probably the most intricately crafted single issue of any comic you’ll ever read – you can certainly tell why it took Quitely the thick end of two years to draw it! There’s a two-page spread set in one room at three different times which is about as stunningly crafted a sequence as you will ever see. In keeping with the infinite loop motif which runs through the comic, I have to recommend this – read it front to back, then immediately start turning back the pages and read it back to front. It’s a trip.

Mike:

Funny you should mention reading it backwards, Brad, because there’s an issue of Watchmen, Chapter 5, which is actually symmetrical (up to a point). It’s that sort of attention to detail and structure that Morrison goes for here, and he really pulls it off. It’s odd because the enmity between Morrison and Alan Moore is a matter of public record, yet Pax Americana is no spoof or parody, it’s a re-imagining, an Elseworlds version of Watchmen  if you will. It’s the issue of Mulitversity most tied to an existing story, but it’s not less imaginative for it, believe it or not. It’s dense with ideas, with lots of references to structure and shape (mobius loops, things being the same in reverse) and philosophy, as spouted by The Question (the Rorschach of the piece) and Captain Atom, whose place in space and time is not fixed in the conventional sense. It is Captain Atom who gives us our connection to the larger story again – he reads Ultra Comics and at one points leaves the Universe entirely. That aside, most of Pax Americana is concerned with telling it’s own tale.

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From one end of the spectrum to another, the following month saw Thunderworld Adventures set on Earth-5, which features Captain Marvel and his allies battling mad scientist Doctor Sivana and his allies: A load more Sivanas. I noted at the time that this story is told with a refreshing lack of cynicism and it is, paradoxically it’s also tied to the head-spinning overarching story much more closely than either The Just or Pax Americana. The existence of the multiverse is what helps power the plot here – Sivana has teamed up with different versions of himself to defeat his foes as well as to mine resources from parallel worlds. Beyond this though, it’s a simple, old-fashioned superhero story, with Cameron Stewart’s art very effectively harking back to a by-gone era of comics. Perhaps more than any other issue it can be read as a stand-alone comic – it even ends with a clean victory for the heroes as they fly on in to the sunset.

Brad:

I have a copy of Thunderworld Adventures signed by Cameron Stewart sat here, looking at me with a “frame me and hang me” expression on its metaphorical face. This comic is just a joy to read, harking back to a simpler era of bright colours and bold heroes and nefarious mad scientists. The league of Sivanas is an inspired creation, my personal favourites being the snake in a lab coat and glasses and the Nobel prize-winning scientist with some personal problems. Where The Just saw Morrison at his snarkiest, and Pax Americana at his most mind-bending, the mood of Thunderworld Adventures is celebratory. This is the Grant Morrison who loves superhero comics unapologetically. It’s a straight-up shot of fun, and I go back to it again and again for the smile it always brings to my face.

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In the New Year something a tad different came along, with The Multiversity Guidebook. In stark contrast to the optimistic, whimsical tone of Thunderworld Adventures, this opens with the Hannibal Lecter-inspired Sivana (who, hilariously, wears his glasses over his mask!) barbequing chibi versions of Aquaman, Cyborg and the Martian Manhunter with a flamethrower, whilst their world’s diminutive (even by Sivana standards!) Sivana looks on, a little horrified. No straightforward guidebook here, then. Rather, this connects to the main narrative, as chibi-Batman is forced to team up with Batman of the Atomic Knights to warn the multiverse about the League of Sivanas, whilst also reading a comic about Earth-51, home of Jack Kirby’s DC creations. Here, Kamandi, Prince Tuftan and Ben Boxer discover that Nix Uotan, corrupted by The Gentry, has released pre-Flashpoint Darkseid from his tomb.

We also get a potted history of the entire DC multiverse in Crisis, taking in the meeting of Jay Garrick and Barry Allen in Flash of Two Earths, the attack of the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, the corrupted Hal Jordan attempting to unmake reality in Zero Hour, Superboy-Prime shattering the walls of reality in Infinite Crisis, Booster Gold and Rip Hunter rediscovering the Multiverse in 52, Darkseid’s fall nearly tearing everything down in Final Crisis and Barry Allen causing everything to change in Flashpoint. All that in four pages. Cracking comic.

Mike:

I must admit The Multiversity Guidebook caught me by surprise, somewhat. I was led astray by the title and wasn’t expecting it to be so narrative driven and so crucial to the main story. Both stories within it are excellent, the tale of the two Batmans (Batmen?) and Prince Kamandi’s quest, though if I have one quibble here it’s that DC writers keep going to the Darkseid well where crises are concerned. That said, the don’t lean on him too heavily this time around, it must be said.

As entertaining as the narrative is, I enjoy the summaries of the 52 worlds just as much. Morrison has created something for nearly everyone, whether you want cowboys, pirates, a steampunk earth, cartoon rabbits, the Scooby Gang, you name it. Separate artists draw the representatives from each world, too, giving them all a unique flavour. That’s a technique Morrison uses frequently, not just across Mulitversity by also his older works, most notably The Invisibles.

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On to less whimsical fare, then with Mastermen. I was intrigued when this book was announced, after all the Nazi Superman analogue Overman had proved himself at least partly heroic in the pages of Final Crisis. If the patterns of previous comics repeated themselves, would the anti-Nazi resistance on Earth-10 be the agents of The Gentry and the Nazi superheroes be the saviours? Also, I’m a sucker for a good ‘Nazis won the war’ alternate universe, as I wrote about at length in our recap of the book at the time. In the event, the book is as dark as advertised. The world’s version of the Justice League are Nazis or at the very least sympathetic. The resistance are dubious in their tactics and are indeed armed by sinister offworld forces – in this instance a Doktor Sivana. It’s hard to find anyone to root for here (although on balance our sympathies, or mine at least, were with Uncle Sam and his Freedom Fighters). I really enjoyed the book but found it a bit slight, especially after the ideas blow-out of Guidebook. Still, it’s beautifully set up for if Morrison or someone else at DC wants to take it on.

Brad:

It’s definitely Batmans…

Mastermen put me in mind of Pax Americana in a way, as it’s Grant taking the work of his other well-known nemesis, Mark Millar, and putting his own spin on it – in this case, Superman: Red Son. This is a much bleaker affair, though. There aren’t really any heroes here. The closest we get is Overman’s conscience, grappling with the atrocities of the regime he is the face of, but even that is corrupted by his dreams of Lord Broken. It’s all tragedy and horror. Which, given that it’s based very loosely on a Wagner opera, isn’t massively surprising. And if you want big and operatic on the page, you could do worse than going for Jim Lee on art. That man was not meant to draw small, intimate moments; he was meant to draw falling satellites destroying cities.

Ultra Comics Lives!

We followed that by reading one of the plot-points, the haunted Ultra Comics, probably the weirdest and most Morrison-ian of the bunch. The conceit is that the comic we hold in our hands is itself the main character of the comic. This means that, as we turn from page 1 to page 40, we follow its entire lifespan, with its death coming as we reach the end of the final page. But we have the power to resurrect it any time we like, simply by opening and reading it again. It’s very odd.

Mike:

Ultra Comics, more than the finale, is what it has all been leading toIt’s the latest comic in a series in which it, Ultra Comics, is a major plot device. ‘Very odd’, indeed. The comic itself combines the obsession with structure from Pax Americana with the fourth wall breaking material from #1. The idea that the comic is it’s own central character is a logical extension of the ideas set out early on – the comics exist as artifacts within themselves. Ultra Comics contains some other neat ideas too – if Pax Americana was designed to upset Alan Moore and Mastermen was aimed at Mark Millar then Ultra Comics is a commentary on Morrison himself, though whether he’s spoofing himself or merely pre-empting his critics I’m not entirely sure. ‘This guy’s raped my wallet too man times!’ opines one critic, as Ultra-Comics attempts to weaponise criticism and use it against The Gentry. There’s also a running theme of  the comic as an infection, which brings to mind Morrison’s The Filth.

Where I think the comic is less successful is the setting – Earth-33 – in theory the world in which we live, where the details of the Multiverse are stored in the form of comics. The problem is this; as soon as you introduce a fantastic element such as Ultra-Comics, then the world becomes now more like ours than any other across the orrery. Additionally, I don’t think the Earth-33 setting, and all that entails, really added anything to the story. Was it really important that this was Earth-33 and not from any of the other parallel worlds?

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Finally then, we have Multiversity #2 Justice Incarnate, the only comic myself and Brad haven’t poured over obsessively yet. Frankly, it’s magnificent, cramming in ideas, settings and characters at a rate even #1 might struggle to keep up with. We’re shown snap shots of the various crises across the worlds, some of which we’re familiar which, some are new. In the western themed Earth-18, Lecter-Sivana comes to an ignominious end when he’s shot in the head, mid sentence. There’s even time for some humour – in one encounter on Earth-13, a spell cast on the super powered vampires leaves them craving coffee instead of blood.

The greatest heroes though have gathered at the House of Heroes, still under attack as seen in Guidebook. The scale of the battle is epic, taking in characters from throughout the series and beyond. There’s even a surprising supporting role for The Retaliators, the Avengers analogues from #1. There’s the reveal of the villain behind The Gentry, the formation of a new multiverse spanning team ‘Operation Justice Incarnate’ and a pleasingly low key final page. But that’s enough from me, let’s see what Brad thought of it.

Brad:

Our comic opens with a parallel to the final page of Ultra Comics. As Ultra ended with the lights going out and a fade to black, Multiversity #2 opens in blackness with the lights sparking on. “But just when you thought it was all over! The story goes on with or without you!” intone the caption boxes. We see Harbinger, AI of the House of Heroes, under attack from Hellmachine of the Gentry. “Calling all Earths!” she cries out, “SOS!”

A flying tour of the Multiverse follows, as Crises ring out across them all. Grant takes a moment to show off his dab hand for the rhyming of Etrigan the Demon – there’s a series I would read if he ever comes back to superhero comics! – before we return to the House of Heroes for Dino-Cop to rally the troops against Hellmachine’s attack. The chibis are revealed to be robotic spies for the Gentry, but before they can be interrogated they’re disabled by their master’s call, “Empty is my hand.”

Meanwhile, on Earth-8, the Justice League of Multiple Earths fights the corrupted Nix Uotan alongside the Retaliators of Earth-8 (or shall we just drop all pretence and call them Marvel’s Avengers?)  While our heroes are kept busy by the Gentrified versions of Earth-7’s Retaliators (the Ultimates), the corrupted Super-Judge prepares for the Gentry’s arrival, heralded by his solving a Rubik’s Cube in seventeen moves. Now, those of you who’ve been following these reviews may have gathered that Final Crisis is really important. In that story, Metron of the New Gods tells Nix Uotan that the minimum number of moves to solve a Rubik’s Cube is eighteen, before solving his in seventeen to reveal a Mother-Box and unleash Nix’s true form. The Gentry are attempting to corrupt that moment of ultimate triumph to bring about their victory.

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Our heroes respond with all their might; the Marvel family impale Hellmachine with Sivana’s false Rock of Eternity and send it spinning off to be eaten by the creatures which live between worlds, whilst Thunderer (Earth-7’s Thor) and Aquawoman (Earth-11) combine their powers to wound Nix Uotan. Captain Carrot, surely this series’ breakout star, shows Red Racer the way to win – he has to read the whole Multiversity series and see how they stop Nix Uotan. He reads and he runs, calling out an SOS as Nix solves his Cube in just fifteen moves. It turns out the Cube controls all the other Trans-Matter cubes, and is a gateway to all universes. In a Flash (Ba-dum *tsh*, here all week, tip your waitress), Red Racer emerges from the cube with the Flashes of fifteen other universes in tow, each recruited in a split-second stretched to eternity by the speed at which he was moving. They strike Nix Uotan with fifteen near-infinite mass punches, breaking him free of the Gentry’s influence.

The Gentry begin their invasion, but are struck down by the heroes of 51 universes, plus the last survivor of Earth-7, in short shrift. All that remains now is to find out what happened to Earth-7. Our heroes travel across and find only hell waiting for them. And sat at the heart of it all on his throne of ruin is the unseen Empty Hand guiding everything. He’s surrounded by numerous iterations of the Gentry, as they appear to be mere pawns in a larger game. Incidentally, and it’s hard to tell because he’s cloaked in shadow, but Empty Hand seems to look a hell of a lot like Grant Morrison. Wouldn’t be the first time! He declares that this attack was merely an assessment of our strength, and that he has nothing to fear from us. He’ll return on his own terms, whilst his legions sustain themselves on the starry carcass of their previous victim, Multiverse-2. He casts the heroes back to Earth-8, and they regroup on the House of Heroes. Calvin Ellis prepares them for next time, before naming his multiversal Justice League – comprised of himself (Earth-23), Aquawoman (Earth-11), Thunderer (Earth-7), Red Racer (Earth-36), Abin Sur (Earth-20), Atomic Batman (Earth-17), Captain Carrot (Earth-26), Mary Marvel (Earth-5) and Machinehead (Earth-8) – Operation Justice Incarnate. The comic ends on a quiet note, as Nix Uotan wakes up in his apartment on Earth-0 – again, mirroring Final Crisis.

That was dense, and a bit bloody weird. A fine capstone to an excellent event. I’ve got some bits I want to talk about, but first – your thoughts, Mike?

Mike:

I know we’ve banged on this particular drum a lot throughout the course of the series, but looking back across it for this recap, I’m struck by quite *how* similar it has been to Final Crisis, particularly the Superman Beyond sections of that book. The finale especially is very similar, as the greatest heroes from across the Multiverse gather the beat the big bad guy. In Final Crisis it was a team of Superman counterparts and the Green Lantern corps that did the damage, here it is the Flashes that land the killer blows. As in Final Crisis, there’s a villain beyond the villain who has secretly been controlling events. Here though there is no against all odds win for the heroes – the villain, The Empty Hand, just effortlessly banishes the heroes from his land. This again reminded me of something I mentioned in previous recaps, monsters in Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos. Those characters are so powerful and unknowable that humans can do nothing to stop them and it’s the same here. All the most powerful heroes from 52 worlds and they’re just sent packing by a wave of the hand.

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There has been such a surfeit of ideas in this series that I wonder where it goes from here. The formation of Justice Incarnate at the end of #2 is done as a really bold statement, a two page spread depicting the heroes in all their glory. Are there already plans afoot to use this team going forward? The problem of course would be that the team would deal with existence level crises on a regular basis. That’s probably a bit much for a monthly comic. Elsewhere, Morrison has hinted that each #1 throughout the series could be the first issue of an ongoing series, possibly written by other writers. While some, such as Thunderworld Adventures, tie up their stories neatly, others, in particular Mastermen and Pax Americana are crying out for someone to carry them on. Mastermen, for instance, is narrated by a character far in the future of the events predicted. Has Morrison already mapped out where the story goes after the fall of the Eagle’s Nest? And it would be criminal if that’s all we ever see of the heroes of the Society of Superheroes. Where do you think we go from here, Brad?

Brad:

I’m going to keep banging the drum for Captain Carrot! If any of the number ones were to go to full series, my preference would be Thunderworld Adventures, though I’d love to see Pax Americana expanded to a full-length OGN, without the influence of the Gentry this time, just to see where it goes. I don’t foresee a return for Justice Incarnate before we see a return to superhero comics for Grant Morrison, personally. But then, maybe that’s what Empty Hand meant when he said he would return?

What did you make of the scene where Calvin Ellis looks straight down the barrel at us, declaring that the Gentry came from Earth-33, and that the heroes are coming to get us? I took that to mean that the wave of unpleasantness infecting superhero comics (hello again, Mark Millar!) comes from us, rather than being something inherent to the medium itself, and ultimately the goodness of the superhero will win out.

Mike:

There’s certainly been a trend in Morrison’s work of eschewing cynicism (however odd that seems when you read his dark themes and violence etc.). We posted a picture in an earlier recap from his run on Animal Man, in which Morrison talks to Buddy Baker and expresses his dismay that these days comics are violent  and ‘realistic’. In addition, there are several references throughout Mulitversity to good, old-fashioned happy endings. I think that Morrison, for all his complicated narratives and ludicrously complicated concepts loves simple stories of heroes triumphing and that’s one of the main things that this comic is about. Final Crisis (take a shot) was similar – yes it had the whole of reality collapsing in on itself, a ‘hell without exit’, a vampire feeding on the very lifeblood of existence, but it ended because Superman wished for a happy ending for everyone. As scary as Morrison’s work can be (and the fates of some characters are beyond horrible) you always get the  impression that at heart he’s a very optimistic sort and generally things turn out OK.

It’s strange to think now but in the dim and distant past, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar actually teamed up for a Marvel book, Skrull Kill Krew, in which ordinary people eat the Skrulls that Mr Fantastic turned into cows and go on to kill the aliens wherever they find them. I suspect it will be a long time before the two collaborate again, if we’re accurate in our assumption that Multiversity is full of barbs aimed at Millar. Perhaps it’s own our bias showing though!

I fully agree by the way about a full length Pax Americana. Indeed, I thought The Gentry were an afterthought in that comic anyway. I suspect we won’t see it though, after all it would be Morrison retelling someone else’s story (that cackling you can here in the background is Michael Moorcock, by the way). Much like the original Watchmen told you everything it needed to within its pages, maybe Pax Americana has already told us all it is going to say.

Seven Soldiers gave us a Frankenstein comic and while that never got the audience it deserved, the big fella continues to play a big role in Justice League Dark, having been plucked from relative obscurity (in DC terms anyway). He’s hoping that Captain Carrot, Calvin Ellis or even Dinocop get the same chance!

Brad:

I think any attempt at Dinocop would result in a swift cease and desist from Image Comics!

So I guess we go for the little bits of house-keeping, then. Which was your favourite of the one-shots, and why?

Mike:

It’s a tough one, this, but since we’ve said a lot here already I’ll cut straight to the chase and say Thunderworld Adventures is probably my favourite, if only because it’s the one I can see myself reading as a one off most often. The same question to you Brad and additionally, what other world (as detailed in the Guidebook would you like to see receive a one-shot?

Brad:

Though I’d definitely agree that Thunderworld Adventures is the one I go back to the most often, Pax Americana was just breathtaking. I’m a sucker for formal experiments on the comic page, and there’s just so much to pick apart in every single panel. Beautiful. The snarky part of me wants to say I’d like to see some good comics about Earth-8! In all seriousness, though, Earth-12. The home of Bruce Timm’s animated universe, set particularly in the era of Batman Beyond. I love those characters, and I can’t wait for Dan Jurgens’ Batman Beyond series to launch in June. Yourself?

Mike:

Well I’m a sucker for a good western, so a trip to Earth-18 would be good. Beyond that, I love the aesthetic of Jed Dougherty’s Earth-37 and it seems to be a world that Morrison has put some thought into, so that’s another one I’d like to read.

Well folks, this is about the end for our trip through the Multiverse. I had been hyped about this comic since it was announced all those years ago and it has more than met my expectations. Another stunning entry into the canon of Grant Morrison, one of the most powerful creative forces working today in any medium, for my money. From the scope and ambition of the piece through the intricate plotting and to the affectionate (and not so affectionate) parodies and spoofs it has been a wonderful ride. I can’t really say much more without going over old ground, so I’ll let Brad bring us home.

Brad:

What more is there to say, really? It’s a sensational series, one of the best comics you could hope to read. It’s been a lot of fun working through these reviews, and picking up on all the various details. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our reviews, and that they’ve been illuminating in some way. Anything we’ve missed? Thoughts on the Multiversity? Let us know in the comments below. Cheers!

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Brad

Brad

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Brad

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The Pitiful Human-Lizard: Jason Loo’s Local Hero

The Human-Lizard is, as an up-and-coming superhero character, not at all pitiful like his fascinating comic’s semi-joking title might suggest....

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