Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Joe Prado
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 8/20/14
The Multiversity, Grant Morrison’s epic trip into the DC Comics Multiverse, arrives this week after a five-year creative period with the first “bookend” issue. First teased during San Diego Comic Con with a map, it’s time for us readers to meet a possibly infinite cast of characters who may wear similar garb as the Earth Prime heroes, but can be incredibly different.
In the opening pages of The Multiversity #1, we are reintroduced to Nix Uotan, the last surviving Monitor from Morrison’s Final Crisis, as he and his monkey pirate companion Mr. Stubbs, investigate a…cursed comic? While that might usually be below the notice of the Monitor, Nix does sense something is VERY wrong, and that the comic truly is cursed in some fashion. Tracking down the ideas behind the comic, they arrive on Earth-7 to see it transformed into a hellscape. Reality has been warped, and the heroes of that world lie defeated except for Thunderer, an Aboriginal Australian Thor archetype. The trio finds out this is due to the machinations of The Gentry, a pan-dimensional army of evil, chaos, and entropy. Nix and Stubbs hold off The Gentry’s herald as Thunderer escapes in their ship to summon other heroes to the Hall of Heroes at the Orrery of Worlds. These include President Calvin Ellis, the Superman of Earth-23, Captain Carrot, the Bugs Bunny-esque hero, and Dino Cop, a riff on Savage Dragon. After they reactivate Harbringer, the artificial intelligence used by the Monitors, they are sent on a mission to save the multiverse…one that might end on Earth-8, home to heroes and villains that seem vaguely similar to another comic book company’s stable….
After my disappointment with his final issue of Batman Incorporated, it’s nice to see Morrison return to wacky, trippy, and wonderfully epic form. He gives each member of his large cast of characters a moment to stand out. Captain Carrot is the one who ends up stealing the show out of all of them, acting like…well a giant cartoon rabbit with super powers and all that entails. His Marvel pastiche planet is a wonderful homage to the rival company, with easily recognizable faces under different names. He even brings in the MacGuffin from Marvel vs DC, the Cosmic Egg, for a cameo and as a plot device. I do like how he brings back little plot points from Final Crisis, and manages to balance everything out. However, there are a few plot holes, as to why one character knew the Cosmic Egg was bad and why it shouldn’t be opened, or how he knew EXACTLY what would be inside. It also leaves us on a cliffhanger that seems won’t be resolved until the bookend chapter at the end of the series. Also, per Morrison’s habit, there is a lot to take in, though not as crammed with the esoteric as his Batman Incorporated run; I recommend two read-throughs to fully enjoy the comic.
The art by Ivan Reis is superb. The characters are well drawn and very expressive. His settings range from sleek sci-fi, to dystopian hellscape, to the regular ho-drum world. His use of Captain Carrot’s cartoon physics is hilarious, and he does a great job depicting the Aven…The Retaliators, down to “Bulk”‘s comedic look. This is matched with Joe Prado’s wonderful inks that make everything stand out, and Nei Ruffino brings a vibrancy to the art. My one major complaint is the slip-ship used by our heroes; as rendered by the team, it looks more like a toy gun crossed with the Yellow Submarine than a space-time vessel.
Overall, it’s a well done starting issue to this mini series. While the next issue is a standalone with the Society of Superheroes, I do hope there is some ramifications from this issue that filter through into the one shot.
It’s time to take a trip, and Grant Morrison is our guide.
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