People love lists and so we’re going to try a swing at doing one, sparked by this week’s issue of Multiversity, which I was going to review but thought this was a more proper way to address it.
For the Top 10 Alternate Earths, the only definition is that they have to be designated as an “official” Alternate Earth, either by their appearance or reference in a comic book story. That’s it. Because they’ve done much more exploration of their respective multiverses, all of the list is from DC and Marvel, but nearly making the list was This Savage World from Savage Dragon, the world of Tomas Stone from Tom Strong, as well as DC’s Earth-Prime, The DC Television Universe, aka the Arrowverse, and the pre-Crisis Earth-2. What made the list? Read on.
10. (DC) Earth-38: Generations. I loved the first mini-series by John Byrne, and liked the second one, which filled in a lot of holes in the backstory of this reality. The third mini-series seemed to miss the mark, especially when it came to Superman’s involvement with the New Gods that never seemed to be handled with the seriousness it could have, mainly due to the structure of the series. I really would love to see more of the “present day” characters in this world, and how Batman and Superman are viewed by them.
9. (DC) Earth-47. Based solely on the write-up in the Multiversity Sourcebook, this is the universe that is home to Prez, the first teenage president, which is a four-issue series that I really enjoyed for how it refused to take itself seriously. I want to see how it’s handled and I’m hoping that the new series following Convergence follows through on the feeling that this world seems to have, despite turning the first teenage president into a different character altogether.
Mind you, I don’t object to changing the character’s gender, and actually think that is a good way to go. If a character is going to break new ground, then by all means, shatter it. The series still looks like a fun read, and I am looking forward to it immensely.
8. (Marvel) Earth- 1610: The Ultimate Universe. While it’s had its rocky moments, this universe has far more good than bad with the first two Ultimates series, Ultimate Spider-Man, especially Miles Morales, and it’s willingness to kill Wolverine. I’m a little sad that it’s vanishing after Secret Wars, but hopefully some of the elements other than Miles will stick around.
7. (DC) Earth-247: Home of the “Archie” Legion, which debuted after Zero Hour, but apparently existed before the Crisis on Infinite Earths. I don’t try to wrap my head too far around it, but there were times that I really loved this version of the Legion. Many feel that their stories were too simple, they really came of age with Legion Lost, where some of them were lost in another universe and saw darker sides to themselves than was thought possible and still retained that heroic essence that made them the Legion of Super-Heroes.
6. (Marvel) Earth-82100: As seen in What If? #35, Elektra is not killed by Bullseye and she and Matt Murdock vanish. I like this one because it gives the characters a happy ending instead of a never-ending cycle of heartbreak and struggle. I reviewed this in my Reviews of Old Comics, and still hold to how good it is. Why it makes the list of Alternate Earths is how it breaks the mold of every What If? story seeming to have cosmic consequences, a trope being that in a What If? story, it had to happen the way it did because catastrophic things would happen if it didn’t. This was a more personal conclusion for the characters and ended with the characters together and happy, a rarity for a Frank Miller Daredevil story.
5. (Marvel) Earth-65. This is the home universe of Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman. I really want this series to be unaffected by Secret Wars. Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman captures everything that made for the best Spider-Man stories. A great and varied supporting cast is developing and the tragedy that Gwen is constantly reminded of is something that she carries much like Peter used to carry about his uncle. Add to that the new versions of Frank Castle and Matt Murdock, and we have the makings of a constantly intriguing story with characters that seem familiar, which has us wondering about their future.
4. (DC) Earth-5: Thunderworld. It was a toss up between this version of Captain Marvel’s universe and the original Earth-S, but given that the Pre-Crisis world was cobbled together out of stories that DC acquired from the Fawcett, I went with Grant Morrison’s take on it in Multiversity. This world has an innocence that has yet to be recaptured by any writer, yet retaining the real feel of a threat. This is a world where the power of Shazam upholds the good and protects it from evil. I probably am not alone when I say I want to see more from it.
3. (DC) Earth-22: Kingdom Come. Even nearly twenty years after it first came out, Kingdom Come remains one of my favorite limited series. I collect the action figures made and cling to a full set of trading cards despite my various purges and paring down in my collection. Even a return to it in the pages of Justice Society of America in 2007 could tarnish the luster of this story, and even removed the bad taste of the ill-conceived The Kingdom. It fit that story in between the pages of the original mini-series and gave us a taste of the future of this Earth, including most of all, a happy ending for its Man of Steel, much like what was left in the original story.
2. (DC) Earth-12: Batman Beyond. I like this less for the incorporation of Batman Beyond, than the implication that this is the DC Animated Universe, since we saw Terry McGinnis in three episodes, including the last one that firmly established his existence in the Justice League Unlimited’s future.
That makes one of the best animated adaptations of comic book characters canon in the DC Multiverse. It also is one of the few Alternate Earths to have it’s own toy line, although looking at this list, my top three all have their own toy lines, but this one is probably the most extensive, consisting of over 150 figures.
In a perfect world, this universe would be the mainstream DC Universe, as it successfully mixes the grittiness of Gotham City with the carefree banter of characters like the Flash, Booster Gold, and the Elongated Man. Respect is shown for all corners of the DC Universe with cameos by characters like the Vigilante, Starman Prince Gavyn, and Etrigan the Demon, all without sacrificing the unique nature of its universe. It also has a Legion of Super-Heroes in its future, which is always a plus in my book.
1. (Marvel) Earth-199999: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Really, they’ve made me care about Thor and Rocket Raccoon. That is something I never would have thought is possible. Adding to the already impressive mix of characters is the upcoming Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Inhumans and best of all, a teenage Spider-Man! I even geek out when minor villains are introduced on Agents of SHIELD.
I know you’re thinking that this doesn’t show up in the comics! Marvel has produced tie-in comics that are part of the official canon of the MCU, and almost universally, it has been given its own designation within the Marvel Multiverse. That’s good enough for me, and I nearly put the Arrowverse on this list as well. Marvel is firing on all cylinders with this universe and the way it’s apparently unrelated stories intertwine with elements of each other, yet standing alone.
I care more about what happens in this universe than probably any other in comics, including the mainstream ones.
Which ones did I totally miss and which ones do you think I did wrong?