REVIEW: Multiversity: PAX AMERICANA

2014-11-19 07-24-46 - The Multiversity - Pax Americana (2014-) 001-000THE MULTIVERSITY: PAX AMERICANA #1

Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by FRANK QUITELY
1:10 B&W Variant cover by FRANK QUITELY
1:25 Variant cover by RYAN SOOK
1:50 Variant cover by PATRICK GLEASON
1:100 Variant cover by GRANT MORRISON
On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

SOLICITATION:

Brace yourselves for the next exciting chapter of THE MULTIVERSITY as the acclaimed ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely investigate the conspiracy on Earth-4, home of Pax Americana! Told backwards through an experimental storytelling technique that reveals new mysteries with each turn of the page, PAX AMERICANA stars The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade and Peacemaker like you’ve never seen them before! As the assassination of the U.S. president leads to political intrigue, interpersonal drama and astro-physical wonder, the truth behind the crime and those involved will blow your mind! What confidential conversation between the president and Captain Atom could reveal everything? How far will The Question take his hunt for the truth before he hurts his former friends – or himself? And who is the steel-handed bogeyman operating in the shadows?
Discover all this and more in this exciting stand-alone issue which also acts as chapter four of the MULTIVERSITY storyline. Join us, if your dare, for THE MULTIVERSITY!

paxamericana20

REVIEW:

Saying that Grant Morrison is telling this story backwards is too simple. He’s bouncing around in time, but completely explains it with Captain Atom that in comics, we can time travel, going forwards and backwards at will, just by turning the pages. That’s what Multiversity is about, it’s Grant Morrison’s metaphysical explanation of comics in an era where real science is telling us that there may actually be an infinite number of universes, something that we, as comic fans have known for decades, although I should give credit to Phillip K. Dick for the concept.

Here, he takes the tone of Watchmen and returns it to the characters that were the basis for Alan Moore’s important graphic novel that Corporate DC has watered down to another property worth exploiting. We do get a Question that seems more like Steve Ditko’s Mr. A than Rorschach. In Blue Beetle, we get an explanation of Bruce Wayne’s methods not being the most efficient method of reaching his stated goals. In Captain Atom, we get a hero who’s consciousness has become so expanded by his power that it borders on insanity. Nightshade is the traditional crime-fighting character that finds herself quickly outmatched as society makes her irrelevant, which may be the most important lesson for super-hero fans here.

paxamericana19

 

The unconventional storytelling gets a little confusing but the opening sequence sets the tone for general front to back storytelling. Going backwards and forwards though breaks that framework, but again, Captain Atom explains it to the reader. Throughout the issue, I find myself comparing it to Watchmen, which is a little unfair to the story, but the comparison is going to get made.While it can be confusing, he makes the effort to explain it all without resorting to text pages to bring everyone up to speed. Grant Morrison demands that readers be intelligent and exercise that intelligence, but in a way that respects those readers and doesn’t assume that they’re idiots.

Frank Quitely is one of the few artists that can work on the same page as Morrison, and uses his art to make the same point that Grant Morrison is making. He also adds an air of believability to a very metaphysical story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Question’s mask look so real, and I’ve seen the Question cosplayed. After reading this issue, I flipped through an old issue of The Authority, and All-Star Superman, and his work continues to improve.

While this series does present a challenge, I recommend it, albeit knowing that not everyone will get the point of the story is not the various mysteries, but a commentary on the nature of comic books themselves.