Review: The Multiversity #1

The Multiversity (2014-) 001-000The Multiversity #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
1:10 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS
1:25 Variant cover by CHRIS BURNHAM
1:50 Variant cover by BRYAN HITCH
1:100 Variant cover by GRANT MORRISON
Blank variant cover available
On sale AUGUST 20 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

The biggest adventure in DC’s history is here!
Join visionary writer Grant Morrison, today’s most talented artists, and a cast of unforgettable characters from 52 alternative Earths of the known DC Multiverse! Prepare to meet the Vampire League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark, the legion of Sivanas, the Nazi New Reichsmen of Earth-10 and the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: YOU! 
Comprising six complete adventures – each set in a different parallel universe – plus a two-part framing story and a comprehensive guidebook to the many worlds of the Multiverse, THE MULTIVERSITY is more than just a multipart comic-book series. It’s a cosmos spanning, soul-shaking experience that puts YOU on the frontline in the Battle for All Creation against the demonic destroyers known as the Gentry!
In issue #1, pencilled by superstar artist Ivan Reis (AQUAMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE), President Superman of Earth-23 uncovers a threat to all Reality so apocalyptic it will take a team of incredible heroes from across the Multiverse to face it – including Captain Carrot, like you’ve never seen him before!
But even with a multitude of alternate worlds to choose from, where every variation is possible, can anyone hope to prevail against the onslaught of ultimate evil and undying hatred – in the unstoppable form of a one-time cosmic defender with unimaginable powers?! Join us, if you dare, for the beginning of THE MULTIVERSITY!
Multiversity

REVIEW:

After the mess that was Final Crisis, my faith in Grant Morrison wavered a little bit, but then I heard his interview with Kevin Smith on Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast and I got to be a little more interested in seeing this series see publication. I don’t feel like it disappointed me.

Morrison plays off of the concept introduced decades ago that comic books depict actual events that occur on parallel universes. He does this in spades from the very beginning, with Nix Uotan, the last surviving Monitor using a comic to travel the Multiverse. He also uses this to give the impression that we are part of the story, urging us to set the book down or risk being killed by the threat facing the Multiverse. He further develops the theory that the parallel Earths are separated by vibratory patterns by having the ship that they use to navigate the Multiverse be navigated by playing music. After all, that’s what music is, patterns of vibrations in a specific order.

In this story we are introduced to a wide variety of heroes from various Earths, including a Flash analogue from Earth-36, the Red Racer, whose purpose is to be a comic geek that guides the heroes through the Multiverse, making his presence worthwhile as the first stop is Earth-8, a Marvel-style Earth, expanding on characters first introduced in Justice League of America with Wundajin (originally called called Wandjina), Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay. The heroes that we see provide a real treat for the long-time comics fan, beginning with President Superman of Earth-23, and continuing to Captain Carrot. The other heroes that we’re treated to are the Thunderer of Earth-7, the orchestrater of this adventure, Dino-Cop from Earth-41, an obvious homage to the Savage Dragon, Aquawoman from Earth-11, Lord Volt and Lady Quark, Bloodwynd and Gypsy from past incarnations of the Justice League, A Swamp Thing type of creature and a very chibi-style Wonder Woman and Steel. For me, though the stand-out character was on Earth-8, with the Hulk counterpart, Behemoth, which fought in a giant diaper, complete with safety pin.

The art by Ivan Reis is very nice, and makes the transition from Earth to Earth nicely, looking many times like Jerry Ordway’s art from later in his career. He is a nice choice to draw a Grant Morrison story, making many times this story feel like a super-hero version of the Invisibles. It reads very well after a suitably confusing first couple of pages, but with Grant Morrison, you sometimes have to struggle through a part that doesn’t seem to make sense before the story explains it all to you. However, it is obvious that Grant Morrison is out to make each Earth in the Multiverse unique and not just counterparts of modern DC characters. Morrison has an obvious love of comic books and the notions from the Silver Age that created the concept of a comic book multiverse.

I look forward to the rest of this series, and how the choice of artists change the story. Elements may not translate well with other artists, but the choices seem up to the task, so I’m optimistic, whereas before I was slightly skeptical.