THE MULTIVERSITY #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Nei Ruffino
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: August 20, 2014
At long last, The Multiversity has arrived.
Straight out of the pages of your comic books, right back into the pages of other comic books, comes Grant Morrison’s magnum opus of super-heroics. As the last Monitor sacrifices himself to save all of creation, a new team of heroes from across 52 worlds must come together to stop a deep evil from destroying the multiverse.
President Superman! Captain Carrot! Dino-Cop! Aquawoman! Thunderer! Red Racer! Heroes all, but will their combined forces be enough to stop the threat living (literally) inside these pages?
What can I say? The Multiversity #1 is very much what you’d expect. It’s Grant Morrison at his finest, throwing as many ideas onto the page as possible, packing worlds of story potential into even single panels. But unlike some of Morrison’s latest non-DC work, this feels much more cohesive, much more reverent of the medium’s most famous genre — super-heroics.
In that sense, we’re getting a book that has far more respect for what has come before than I was expecting, and is less a transgressive piece than an homage. Like his work on All-Star Superman paid tribute to the wildest, most heart-tugging of the Man of Steel’s adventures in the Silver Age, The Multiversity is immediately honoring Crisis on Infinite Earths and all the magic that event still has for generations of readers. And it’s not simply the obvious pieces — the Monitor, his collection of heroes, the jump from world to world amid a crisis — but it’s the feeling that decades of contributions to the genre are being represented side-by-side with new interpretations.
We have two worlds, Earths 7 and 8, that seem to represent eras of Marvel Comics history. Earth 41 appears to be home to versions of classic 90s Image characters. Captain Carrot’s transition from his own cartoon world of Earth 26 to a more realistic environment has some really clever moments, particularly in battle.
And of course, Morrison treats us to worlds that recognize what we’ve been missing all these years in diverse representations, but not in a chastising or arrogant manner. We get glimpses of the membership of President Superman’s Justice League on Earth 23, a primarily Black cast with a smattering of Caucasian characters. The Flash and Green Lantern analogues from Earth 36 are pretty clearly gay — and a couple — and their single panel together makes me long for an entire adventure with the Justice 9 on their world.
And this is what Morrison does best. Grand adventure. Packed ideas. Beautiful tribute to the books we grew up loving, but retelling the story in a modern sensibility. It’s hard not to linger over every page, ferreting out more details about worlds we can only hope to explore more.
Choosing Ivan Reis and Joe Prado as primary artistic contributors to launch the series couldn’t have been more perfect, particularly with respect to this issue’s inspiration in the classic Crisis series. Reis’s clean line and ability to pack an enormous amount of detail into every page without sacrificing emotion is what has put him at the top of those who would follow the great George Perez in DC’s stable. His unique ability to make every heroic look his or her most stoic and dignified definitely lends to the notion that these assembled characters are the multiverse’s best, last hope. You feel it as much as you are told it.
A grand start to a series long in the making, The Multiversity #1 needed to be a slam-dunk for it to be worth the wait all these years since the conclusion of Final Crisis. I can say without hesitation, it made its quota for awesome, and perhaps then some. I expected to see the crazy mind of Morrison squirted all over the page. What I didn’t expect, and got an abundance of, was the great admiration and respect for comics that got worked into every panel. This is a book that can’t hide how deep labor of love it is, and I can’t help but want to read it all over again. And again. And again.
The Verdict: 9.5/10
For a quick look at DC’s concept of multiple worlds, check out our high-resolution Map of the Multiverse.