First things first, “Ms. Marvel” is still excellent and you should pick it up right now. Okay, business taken care of, this week I review DC’s newest event, “The Multiversity”. If you’ve picked it up and haven’t a clue of what is happening then I have fantastic news because I don’t either! It has something to do with Cthulhu devouring every other parallel universe in the DC multiverse and only this jolly band of heroes can save everyone from destruction. So as super hero templates go this one is pretty standard. However, this one’s different because—you know, Grant Morrison is a weirdo.
I’m not against Grant Morrison in comics; in fact he’s defined some of the core concepts within the whole of comic books. He is an absolutely unparalleled writer who continues to reinvigorate the medium. I’m gonna go ahead and add a big astrix to that last statement though because while Grant Morrison has an incredibly inventive imagination, when you let it run wild it tends to make a mess of things. Case in point, “The Multiversity”. The book doesn’t seem to have any rules, no boundaries to define the book because all of these characters aren’t in the main universe. That means there’s no one to tell Grant, “No, we don’t need a talking chimpanzee space captain. Also? I’m a bit concerned about this space ship made of frozen music.” Again, these aren’t bad things but consider the current goal of DC. They have implicitly stated they want to entice new readers to the medium through their books. I’m not sure the very best way to go about this is to have a giant, one-eyed, bat octopus devour all of existence with his friend zombie Cher. This book is a bit out of reach for the new reader but old school fans are sure to be pissing themselves with happiness.
Something that both Marvel and DC do quite a bit is poke fun at each other with satire. Marvel had a recent bout of this when the Illuminati faced down the “I Can’t Believe it’s Not the Justice League”. And since this whole book is about jumping between universes, there’s no reason DC can’t poke a bit of fun at their competition. So in the book there’s a simulacrum of the Marvel universe, a send up of The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and Doctor Doom. As a fan, it made me giggle and smile with glee. I got to make a little game of it, trying to figure out who was supposed to be who. Of course the Doctor Doom copy was easy to pick out, he was the one being an absolute bastard. Captain America was a bit more interesting; Grant Morrision went more the crusader route and had him adorned in medieval armor. All of this was a lot of fun but then my mind hit a bit of a hurdle, where is the DC universe?
The cover very prominently features DC’s Black Superman—as well it should because he is pretty much the main character. But then nothing else really crops up from Detective Comics. I saw an Aqua Lady. Oh, there’s an alternate universe Flash and Green Lantern who are literally in love with each other but other than that the DC universe is rather under represented. There’s even a send up to Savage Dragon and yet there are characters tucked away in DC’s archives that would be really spectacular to see brought on to the team. Perhaps they’ll appear later in the series and we’ll get to reminisce on other facets of the DC universe that are tucked away. But right now “The Multiversity” consists of Black Superman, a cartoon rabbit, and then the rest is satire of the Marvel universe.
It’s not very hard to compare DC to Image on this one. After all, the compare themselves to each other all the time. “Invincible” has its own take on The Avengers with the Guardians of the Globe. Mark even jumps between universes regularly. He’s encountered versions of himself that are horrible and evil, versions that make him question who and what he is. That’s where multiple universes shine. When the reader can look at parallel versions of Mark Grayson, it’s a powerful critique of Mark. What is it that made this Mark good when so often he turned out to be psychotic or just plain evil? That’s where I feel “The Multiversity” falls a bit flat. All it does is point at “The Thing” but it doesn’t say anything. There’s no real reason to see these alternate Earths other than to be a tourist seeing this strange, new place. All in all it’s not a bad comic, in fact a lot of fans are going to get a kick out of it but it is trying really hard to seem relevant when it just isn’t.