The Multiversity #1 (Comics Review)

Grant Morrison is one of the biggest names in comics at the moment and he has been around for quite a while. He’s worked on lots of different properties over the years, most prominently Batman and he is also the creator of Batman’s son Damian Wayne, IIRC. His run on the relaunched Batman: ended last year, soon after he killed off Damian in a rather spectacular fight, and he is reported to be working on a Wonder Woman graphic novel as well, though details on that are still sketchy. However, his long-rumoured and long in-development project above all others is The Multiversity and today, I found out exactly what it is.

The Multiversity #1 is basically Crisis of Infinite Earths told from the point of view of completely new characters as far as I can tell, and the antagonists are different as well. Morrison brings together heroes from a bunch of different worlds, many of them being rather remarkable, such as a black Superman, Aquawoman, Dino Cop and others. The writing throughout the opening issue was really confusing and haphazard, though the art was often good, largely because I always love Ivan Reis and Joe Prado’s work. The issue started off really confusingly, and the confusion continued throughout, so I’m not sure where I stand with this.The Multiversity 001The Multiversity #1 reads like an event comic, and it definitely is one, though the promos for this have downplayed that angle. Instead, from what material I chose to explore prior to today, The Multiversity came off as some kind of an original project from Morrison. And to be fair to the idea, I didn’t really follow up much on it, so that expectation deserved to be borne out as false.

Either way, first of all I’ll commend Morrison on creating this book on the foundations of a racially diverse cast that is also sexually and gender diverse. That’s definitely one of the things that I loved about this comic. Another is that we get to see Harbinger again, a female galactic-scale superhero I loved reading about back in Crisis of Infinite Earths. Harbinger’s current persona is a bit different from that previous incarnation, but I had fun reading her cameo nonetheless.

However, that’s all I can really say that I liked about the comic, except maybe for Captain Carrot. Thing is that Morrison also builds this comic and indeed the story itself on the foundation that one world’s reality is another world’s fiction, and many of the heroes portrayed here have read comics on their own worlds, in their own realities, about the heroes they meet in this comic. Plus there is a lot of “real-world” stuff going on, especially with regards to the Superman featured here, who seems to have some kind of a younger analogue on another world who reads comics about him and so on.

Pretty damn confusing.

Then there’s the Monitor-analog who is similarly confusing. The Monitor in Crisis of Infinite Earths was a super-serious (perhaps too serious) being who made grave decisions and so on. The Monitor-analog introduced here is kind of this hip, modern character I really couldn’t connect to, and that made reading this comic even more laborious.

Not to mention that the second half of the comic is really, really confusing. More so than any previous confusion. The heroes don’t have any plan or strategy on how to stop the cosmic threat they’ve been brought together to fight, and they just blunder along to a world where the story seems to jump in and around some point with lots of characters switches and so on.

When it comes to the art, we have Ivan Reis on pencils, Joe Prado on inks, Nei Ruffino on colours and Todd Klein on the letters. The art is often pretty damn amazing here. Reis and Prado made the early days of the New 52 titles Aquaman and Justice League a must-read experience and they bring those same strengths to this comic too. The art here is often pretty damn good, with properly-proportioned characters all the way through, great character-work (body language, facial expressions etc) and so on. The colours are a bit too muted at times with the inks heavy in a few places, but by and large, I loved the artwork here, especially whenever we got to Captain Carrot and Aquaman and Harbinger.

Morrison loves to experiment, something I’ve heard said about him a lot, so perhaps this first proper exposure to Morrison’s work isn’t quite for me. I’ll check out an issue or two more and then make a judgement whether this is something I’ll be sticking with or not.

Rating: 5/10

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Posted on August 20, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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