STORY BY Grant Morrison
ART & COVER BY Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
COLORS BY Nei Ruffino
PUBLISHER DC Comics
This one is a lot to take in. Literally years in the making, Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity has finally landed and it is as every bit strange, surreal, fun, and ambitious as you’d expect from the writer. The Multiversity is a difficult book to describe; especially after only reading it’s first issue. The issue opens with a comic within a comic and then possibly hops into another comic with Nix Uotan, the Superjudge and the Last of the Monitors, a passionate comic book fan and a protector of the multiverse. He travels to Earth-7 and finds an unstoppable foe laying waste to the universe. In a supposed act of self-sacrifice he saves one of that universe’s heroes and tells him to warn the rest of the parallel worlds.
Cut to Earth-23, home of President Superman, who first appeared briefly in Final Crisis, but had the spotlight shined on him in Morrison’s incredible satire of the industry in Action Comics #9. Superman is pulled in a Transmatter Symphonic Array and ends up in between worlds where the greatest heroes from 52 Earths have been gathered to investigate and save all existence. These heroes include Captain Carrot, Aquawoman, Dino-Cop, a geeky version of the Flash called Red Racer, and a myriad of other insane creations.
Obviously The Multiversity can’t use Marvel characters in this universe-spanning story, but Morrison does the next best thing when our group of heroes lands on Earth-8, the world of Major Comics, where a villain named Lord Havoc is living up to his namesake and bares a striking resemblance to Dr. Doom. Then he is joined by a group of superhuman analogues for Iron Man, Captain America, Jean Grey, the Hulk, and other familiar, but different Marvel figures. It’s a bold move and this on top of everything that came before is one hell of a way to start this epic event book.
“Insane” is a good word to describe the first issue of The Multiversity. There are so many characters and ideas introduced in this jam-packed first issue that it might be overwhelming for some. Morrison does not hold your hand at all with this one and that’s what makes the writer something special. This is a clear love letter to comic books as whole and the fact that anything in the medium is possible. Morrison clearly loves the art form as every page oozes passion for the medium.
When reading this first issue the reader will have to remember that Morrison writes with a big picture in mind. As packed and big as this issue is, this is a story that will have to be reread once every issue has been released. Final Crisis was similar in themes and scope, but delays and reading it over the course of many months caused it to be draining for many, but once it was collected into a single book, it became one of DC’s finest examples of big event storytelling. It isn’t difficult to see The Multiversity going down a similar route.
Ivan Reis draws the first issue, so of course it looks fantastic. Reis’ style has always been best when used to create iconic and traditional superhero tales, so he’s a perfect choice to kick off this event, which is about the mythos and love of the genre. His depiction of Lord Havoc on Earth-8 and the dying world of Earth-7 are utterly spectacular to look at.
For the really hardcore fans The Multiversity is a must, but for the more casual readers of comics, this issue won’t make a lick of sense and you might feel like Morrison walked into your room and hit you over the head with a 2×4. It’s a dense and challenging read. Already there are so many different ways to interpret the themes and what Morrison is trying say, but it will be impossible to see the big picture until the whole thing is over and done with. Until that time though, The Multiversity promises to be a really fascinating journey.