The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Sprouse
The story is bookended by narration from the Immortal Man as he tells the tale of how Earth-20’s Doctor Fate gather some of the world’s greatest heroes to form the Society of Superheroes, or SOS for short. Besides Doctor Fate and Immortal Man, the SOS is comprised of Atom (the Golden Age incarnation, Al Pratt), Abin Sur as Green Lantern, and Lady Blackhawk and her Blackhawks.
Shortly after the formation of the SOS, a team of evil doppelgangers from Earth-40 arrives to wage war and take over every possible Erath. They are led by Vandal Savage and his team includes Lady Shiva, Count Sinestro, Blockbuster, and (Dr.) Felix Faust and his army of zombies. Savage wages war on Earth-20 for five years and the SOS desperately hold them off. Doc Fate realizes that hope may be lost for his world, but he won’t let anything stop him from warning other parallel Earths.
Morrison gets the time voice of very specific era right with this issue and that brilliant writing backed by beautiful artwork. Sprouse is one of the best artists working in comics right now and he seems right at home drawing 30s-50s era adventures and characters. This is a guy that you know would do incredible work on characters like The Spirit, The Shadow, The Rocketeer (which he drew an issue of once), or Captain America. The war for Earth-20 feels epic in scope and the traumatic events depicted in the issue give a rightful sense of dread.
There are brief mentions of a haunted comic on both Earths 20 and 40, which calls back to the comic in the first issue, which is the only noticeable direct link between the two. A lot happens in this issue, but in just a few pages the worlds and characters feel fully fleshed out. The world of Earth-20 is an exciting one and very welcome stop on the train that is Morrison’s Multiversity.