Multiversity is DC Comics’ latest ambitious event series, written by Grant Morrison. In typical Morrison style, this series is grand in scope. Some threat calling itself the Gentry is threatening to consume the Multiverse, and the greatest heroes from across reality must be gathered to confront this threat.
Morrison last gave us the multiversal threat angle in DC’s Final Crisis (pre-New 52 reboot). The latter fact does not deter Morrison from bringing back Nix Uotan the Last Monitor, or the black Superman from Earth-23 (who also happens to be the President of the United States). In fact, while reading Multiversity #1 I couldn’t help but feel like this series is a stealth sequel to Final Crisis. A number of elements from that series return, such as the Orrery of Worlds and the remnants of the Monitors’ technology. There are even little nods to previous Crisis series (such as a unique use for a former major character in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths series).
All of this makes Multiversity feel like a major crossover series, yet self-contained to only the core series. This is a refreshing approach in an age where crossovers spread across multiple series with ridiculous amounts of tie-ins.
Morrison in the past has played with comic tropes and, on a meta-level, what comic books mean as a medium and the impact of the very concept of story. Morrison explored this heavily in Final Crisis (particularly in the Superman Beyond tie-in). Morrison continues the exploration of this theme in Multiversity, using the idea of comic books telling the stories from another world in the Multiverse. This idea of fiction as layers of reality across the multiverse is only one of the many big ideas on display, which is typical Morrison. He also manages to heavily reference Marvel comics, something I was surprised to see done so blatantly.
On it’s own the first issue does a good job of setting up the rest of the series, even though we won’t see the continuation of this particular issue for another several months. I wasn’t thrilled by the apparent annihilation of yet another Earth. I find it funny that while there’s only 52 Earths in the DC Multiverse, they seem pretty ready to scorch a couple of them in the rare moments we get insight into the Multiverse outside of Earth-2 (remember Countdown to Final Crisis? No? That’s okay, DC would rather forget too).
I’m excited to see how the promise of this series plays out. An All-Star Superman-like take on Captain Marvel / Shazam? A contemporary Charlton Comics cast inspired by a modern take on Watchmen? A pulp-like take on the Justice League? I’m hoping these concepts not only pan out but get spun off into their own series.
If you’re a long-time reader of DC Comics, you’re going to find a lot of Easter eggs to enjoy. If you love Morrison’s work, then you’re going to feel right at home with all of Morrison’s Big Ideas. Regardless, Multiversity #1 is a masterful start to the series