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Friday, August 22, 2014

My Week in Comics: Multiversity #1

This isn't a review. This is a revelation. A revelation that Grant Morrison and Ivan Reis' Multiversity #1 is not just a comic book...it's a commentary on comic books dressed up as a superhero story. A story we might have had a hand in telling.

Joining us in the journey is Nix Uotan, the last surviving Monitor from Final Crisis, here dubbed as Superjudge, savior of the multiverse. A distress call has been sounded from a parallel Earth, but he bites off more than he can chew when he faces the Gentry, a mysterious force that's slowly eroding the Multiverse with their cynicism and love for destruction. With the multiverse in danger, it's up to a group of ragtag heroes torn from multiple Earths to save it!

Multiversity #1 is a vintage Morrison book, meaning you don't 'read' it so much as 'experience' it, as pretentious as it sounds. It's quite literally a comic book about comic books, with the heroes knowing they're characters in a monthly comic, battling a threat that vaguely represents the cynicism of the modern comic book industry. There's even a clever element of audience participation in the way that Morrison talks directly to the reader through dialogue boxes, at one point asking us whose voice we use when reading those.  It's crazy!

Despite that heavy commentary, Multiversity #1 is a pretty fun comic. Morrison writes superheroes as larger than life, unchained from the growing trend of pulling down our high-flying superheroes into the mud. something the book slyly comments on. Black Superman from Earth-23, Aquawoman from Earth-11, even Captain Carrot, they've all got one job to do, which is to save the multiverse, and it's refreshing to watch them try to do just that. Ivan Reis steps up with no-frills comic book art that serve the story being told quite well. And while it's all pretty tame right now, I'm excited to see how Reis translates Morrison's crazier ideas on paper in the succeeding issues.

I do concede however that Multiversity #1 is jarring in some parts, as Morrison piles on concept after concept after obscure character in a way that could leave the unprepared in the dust. If you're don't know your Earth-7s from your Earth-23s, you'll probably feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of unfamiliar characters coming at you from all directions. Thankfully, Morrison operates on a pretty fast clip, presenting these obscure heroes and villains in bite-sized chunks and moving on just as quickly, letting you sink your teeth into the meatier parts with nary a skipped beat.

It's safe to say I haven't ready anything quite like Multiversity #1.Despite the meta-commentary and deep themes, it doesn't pretend to be anything more than a fun yet fascinating superhero comic book. This gets a 4.5 out of 5. Pick this comic up on sight. We might not get this kind of comic book again.

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