If I’m spending over a fiver on a superhero comic it really, really has to be special, and sadly, the Multiversity: Guidebook is a stew that features some nice meaty chunks but often feels half cooked. It is however a DC Comics continuity freak’s wet dream and that seems to be the entire point of this latest issue of Grant Morrison’s latest superhero epic.
Guidebook is meant to remind older readers of those great 80 or 100 page giants DC used to do in the 1960’s and 1970’s, though as the issue starts off with childlike versions of DC’s superheroes being murdered it’s easy to sneak into a black depression as it seems Morrison is indulging in the boringly bleak ‘dark’ bollocks writers think make their comics ‘adult’.
In these stories Morrison furthers the story of how the Multiversity comic is helping parallel worlds be invaded through the comic itself, and also as the Dr. Sivana’s of various world’s have also realised this, they’ve used these comics to also invade other universes though this hasn’t stopped the Marvel family from finding them or indeed, heroes of other worlds coming together, not to mention the return of the New Gods.
Morrison manages to do a very good history of DC’s multiverse that reminds me of how fund DC were at one point, not to mention that the days of superhero comics throwing around big ideas are now reduced to endless cross-overs and unrelenting sex and violence.
Morrison’s thesis for some years is that our reality is part of a larger one that contains these characters from DC Comics and that Multiversity is part of his plan to make the DC universe live. Much of the issue is also given over to a Who’s Who description of the 52 worlds that make up DC’s multiverse.
In this section Morrison ties up every alternate universe DC (we’re Earth 33) seems to have ever done into a combined, unified multiverse and it’s pure continuity porn.
This is either great fun or overly self indulgent twaddle, and in fact, it’s both.
The story doesn’t need minute details of different worlds to make it work as after all, most readers should be able to follow what is a typical Crisis type storyline spun into a slightly post-modern narrative by Morrison, but this is fun but seems to be there only to keep geeks happy.
There’s a lot though going on in this issue, including the obvious return of Darkseid and red skies on multiple worlds to make it a proper Crisis event. It is however still a patchy affair made not so much confusing but annoying as the guide part of this book is dropped right in the middle of the story and that breaks up the storytelling to cram in lots of continuity. Of course if you’ve picked this up as a fan of Morrison but are unfamiliar with the DC Universe, then you are quite simply going to be utterly and totally lost.
Multiversity isn’t bad. It’s a passable superhero event that’s probably going to be better than Marvel’s Secret Wars, but this isn’t going to change comics, let alone superhero comics. It’s going over old ground as yet another incredible menace threatens the multiverse and only a few heroes can save it! I do wish though that Morrison would stop treading water and actually do something with his obvious talent that isn’t superheroes, or even going over old ideas. I’d love to see him try something new rather than tread old ground.