This issue of Multiversity takes a bit from Grant Morrison’s own creation Zenith, and Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son, and bizarrely it sort of works because Morrison manages to spin this issue out well as opposed to the self-indulgent twaddle of last issues Guidebook. It helps that there’s only the one artist this issue, and that artist is Jim Lee, someone I’ve had a love/hate relationship with his work since his early days but here turns out good solid superhero comics.
The story revolves round Hitler finding baby Kal-El (Superman) in Nazi Germany and raising him to be a Nazi hero, rather than an All-American one after seeing an American comic book and being inspired by it in a scene that is no way ‘inspired’ by Alan Moore’s Marvelman.
Thanks to having a Nazi Superman, Hitler manages to conquer the United States, but this new Nazi empire and Overman isn’t without it’s resistance that manages on the next 60 years to land blows upon Overman and his fellow Nazi superheroes.
That’s from a dream sequence but it’s still fun to see Morrison and Lee riffing on that old cliched comic pose. So on this Earth there’s an evil Nazi Batman, Flash and an entire Justice League that fight for the Nazi cause against Uncle Sam and his Freedom Fighters, yet this Overman has feelings of guilt about the Nazi Final Solution.
What follows is the best issue of this series so far apart from the Captain Marvel issue. The main reason this is actually good is that like the Captain Marvel issue, Morrison sticks to telling a story and telling it well, while only nudging along the main storyline slightly. It also features the Human Bomb, and old 1940’s hero I’ve loved ever since seeing him in an old Len Wein issue of the JLA back in the 1970’s.
This is a fine superhero comic that does borrow from others but thanks to Morrison having the story crack on at a ridiculously fast pace, and Lee’s solid (though at times his characters are ridiculously proportioned) art it manages to be a standout issue in a average series. My problem is with the entire series is that it’s not a sum of it’s parts but is instead a patchy, often overly pandering to continuity, and sometimes just badly written but this issue isn’t and deserves a look.