Multiversity comes to its penultimate issue and it makes us, the readers, part of the story from the off.
Right away Morrison attempts to draw the reader in and make them culpable for the events within it, but this is hardly something new as Morrison is really taking this from the Flash stories of Gardner Fox and Julie Schwartz from the 1950’s and 1960’s. This though is the ‘haunted comic’ that’s popped up in most issues of this series, and that by reading it to the end the reader is going to unleash something terrible upon our universe.
The idea is that Ultra Comics is alive. the very comic we’re reading is sentient so it reacts to the reader. This allows Morrison to get more meta than he’s even been before as he makes a few comments about superhero comics or every era.
We’re also warned at regular intervals that we can stop reading, to turn back and to leave this comic alone, which really is lifted from Fox and Schwartz but there’s a slight difference in tone.
Morrison has the reader connect directly with Ultra that allows him to fire out some comments you’d expect to hear bloggers like myself say (and indeed, have said) about Morrison’s work, not to mention superhero comics in general.
Ultra Comics is an interesting experiment that on one hand is the most interesting issue of Multiversity so far but there’s little bitter barbs that are perhaps more than just Morrison trying to have a living comic that’s reactive to the thoughts of the readers. There’s an oddly bitter tone Morrison takes that isn’t just about the story but a reaction to the criticism he’s taken over much of the last decade or so. This is what makes this an odd read as Morrison is trying to do something different here in the entire narrative structure of this comic, but I can’t help feeling this is letting him preempt a certain amount of criticism before it’s even been made. As said, it’s interesting but doesn’t always convince. The art by Doug Manhnke is good but fairly unspectacular.
With one issue left to go Morrison has to wrap everything up. It’s not that Multiversity hasn’t worked as this issue fills in the gaps that makes previous issue work better in the context of the larger series, but it’s been a series that’s never fully convinced although its worked hard to make it work. Perhaps if Morrison is going to crack on doing superheroes in the future he should so a simple adventure story just to shut his critics up?