Thoughts about The Multiversity #1, Society of Super Heroes, The Just, Pax Americana, Thunderworld Adventures, Guidebook, Mastermen and Ultra Comics.
Grant Morrison’s Multiversity which seems to have went on for as long as this election campaign finally comes to a close. This has been a tour round DC’s new multiverse and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster with some issues being excellent (the Captain Marvel issue) and some being dismal (the Watchmen ”homage” is pretty dreadful) but it’s been an interesting sight to see Morrison plug on with something that is essentially aimed at the hardcore DC Universe fan.
This has been an excuse for Morrison to dig up, even revamp old ideas from not only DC, but ones from himself like this version of John Constantine from his Doom Patrol run in the 1990’s.
This issue does start tying up previous threads, so the Marvel Family’s attack on the base of the multiple Dr. Sivana’s follows on and we see the surviving Sirvana’s escape to the Old West world of the Justice League of Earth 18 not to mention we see the crisis break out across every world in DC’s multiverse.
Seeing as this year is the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths this is trying to reference that series, but that was a series that genuinely was original as that sort of massive company wide crossover hadn’t really happened before, not to mention all the characters were ones we’d all got used to. Even the more obscure ones. This just feels like Morrison ensuring DC’s intellectual property is sheered up and as much as he tries to impose a sense that there’s something deeper going on via his usual meta commentary, it really feels like corporate comics writ large.
Essentially this is the story of superheroes from different worlds teaming up to fight The Gentry, a typically Morrisonesque threat that draws upon Lovecraft, not to mention the original Crisis of 30 years ago.
There’s a huge fight scene where Captain Carrot is beheaded. Really.
I dread to think how creators Scott Shaw and Roy Thomas take this. OK, Captain Carrot doesn’t die (he is a funny animal after all) but it’s depressing that a fun character is being dragged into DC’s obsession with gore and especially decapitations.
The fight progresses with meta references flying as fast as punches but there’s a curious lack of whether I actually care about these characters, I really don’t that much, plus this all reads a bit like fan fiction but then again most superhero comics these days read like fan fiction. Morrison for all his recent flaws still turns out a good story and this is ok, but it’s empty. I don’t feel anything when reading this apart from seeing the gaps between the big set pieces and the feeling that there’s something missing from it all.
I have mentioned previously that Morrison’s decade plus embedded in superhero comics hasn’t always produced good end product, and this sums it all up really. It’s the meta picture of Morrison’s career in the 21st century. The odd high, some average stories, the odd clunker and influences drawn from the Silver Age to Alan Moore all thrown in for all to see. I just wish we’d see Morrison out of his comfort zone to do something new and different as it seems like a long, long time he’s tried to do that.