Another review, much of which I''m in agreement with, says "you''ve never read anything like this". Well, unless you''ve read Grant Morrison before, because arcane entities destroying parallel worlds, the similar-but-differing superheroes who inhabit them, smart...See more
Another review, much of which I''m in agreement with, says "you''ve never read anything like this". Well, unless you''ve read Grant Morrison before, because arcane entities destroying parallel worlds, the similar-but-differing superheroes who inhabit them, smart post-modernist sleight of hand and vague, frustrating plot "resolutions" have been hallmarks of his work since he broke through with 2000 AD''s "Zenith" 30 years ago, and they''re essentially what this is all about too. On a bad day, and he has more of them than his obsessive fans will admit, Morrison is a maddening writer, but he''s on somewhere near top form here. "Multiversity" is an absorbing tale which rings enough fresh changes on his usual tropes to keep you engrossed and entertained until, inevitably, the vague, disappointing denouement. Prior to that we get a tour of some, but not all, of the 52 parallel universes which made up the DC Multiverse at the time this was written. Among other destinations, we find a world of bored, third-generation heroes with nothing to fight who have ended up as self-obsessed reality TV stars, a world which resembles 1930s adventure pulps, a Kirbyverse, a world where the Nazis won (more interesting than that over-used idea might lead you to think), what was once called the Charlton-Earth, and the Fawcett Earth of the original Captain Marvel. All, in different ways, are threatened by some Multiverse-destroying entities. It''s probably not too much of a spoiler to say that, although it''s a close-run thing, it all seems to work out okay in the end. The use of parallel, distinct but interlocking narratives is reminiscent of "Seven Soldiers of Victory", Morrison''s largely unsung masterpiece, though sadly it lacks the (unusually) clear and satisfactory plot resolution which sets "Seven Soldiers" apart from much of his other work. Most of these worlds are fascinating (the reality TV one is hard going, but in a way that''s totally appropriate to the bored, affect-free world it portrays) and Morrison is helped by a good mix of the best of today''s artists who are well-matched to the worlds they portray. Jim Lee''s slightly grim monumentalism is entirely appropriate to the world where then Nazis won. Chris Sprouse has a ball with the pulp adventure, a field in which he has demonstrated fine form in the past. Frank Quitely is perfect for the obsessive, complex formality of the Charlton world, with its nods to the precise Moore and Gibbons'' storytelling in the Charlton-based "Watchmen" (those nods are a bit heavy-handed, but I guess "Watchmen" is the elephant in any room containing a Charlton hero). Best of all is Cameron Stewart''s work on the Captain Marvel story which is the highlight of the whole work. Morrison and Stewart perfectly capture all that''s unique and charming about the Fawcett characters, in a way which is plausible for modern sensibilities but without a note of cynicism or unnecessary "grit". It''s easily the best and truest Captain Marvel since DC re-launched the character in 1973, and yes, I have read and enjoyed Jeff Smith''s "Monster Society of Evil". The success of the Captain Marvel story may be because at his core Morrison is something of a Billy Batson himself and he just GETS the mix of joy, wonder and alogical weirdness that defines the superhero genre. His fannish tendencies also extend to some material here in which he literally maps out the DC Multiverse (even none-further-flung bits like the realms of the Endless from Gaiman''s "Sandman") and offers brief descriptions of some of them. He even tries to shoehorn this into the overall narrative. He doesn''t quite succeed, but cowls aloft for the effort. The package is completed by a collection of variant covers from the original comic mags compiled here, and some preliminary sketches, layouts and design sheets, all of which complement a highly enjoyable story, full of witty incidental detail and clever ideas, and one that''s only denied a fifth star because of the woolly plot resolution. The Captain Marvel story deserves six stars, though. PS It''s unlikely any such creature would even be checking out this item on Amazon, but readers who don''t already have some familiarity with the DC canon in all its diversity will probably find "Multiversity" incomprehensible from the outset.