The Multiversity is a story told in 9 issues consisting of 6 one-shots, 2 bookends, and a guidebook. It’s about a race of interdimensional parasites trying to take over the DC Multiverse by infecting the minds of its denizens through haunted superhero comic books. Of course it’s written by Grant Morrison. Here’s my review.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Walden Wong, Ben Oliver, Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, Marcus To, Paulo Siqueira, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Jonathan Glapion, Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Jaime Mendoza, Eber Ferreira
The concept of the multiverse, for better or worse, has been integral to DC Comics’ storytelling throughout the decades. All types of crises have collapsed, rebirthed, and fundamentally changed how multiple universes interact with each other. It can be quite confusing. Sometimes, it can be confusing and good.
The Multiversity is one such good execution of the multiverse concept. It doesn’t just feature lesser-known alternative Earths, but it gives the DC Multiverse much needed form and structure.
Cosmic Neighborhood Watch
The two issues that bookend The Multiversity is a wild two-part story about a bunch of superheroes plucked from multiple realities to fight the threat of The Gentry.
This multiversal Justice League of sorts is almost too overwhelming as familiar versions of popular heroes mingle with obscure characters from DC’s long history. This cast of dozens even includes analogs of Marvel characters like the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man.
The value of The Multiversity #1 and #2 falls mostly on its function to make sense of the larger story. For anyone who is not a fan of Morrison’s sometimes incoherent high-concept shenanigans, this could be a chore to read. But if you have a fundamental understanding of DC Comics, you might have a lot of fun.
There’s Something In Here With Us
Each of the 6 one-shots, plus the guidebook, feature stories that have different characters from different worlds, each told in a different way than the others.
We have pulp world war-era heroes fighting an assortment of DC villains and monsters in The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World. There’s a bunch of bored young superheroes just trying to amuse themselves with parties and social media in The Just. Charlton characters as a throwback to Watchmen — which is based on Charlton characters — in Pax Americana. A fun Captain Marvel (not that one) family superhero story in Thunderworld Adventures. A grim and gritty look into a world where Superman was raised by Hitler, drawn by Jim Lee, in Mastermen.
And then there’s Ultra Comics, the haunted and cursed comic book. It’s a comic book issue that is also a major plot device in The Multiversity. It’s ridiculously meta. More importantly, it works. Morrison manages to make the reader scared of actually turning the page because you’ll never know what you might let into your head.
If your imagination is wild enough, reading Ultra Comics might make you question reality. It might make you feel unsafe inside your own mind. The villains of the story aren’t just threatening the DC multiverse. They’re also threatening you, the reader.
Grant Morrison running wild on alternate realities is something that can become an unreadable mess, but that’s not the case here. The Multiversity can be too meta and crazy at times, but for the most part, it is coherent even with the weirdest ideas crashing into each other.
The army of amazing artists is a great complement to the dizzying plot and strange words. Ivan Reis brings big crossover event feels to the bookend issues. Frank Quitely’s panels on Pax Americana is rigid, calculated, and beautiful. Cameron Stewart makes the old-fashioned, wholesome, and fun Thunderworld Adventures story a joy to read.
The Multiversity is some of the best comics that came out of the mess that is the DC Multiverse. It deserves to be reread multiple times even though we are never sure about what we’re letting into our heads whenever we do.
It goes into The List as the new #1 and sets a record as our first 5-star rating on Long Box. Hurray, cosmic parasites!
The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is available now wherever fine comic books are sold.