THE MULTIVERSITY 1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ivan Reis
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)
I have waited five years for MULTIVERSITY. I feel as though my dreams of what this title would be though, are a far cry from what it is in this iteration, but I hold strong promise for what it could become. It’s not that MULTIVERSITY is bad, it’s just starkly reminiscent of this:
An Ode to FINAL CRISIS 1-28-09
God bullets fired from the gun of Kirby shatter the illusions of shackling continuity for a new dawn of infinite confusion.
Darkened calculus suffocates hope; Salvation in face painting gives purpose To elementary school art teachers at last.
Horsedogs ride the night, Their battle armor under a red son,
A crimson beacon to warn the talking kitty cats That cough hair balls of justice.
Boobies and boots, A Marvel versus an El. If only they didn’t fly, Then Jello their battle would be bathed in.
The Rubik’s Cube of discord realigns the trinity And bleeds through the parallel universe lava lamp.
The death of the Bat, Resurrection by a naked aborigine.
The Monitor’s world goes white, All hail the 5th world. I think!?%
My pea size brain can comprehend concepts of math that destroys or grants life. I can also even understand and honestly truly appreciate Sci-Fi Silver Age goodies like spaceships made of frozen music powered by harmonic drives. If this was all the 5th age were, and I still had the option of 52 x 52 Elseworld story writers crafted by more grounded writers, all would be grand.
The 5th age though seems to be the final shattering of the 4th wall. Like the powers wikis and social media gave the common man’s voice on the media waves, MULTIVERSITY is saying WE, you and I, the readers are now literally part of this world beyond just our imaginations.
Why? Kurt Busiek pulled a similar trick recently within the pages of his ASTRO CITY relaunch as well. But Kurt has always played that line, and more broadly not once have his books been heralded as the salvation of an entire comic line. I find it interesting though that this is the evolution towards the definition of our next comic epoch. If you thought the Dark Age of 1986-2000 shattered the illusion of comic hero infallibility, I’ll tell you now the kimono was only open just enough to see the tip folks. MULTIVERSITY says there is no longer any veil, that we are one with fiction.
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???????
After reading MULTIVERSITY last night I have since: helped our APAC office build a powerpoint deck for a CIO conference in a few weeks, walked my dog, sang some “once more with feeling” with one of the neighborhood kids while they petted my dog, listened to my Father tell a fascinating story about the hunt for a beaver in their retirement community and finally banged out a review in a meeting where I shouldbe looking at % marks on the screen. I’M NOT IN THE COMIC BOOK. MY LIFE HASN’T CHANGED. LIES!!!!
It’s a cute concept in theory and I’m fine with it being a fun facet for the three year olds clamoring to read Morrison books, but this is the crux of a story that has been touted as salvation twice now. After I saw the grand and glorious multiverse map big bang out of San Diego, I honestly was waiting to see MULTIVERSITY come in and devour the New 52. However, with this clear direction of talking directly to me through the pages, I beg that my predictions never become reality. I don’t understand the shame in simply telling some cool freaking Elseworld stories where Superman is a rabbit or Aquaman has boobs.
The MULTIVERSITY plot is quite simple; this is the forming of JUSTICE LEAGUE E. The Earth 23 Baraqaman, a character named Thunder from Earth 8, a Flash here, and an Aqualady there, you have a team that’s ready to go off and fight the threat of the last Monitor (remember the days of Pre-52 when the Monitors were reborn, then died, but formed 52 worlds, earth, universes that we only saw like three of over the past five years. Sweet Judas’ nuts I just lost my train of thought). These are the story elements I find alluring. I was delighted watching President Supes drive the JLE’s Frozen Music ship to see where a small knowledge of jazz will take them. Hell I even liked Captain Carrot whose universe is all cartoon physics based, and Dino-Cop, the character I’m sure Eric Larsen will file a lawsuit over. I am even on board with the fact that each character is a comic book piece of fiction on the worlds of their fellow team members.
Given this strong foundation, given the fact Elseworld fangeezers like me will buy the 52×52 titles DC can pump out (not even counting the stories that could take place in The Bleed and other ethers of the grand cosmic map), why the sweet hell was there this need to destroy what is supposed to be escapism by drawing us back in?
MULTIVERSITY holds such promise, but this issue promised me last night I would wake up in some grand adventure beyond my imagination and instead I simply woke up to the same grand adventure I live every day. Perhaps I am not seeing the grand plan here, but I also don’t need one if the goddamn story didn’t insist it would be there.
Unless Morrison has a way of unleashing the forces of Brainiac on the world this Christmas, I am casting aside about 15% of MULTIVERSITY 1 from my brain juice because I read comics to escape the doldrums, not be told that my doldrums are going to be saved by a group of heroes we all know will never literally come.
To keep getting my dollars MULTIVERSITY, I need a lot less talking to me and much more Elseworlds entertainment.
God bullets fired from the gun of Kirby shatter the illusions of shackling continuity for a new dawn of infinite confusion.
Darkened calculus suffocates hope;
Salvation in face painting gives purpose
To elementary school art teachers at last.
Horsedogs ride the night,
Their battle armor under a red son,
A crimson beacon to warn the talking kitty cats
That cough hair balls of justice.
Boobies and boots,
A Marvel versus an El.
If only they didn’t fly,
Then Jello their battle would be bathed in.
The Rubik’s Cube of discord realigns the trinity
And bleeds through the parallel universe lava lamp.
The death of the Bat,
Resurrection by a naked aborigine.
The Monitor’s world goes white,
All hail the 5th world. I think!?%
The view from 2012: I was right – BOOYA!
FINAL CRISIS: MOAN OF ARC
By Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche Ain’t It Cool News)
FINAL CRISIS is inflaming the ire of comic fans from both the pro and con sides of the fence. The pro side bandies about phrases like “you just don’t get it” or “viva la Kirby.” Conversely the people that are less enamored with this title incessantly whine about inaccessibility, lack of action and how hard it is being a stupid comic fan when trying to digest the genius of Morrison. However one resounding comment that seems to unite these battling voices is “It’s Grant Morrison, it will pay off in the end.”
Perhaps this is true. Perhaps issue seven will serve as the series’ Rosetta Stone, clearing all confusion and allowing us to traverse the earlier issues of the series with more clarity and thus far more appreciation for what was once underappreciated or completely unappreciated. But is this the way things should be? Should all series be critiqued with the sum outweighing the parts? As reviewers should we wait until the end of a series before passing absolute judgment? Well, as a reviewer I will emphatically say, “Absofuckinglutely not!” And here’s why…
First there is the simple element of good storytelling. All stories should have a beginning, middle and an end, or if we want to get all highfalutin they should follow Freytag’s Pyramid of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement Unfortunately in our new world of writing for Trade Paper Backs we are treated to several issues of exposition, one issue of rising action, a few issue of climax, one-and-a-half issues of falling action and a page or two of denouement This is all well and good when reading the TPB version of a series, but it’s hard to argue that the monthlies become a wasteland of simple incomplete story telling. There is a distinct difference between a cliffhanger and outright poor construction of a tale. By allowing this to happen it is essentially telling the monthly reader to take a flying fuck and just read everything nine, ten, eleven or fifty weeks after it has been released.
There was a time when comics were cheaper, yet seemed to offer more bang for the buck. I’m not pining for this forgotten era because it occurred well before Optimous sprung from his Mother’s loins. During this Paleolithic era, giant-size comic issues walked the earth and for a quarter or less you received not only a complete story, but at times two or three complete stories. Hell, even in today’s diminishing paged comics, some creators are able to offer a complete story in each issue of a series while still enticing the reader with cliffhangers. In my @$$holey opinion these are the singular issues that should be adorned with praise. And yes, we should hold incomplete and incomprehensible single issues accountable for their lackluster performance despite their cohesion when all is said and done. Until the day comes when we start paying a cut price for incomplete single issues, I will hold each 3, 4, or 5 dollar purchase accountable on its own merit. For as long as monthlies are distributed as fans we should expect, no, strike that, we should demand no less.
I’m not trying to make Morrison the poster boy for my rage, because there are certainly other creators guilty of dribbling out storylines like a clogged faucet. No, I think the blame falls squarely on the double dipping nature of comic publishers. Do we end the monthly? Perhaps, but it would be a damn shame to punish the writers that can still work within the monthly publishing model. Plus, ending monthlies at this time would cause a financial draught that I think few publishers could weather until they have enough of a backlog to churn out Trades at an equal rate. What I propose is a return to the now fossilized giant size issues. I would have loved to see FINAL CRISIS or 1985 come out as two giant sized issues rather than a seven month string along. As a reviewer I would also have been far more kind to a single king-size issue that compiles the exposition, rising action and first part of the climax in one tidy tome, rather than getting cock teased month after month.
The view from 2012: This wasn’t my review, but I am quoted as saying how little this event changed the DC Universe. Ohhh how wrong I was – this made continuity such a mess that New 52 was a necessity.
FINAL CRISIS #4 (of 7)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino
Published by: DC Comics
Reviewed by: BottleImp(with lotsa help from the rest of the @$$Holes)
“I have been reading all of the ancillary titles for FC and guess what? You don’t fucking need to. Just like we didn’t need to read 52 or COUNTDOWN or any of the muppet baby crises that we were told we had to read. Here’s FINAL CRISIS in a nutshell. The big three get sidelined. Darkseid first gets his ass kicked by Orion, becomes a nightclub owner and then broadcasts the anti-life equation. Libra was important, now I can’t find him or what he’s up to. Barry Allen returns to a world ruled by the broadcast anti-life equation. Yes, we waited this long for fucking algebra.” -Optimous Douche
“Yeah, FINAL CRISIS and DC in general is a mess. None of the titles reflect any of these big changes going on. Wonder Woman is a she-dog in FC, but fighting Beowulf in her own title. Barbara coming out to the Tattooed Man? Lower level crook or not, she would not just be out in the open like that. And what about Ollie introducing basically all of the Flash’s family to the same criminal? Because it worked so well in IDENTITY CRISIS when criminals knew about the family of heroes. On top of that, we’ve got too much unexplained shit going on. Morrison is flitting around from Turpin to Tattooed Man to Ollie to Mister Miracle. No real cohesion. No care that the reader may not know these people. And the rest of DC is just suffering for it. They are cowering in fear that because of the negative feedback they received when the New Gods dies three times last year, they are telling stories that don’t relate to this supposedly giant crisis. Why do we need a FINAL CRISIS tie in focusing on Geo Force or Black Lightning?” -Ambush Bug
“The irony for me is while you say why do we need a Geo Force/Black Lightening tie in, I actually found that aside more compelling than the main title, which I find sort of hard to get into. In fact I think most of the side light books are tons better than the main attraction.”-Jinxo
“It just looks like DC doesn’t have a plan here. And can’t have a plan, because Morrison doesn’t have a plan. He may have one, but he’s not telling anyone. That’s why none of the main titles are referencing FINAL CRISIS and that’s why the ties the other BATMAN books have with RIP don’t go past the extent of “I don’t want to talk about the Batman thing right now.” To DC, that’s a crossover mention that is worth putting a RIP banner across the cover. I call bullshit. DC needs to learn that you can’t make a stable table with one or two legs. When that one leg fails to support the rest, the table topples over. That’s what’s happening with DC.”-Bug
“Come up with something original. Calling Morrison’s book FINAL CRISIS is a laugh. What will be the “final” outcome of this? I can’t see it. There’s no way they are going to allow the entire DCU to be a dark cesspool. INFINITE CRISIS irrevocably changed things, this book will not. I’m not hating it, and I like to see the little guy shine, but you could have just as easily called the thing Darkseid’s Revenge or something….”-OD
The preceding quotes were taken from @$$Hole email exchanges. Are you reading this, DC editorial staff? Do you see the problems that keep cropping up in regards to this “major event” book? ‘Cause even though the plot itself isn’t bad—always interesting to see heroes up against seemingly insurmountable odds—this title isn’t living up to the hype surrounding it. Events in FC have no bearing on the vast majority of DC’s comic titles…why should the reader be concerned about a character–say, Superman–when it is made perfectly clear in the three Superman family titles that he’s doing just dandy off on his own little adventure?
It’s this lack of cohesion that really kills this miniseries. No matter what good things may come out of it (personally, I find Morrison’s explanation of Kirby’s mysterious “Anti-Life Equation” to be fairly interesting, and at least makes it clear why Darkseid’s spent so much time looking for the darn thing), FC is doomed by poor planning and false advertising. As Optimous Douche wrote, FC is not the be-all, end-all of the DC Universe. It’s not going to change anything. Just take it for what it is—an overblown miniseries that’s been stretched over far too much time and far too many ancillary titles, and a story that is nowhere near as compelling as Dan DiDio or Grant Morrison would like us to believe.
Also, Kalibak now looks like a grumpy version of Mr. Tawny, the Talking Tiger. What the fuck is that about?