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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 – Suckers!

 
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Overview
 

Story by: Grant Morrison
 
Art by: Doug Mahnke
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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Raves


Better than The Multiversity: The Mastermen; Almost all elements associated with Grant Morrison are here; Doug Mahnke’s crisp, minute-detailed artistry

Rants


One of the great artistic collaborations in comics yet A fitting penultimate chapter Negatives Grant Morrison’s style of meta-narrative may turn-off some casual comic readers; Prior knowledge of Grant’s writings, like Final Crisis


To sum it all up..

Grant Morrison continues to dazzle (and bewildered) fans and critics alike in his latest magnum opus The Multiversity. We are now entering to the endgame of his far-reaching breaking the fourth-wall in the DC Universe with his penultimate chapter The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1. Together with Doug Mahnke and a plethora of talented artists to […]

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Posted April 13, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

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Grant Morrison continues to dazzle (and bewildered) fans and critics alike in his latest magnum opus The Multiversity. We are now entering to the endgame of his far-reaching breaking the fourth-wall in the DC Universe with his penultimate chapter The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1. Together with Doug Mahnke and a plethora of talented artists to fulfill and encapsulate Morrison’s ambitious sequel of the Final Crisis event, it now focuses in Earth 33, or Earth-Prime.

[CHECK OUT… COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The Multiversity: Mastermen #1 is the weakest link]

Unlike last chapter, The Mastermen, Ultra Comics has virtually all the elements that are synonymous with the Rock God of Comics. First, it starts with the end, or the story is written in cyclical fashion. I personally needed to read this thirty-eight page opus twice to get the details a bit accurate. Speaking of details, this issue litters a lot of Easter eggs or minute details that demand closer scrutiny, particularly past references of comic book lore/mainstream comics. Third, the cliché may be obvious, but this is an above-average or genius level comics. Apologies to casual comic readers here, but images alone are insufficient to comprehend this complicated tale of entrapment. If criticisms are one of Grant’s cups of tea, then I feel that this one is a critique on another influential superhero comic that his eternal rival greatly influenced in the 80’s. Feel free to interpret that one. And as always, Morrison treats us once again the interaction that greatly missed in The Mastermen. Virtually every page is a direct communication/exchange between the main comic characters and the readers themselves. Words of warnings are just used as red herrings, but a surefire appetizer for the buildup of suspense, anxiety and tension that ultimately gives way to the mind-boggling climatic/concluding chapter, if that’s the prognosis I speculate right now. But in the mind of the great shaman of comics, always expect the unexpected!

Case in point here is the term “trap” is basically littered in this issue. The word is deceptively simple and straightforward. Yet, Grant twists it a couple of more twists that define what it signifies the signifiers of the overall concept of ULTRA, another catchy, popular yet overused term. Indeed, this person/object personifies/objectifies the essence of the Superman that we supposedly know in our pop culture-mainstream comic realm. True, that main protagonist is the mirror-image of the Man of Steel even though he is still an “it”—a human’s greatest creation/destruction (upon revealing another twisted version moreover). This issue alone is another case study of the continuing relevance of the deconstructive nature of the dichotomy of parallel versions and ultimately, interactions themselves.

As stated earlier, Dough Mahnke does an excellent task of carefully crafting the New York-centric Earth-Prime version and the interesting twisted version of the Justice League and the “heroic” group of children. The characters’ facial expressions are downright creepy, goofy, and ultra realistic, but nevertheless consistent that never fails to convey various emotional depths Mahnke masters in his collaborative team-ups with Grant. In addition, Dough’s clean and proportional illustrations are a study of minimalist approach even many panels possess minute detailed items that are integral to the overall picture. To complement Dough’s superb artistic touches, a large cast of inkers and a colorist do their designated responsibilities with precise coordination to amplify both the artist’s interpretative vision of the writer’s near grandeur zeitgeist of that universe. To make things more accessible, the colors are clearly defined to contrast the past and the present situations, even so the dialogues that are vitally significant in Grant’s postmodern literary take. Speaking of whom, Steve Wands does a herculean job of capturing the essence of the characters’ points-of-view in his own lettering perspective that defines the intensity and grace of the main protagonist and the antagonists as well. Thus, this issue alone shows one of the best artistic synchronization in mainstream comics yet!

However, whatever the strengths present here are less than more the weaknesses. This is definitely a Grant Morrison book, so expect anything Morrison-esque style of narrative. And, there is a need of reviewing or reminiscing Grant’s dark comic saga, The Final Crisis and other tie-ins of the said mainstream comic event (particularly Batman: RIP). It is an exercise of intellectual commitment to reap the full benefits of connecting the dots altogether.

Even so, this is an excellent way of approaching a climatic finale. Many “second-to-the-last” issues either deliver the necessary steps of grabbing the readers to their throats to read the ultimate chapter or fail to sustain the momentum by making it predictable and a frustrating read. The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 does the first criteria and Grant Morrison et al certainly hooks us towards the climatic exclamation mark in the ending next month.

 


Paul Ramos

 


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