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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: The Multiversity Deluxe Edition



Story by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, Chris Sprouse, Ben Oliver, Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, Jim Lee, Doug Mahnke, Marcus To, Paulo Siqueira and others
4/ 5

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To sum it all up..

THUS SPAKE, GRANT MORRISON Grant Morrison continues to either regal or infuriate comic book reader due to his radical or postmodern way of narrating stories only he can do so. As polarizing as his perspective can be, it is an undeniable fact that his superhero and other independent comics are mostly revolutionary to the point […]

Posted October 21, 2015 by




Grant Morrison continues to either regal or infuriate comic book reader due to his radical or postmodern way of narrating stories only he can do so. As polarizing as his perspective can be, it is an undeniable fact that his superhero and other independent comics are mostly revolutionary to the point he is often cited by the comic establishment as one of the best or the greatest comic book writers ever. Just like in 2014 alone, he unleashed what supposed to his magnum opus of the superhero genre narrative, The Multiversity. Due to his consistent continuing re-imagining, re-metamorphosing and reconfiguration of the DC Multiverse, as well as his brand of non-linear, cyclical storytelling, meta-allegorical interpretations of the superhero and pop culture realms, and the subliminal body-shots on the well-established comic book and the deconstruction of some of his, well, professional rivals, he and his works were celebrated, praised and toasted to new heights. Ultimately, the Scottish comic-savant and his opus were nominated for a number of categories in the 2015 Eisner’s that literally put DC Comics as one of the forefronts in the comic industry. Some of the nominations were BEST WRITER (Grant Morrison, naturally), BEST ARTIST (fellow Scot – Frank Quitely), and BEST SINGLE ISSUE (their collaboration, THE MULTIVERSITY: PAX AMERICANA). Yes, this mini-event ended a few months ago, but shockingly neither Grant nor his magnum opus received a single Eisner’s ever. Nonetheless, The Multiversity as a whole should possibly transcend the comic medium itself, for better or for worse, your take.

DC Comics releases the beautiful deluxe hardcover edition of the same title. It has the complete titles that constitutes the entire series, including The Multiversity #1-2, Multiversity: Guidebook, Multiversity: Ultra Comics, The Mutiversity: The Master Men and of course, The Multiversity: Pax Americana; containing 448 pages and also featuring all the variant cover arts of each issue, including the hard-to-find Grant Morrison’s various art sketches and thumbnails, and his other characters’ designs and specifications. The Multiversity is the legitimate spiritual sequel to his previous mega-comic event, the equally polarizing The Final Crisis”, but unlike the admittedly as hellish as the depths of Apokalips and Hell combined, The Multiversity is generally a very fun, intelligent, inspiring, and more thought-provoking read since his love-letter to anything Golden and Silver Age comics, All-Star Superman. Furthermore, the artists involved here are some of the finest and well-respected illustrators who are also have a share of passion in comics and with the writer himself, namely, Chris Sprouse, Chris Burnham, Ivan Reis, Gene Ha, Ethan Sciver, and even DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee. So, aside from the fans of Grant Morrison, who would ignore this deluxe hardcover treatment at all?

The overall plot of this mega-event picked up where The Final Crisis left out and explored in virtually all of the 52 DC parallel universes, which readers see different versions of their traditional DC Trinity (namely, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), and even other DC-owned superhero properties, including the adorable Captain Carrot, Captain Marvel, and even the Charlton characters, such as Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and The Question (the comic book basis of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s The Watchmen). Unlike many narratives, Grant Morrison utilized the “breaking the fourth wall” trope that every chapter presented an innovative interaction between superheroes and the readers themselves. The best line that both teased or tantalized readers is the negative phrase, “DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!” warning signal. Once you either take that challenge or otherwise, then you are going deeper than the proverbial rabbit’s hole. Indeed, comic books and other superhero comic references served as the vital keys, most particularly the former, in tracking and solving the mystery behind the supposed distortion and annihilation of the fragile Multiverse. Each chapter can be read autonomously, if not entirely independently, but just the same, the paradox here is so glaringly obvious, each of them connects one way to another. Thus, this edition itself is designed to be read carefully, never to be rushed in order to intellectually benefit the joys of comprehending the Scot’s meta-messages.

Sure, The Multiversity has its shares of supposed inherent Kryptonite despite the hallelujahs it received then and now.  Primarily speaking, there are comic book readers who still subscribe, embrace, favor, uphold, and read the narrative form as basically or traditionally as possible. Grant Morrison’s style of writing is indeed groundbreaking; but not everybody wholeheartedly agree with his brand of storytelling at all. Some Morrison readers prepare writing materials and carefully take down notes on the numerous Easter eggs he and his designated illustrators littered practically every chapter. Many conservative and/or old-schooled readers read comics for entertainment or pleasure’s sake, not ending up writing a serious paper or the likes. Secondly, non-linear and the fourth-wall treatments may or can turn-off some modern readers since the writer loves these writing approaches; and he applies these to convey the “meta”-messages beyond symbolisms, ironies, paradoxes, and subtle, if not subliminal, criticisms on the so-called “well-loved” or “critically-acclaimed” opuses. Many comic readers are either Mark Millar or Alan Moore fans or at least admirers, whose works like Superman: Red Son and The Watchmen, respectively, are still praised as either “seminal” or outright “classics”. Naïve readers may have skipped the Scottish writer’s jabs on Pax Americana (on Alan Moore) and The Master Men (on his former protégée Mark Millar) but for the long-time, jaded and knowledgeable comic readers, they are fully aware of these critical pokes (seriously, why do we think he has yet to win the Eisner’s “Best Writer” category, the same place Alan Moore won several times, ever?) Additionally, as usual in most DC published deluxe editions; the binding is still glued in the most part, making reading this mind-bending masterpiece a challenge unless holding a few or so pages. And lastly, why there are very few anecdotes at all? This hardcover edition may have the Guidebook or the map of the DC Multiverse but that is still insufficient enough. The work itself is a complex and cerebral piece of visual literature that definitely result to multiple and conflicting interpretations. Similar to Absolute All-Star Superman edition that has at least notes and explanations, why the people behind the DC Publishing fail to do so with this deluxe edition? (Perhaps, this may solve if ever an Absolute version will come up sooner or later—HOPEFULLY).

Nevertheless, The Multiversity Deluxe Edition showcases some of the finest storytelling Grant Morrison ever executed, including many of the excellent illustrations his artistic collaborators ever performed in their careers as well. Not only this mega-event transcends the way of narrating superhero comics which the Scottish mind can only think of, but how some of the writing techniques are transformed to the different level that can be unmatched for the many years (and generations) to come. Grant also introduced new characters and even conceptualized/visualized/re-imagined the entire map of the DC Multiverse, and even left writers and illustrators future stories and possible (if not outrageous) plots to explore further, cementing his already illustrious legacies in the visual literature. There are both serious points and/or mere asterisks in his current magnum opus, so to speak. But that’s beside the overall point for The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is a revolutionary equation for the ever expanding experimentation of comics, particularly the superhero genre, from the so-called ‘the High Shaman of Comics’.

Paul Ramos



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