THE MULTIVERSITY: Society of Super-Heroes- Conquerors of the Counter-World #1, written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Chris Sprouse, inked by Karl Story and Walden Wong, colors by Dave McCaig.
Fun. It’s a simple word, but so many times in life there just isn’t enough of it. I guarantee there’s plenty in this the second installment of Grant Morrison’s long-awaited Multiversity. From a Doc Savage inspired Doc Fate, to a whole team of Lady Blackhawks, this book does not disappoint. The title says it all. This is a pulp inspired team of adventurers who have banded together to face the threat of invasion from a parallel world.
Set in the larger context of The Multiversity, the previous chapter is by no means requisite to enjoy this book. The characters are all brand new and Morrison makes it easy to get acquainted. However, they are all somewhat familiar if you have some knowledge of DC Comics’ storied history. The juxtaposition of the pulp motifs, familiar but new characters and a fast-moving plot go a long way in supplying the Fun.
Like pulp ad copy would have read this issue has thrills, chills, action and danger. The S.O.S (Society of Super-Heroes) face an immortal villain and a villainous mage on their way to a resolution that lands them squarely in the mix of the threat from last month’s The Multiversity #1. But it isn’t easy for these heroes, in what seems to be victory, there is a twist that connects with this earth’s analog to Nix Uotan- last month’s protagonist.
The sheer number of concepts contained in this issue is staggering. Morrison handles them deftly though and the reader does not feel overwhelmed or even slightly lost. There is a whole world here, maybe two that could be the basis for a whole line of books. Morrison makes it that interesting and makes it seem easy. Chris Sprouse’s art fits nicely within the context of the story. I think this is one of the keys to keeping the sheer amount of information in the issue digestible. He never lets the reader get lost and keeps things to big ideas so that the story moves along. I think the highlight of the art is Dave McCaig’s color palate. It’s muted and earthy and evokes that pulpy feel. Bright reds are used sparingly but to great effect to draw attention to something important or specific.
Perhaps the only negative in this book is the sense that it doesn’t move the overall plot of The Multiversity forward. This may be disappointing to some who are hoping for a more straightforward title. It also is slightly concerning to think that this may be a one-off appearance of these characters. If it is then it will have seemed like a waste to have brought them to life for only The Multiversity.
A fun issue that chips away at the surface of the potential of the parallel earth concept. I think it has something for almost everyone. Even if you don’t care about the whole of The Multiversity the characters are interesting, engaging and moving along in a quick paced plot that will entertain. In that sense it can stand on its own much like an old EC science fiction story stands on its own. Make it 4 and 1/2 Daily Planets.