Review: DC’S VERY MERRY MULTIVERSE #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Paul Scheer, Nick Giovanetti, John Layman, Ivan Cohen, David F. Walker, Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen, Sholly Fisch, Tom Sniegoski, Brittany Holzherr, Jay Baruchel, Tom King
Artists: Steve Lieber, Dani, Eleanora Carlini, Gustavo Duarte, Dustin Nguyen, Vanesa Del Rey, Justin Mason, Todd Nauck, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Scott Koblish
Colours: Marissa Louise, Dani, Ulises Arreola, Marcelo Maiolo, John Kalisz, Tamra Bonvillain, Chris O’Halloran, Hi-Fi, Bryan Valenza
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual, Aditya Bidikar, Becca Carey, Wes Abbott, Travis Lanham, Ferran Delgado, Andworld Design, Rob Steen
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
DC’s Very Merry Multiverse #1: Joy to all 52 worlds-it’s time to celebrate the holiday season across the DC Multiverse! In ten stories that will light your yule log and spike your eggnog, Batman decks the gaslit halls, Lobo goes Old Testament in space, Ragman learns the true meaning of Saturnalia, President Superman attempts to figure out how Bizarro stole Christmas, and Harley Quinn tries her hand at interdimensional caroling. These seasonal sagas are sure to help you have yourself a very merry Multiverse!
DC’s holiday anthology for 2020 adds a multiversal twist. None of the stories, except for possibly Tom King’s Lobo story occur in the main DCU. The framing story featuring Harley Quinn doesn’t even happen in the canon DCU, but in whatever reality that her solo title is set in.
However the Harley story does typically have a delightful helping of ridiculous elements. The story is a spoof of “It’s A Wonderful Life”. However, instead of showing Harley what the world would be like if she hadn’t been born, instead shows her other universes in DC’s Multiverse. And this angel is the late and heretofore unmentioned third Wonder Triplet, Layma.
As is typical with DC’s anthologies, there are a number of creators that are new to DC as well as some well known names such as Tom King. I was especially pleased to see that Todd Nauck contributing the art for the Booster Gold story. His and Peter David’s Young Justice is one of my all-time favourite titles, and I’d love to see as the regular artist on another DC title.
We get a double helping of Bizarro, as he features in two stories – or at least two alternate versions of Bizarro do. He features as the foil for the Earth-23 Superman, Calvin Ellis. In that story, he acts as a Grinch-like figure trying to put a stop to that Earth’s equivalent to Christmas, the “Celebration of Rapport”. The other story, on the other hand features Bizarro trying to teach the joy of giving to the citizens of Earth-29, a.k.a Htrae, or Bizzarro-World. I find it fascinating how wide a range of interpretations different writers can derive from the character of Bizarro. He clearly am not the one-note character he appears to be at first glance.
One story that has gotten a bit of attention is the story set on Earth-11, home of Superwoman and Batwoman and a host of other gender-flipped characters. This story is notable for the introduction of Kid Quick, a non-binary hero. It does make me wonder what the main DCU version of the character would be like. What would a gender-reversed version of a non-binary character be? I would guess that the Earth-0 Kid Quick would likely have the opposite biological sex, yet still look and act identical to the Earth-11 version. But that’s just my guess.
Of the stories in this anthology, the Booster Gold tale set on Earth-22 (the Kingdom Come Earth) is my favourite. The story takes place in Booster’s restaurant Planet Krypton. I love the idea of a theme restaurant based around the DC Universe, with waitstaff dressed as classic DC heroes. I’m also glad that there’s at least one universe where Max Lord is still somewhat a decent guy at heart. And the nod to Booster’s friendship with the late Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, was touching.
I’ve never really much liked the character of Lobo. While Tom King’s story was admittedly better than most Lobo stories, it wasn’t enough to change my mind about the character. And while I understand that the story was intended as a Hanukkah story, the story failed to draw any real connection between Lobo’s action and the accompanying passage from the book of 1 Maccabees. It’s not that the two concurrent stories clashed as much as they seemed totally unrelated to each other.
Perhaps my dislike for the character was preventing me from fully appreciating the story, but whatever King was attempting to do wasn’t coming through to me. However, the Lobo side of the story was probably about as good as it is possible for a Lobo story to be.
DC’s Very Merry Multiverse #1 is another great collection of stories. I look forward to seeing future work from the new creators featured here as well as the more established names. If you want a nice dose of holiday cheer, be sure to check out this issue. It also would make a great gift to give to any budding comic fans on your holiday shopping list.