Review: MULTIVERSITY #1 “Cosmic Neighborhood Watch” | FanboysInc

Review: MULTIVERSITY #1 “Cosmic Neighborhood Watch”

By Jeff Ayers

MULTIVERSITY #1
“Cosmic Neighborhood Watch”

Writer: Grant Morrison

Pencils: Ivan Reis

“Cosmic Neighborhood Watch”

DC Comics October 2014

Way, way back in the ancient year of 2009, Grant Morrison spoke of an idea, one that would map out all the worlds of the DC Universe. Throughout many different titles, readers have gained glimpses into some of these worlds, never knowing exactly what to make of all of them. 52 worlds in all, a comprehensive tour guide had never been attempted. Until now.

Morrison is the mastermind behind iconic story arcs for Batman, Superman, the JLA, and the X-Men, to name just a few. He likes to craft stories that feel huge on the outside, but contained within are well placed ideas and threads that take all of continuity and tie them together in a neat package. (see Final Crisis). So it only made sense when he started talking about a story that would span all 52 worlds, and how he would tie that into the larger ethos of DC Comics. This monumental first issue, MULTIVERSITY #1, takes a sharp turn from everything a reader might know, or think they might know, about the DC Universe.

*author’s note: Now, faithful reader, don’t get mad, but I am a Marvel guy. The bulk of comics I collect reside in the ‘other’ comic universe, but I do have a lot of respect for DC. (To this day, one of my all time favorite stories ever is Knightfall.) When the chips are down, I gravitate towards great storytelling and good looking artwork, no matter what company is on the cover. Any book with Grant Morrison’s name on it immediately catches my interest.

Right from the cover of this first issue, a casual reader will even understand that they are in for an interesting ride. Clearly that looks like Superman, but he is a black man? Also, a masked bunny rabbit with a carrot on his chest, that can’t be right? (I mean, was there a big demand to bring back Captain Carrot?)  Well buckle up kiddos, because this book hits the ground running. The characters on the cover seem to be looking right at you, almost grasping for your hand, or waiting for you to proceed by opening the cover.

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(Caption: Come with us if you want to live)

Upon turning the page, the reader is instantly taken in by the narrator, again, seemingly talking directly to you. The first character, Uotan, is shown to be investigating a comic book, that may or may not be haunted. But as the events unfold, the narration starts to address both the main character and you, the reader, urging you not to skip to the end, and to play this adventure out as it goes. Very meta storytelling, but also, very inventive for a comic book.

That seems to be just the case, too. As this first story progresses, you learn along with the character’s alter ego, Nix Uotan, the SuperJudge, that there is a dire threat to all the worlds in the multiversity. The only way to stop them is to gather heroes from across all worlds and bring them to the central hub that exists between universes, the House of Heroes. Along the way, it is revealed that heroes from one world can be fictional characters in comic books on another world. Again, incredibly self aware, but not as confusing as this synopsis makes it out to be. In fact, even DC Comics themselves are name checked in this book, with the amalgamation of heroes landing on a world that seems to be inhabited by heroes from ‘Major Comics’. With names like Machinehead and American CrUSAder, you get the picture, but that makes the whole story that much weirder. Each world exists in it’s own parallel dimension, but has echoes and clues of other worlds, thanks to comic books. It is even hinted that our own  dimension, the one where you are reading this review right now, is also a world involved in all this, with our Batman and Superman comics acting as a window into those worlds where the characters ACTUALLY exist. Trippy.

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(Caption: Avengers! Avoid Copyright Infringement!)

On the whole, this book gives a good jump off for what will only be an amazing ride into the unknown. Morrison not only has a new and interesting story to tell, but he doesn’t trip over himself trying to get to much out all at once. As confusing of a premise as this might sound, it is presented very clearly, but also a little creepy. The narration begs you to carry on, and also commands to you to stop reading at a few points, and just for a moment, you oblige. But it’s just a comic book, right?

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(Caption: Very cool way to talk about comic in a comic with a comic. Inception!)

The art is visceral and colorful thanks to the talent of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Nei Ruffino. The iconic color scheme of familiar characters and settings are there, but skewed to accommodate Morrison’s trek through uncharted territories. This is going to be a nine issue series, and judging from this first book, it will be filled with twists and turns at every panel. That is what makes a fun adventure, but what if that adventure spills into our own universe? Will we, as valued and trusting readers of comics, be ready for the challenge? Bring on issue #2!

~The Incredible Jeff

Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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