For me it’s really hard to predict whether I’ll like a Grant Morrison story or not. I really have sort of a love slash hate thing going on with the guys work in general. I’ve enjoyed his JLA and Batman work for the most part; but he also wrote Final Crisis which I thought was a pretty incoherent mess. Also there was that run on X-Men that single handedly made me stop collecting Marvel Comics for like 10 years…
Ok, so the collection I read was The Multiversity Deluxe Edition; that I received a copy of via Netgalley in exchange for feedback and a review. It collects THE MULTIVERSITY #1 and 2, THE MULTIVERSITY GUIDEBOOK #1 and MULTIVERSITY issues: THE SOCIETY OF SUPER-HEROES #1, THE JUST #1, PAX AMERICANA #1, THUNDERWORLD #1, MASTERMEN #1 and ULTRA COMICS #1. There are also a large amount of extra art concept sketches in the back of the book which is nice to look at.
My short answer is I liked it. I feel like the collection as a whole tells a complete story and while it may be fun to go back to some of Mr. Morrison’s other works and pick and pair up references, you don’t need to have read anything else to understand this story. I don’t have any complaints about any of the art in here, it all looked great to me.
My thoughts are that The Multiversity #1 and #2 and Ultra Comics #1 are a lot weaker than the other issues collected here. I’m not much of a fan of breaking the fourth wall, and he does that a lot in these issues. If you’ve read any of his other books you’ll immediately notice numerous reiterated, or at least very similar phrases, which apparently mean a lot more to him than they will to you. Also I detect a good bit of snark and unflattering jabs at comic book fans in general that are just a waste of space that could be taken up with you know, an actual interesting story.
It was the issues that gave us glimpses into some of the other worlds and their unique histories that were really great, and where Morrison’s storytelling ability shines. He does an excellent job hooking you into these little worlds and their inhabitants. While they are satisfying little stories what they really do is whet your appetite for more.
The Society of Super-Heroes presented a world [Earth-20] with a super hero team lead by Doc Fate. The Immortal Man, a bunch of female Blackhawks, The Mighty Atom, and a strange devilish looking Green Lantern, rounded out the team. Vandal Savage is also shown as a villain. I love the older looking style of the costumes of the characters and I’m looking forward to learning more about this world when I’m able to get my hands on THE MULTIVERSITY: THE SOCIETY OF SUPER-HEROES: CONQUERORS OF THE COUNTER-WORLD #1.
The Just is a world [Earth-16] inhabited by the bratty inheritors of Legacy Heroes whose parents apparently did too good of a job stamping out evil. A Damian Wayne Batman exists in this word and he’s dating a bald chick who I suppose is the daughter of Lex Luthor. They all seem to be a pretty aimless bunch spending most of their time in petty, idle pursuits like reenacting famous superhero battles.
Pax Americana [Earth-4] was easily recognisable as somewhat of a parody of Watchmen by Alan Moore. This might be the one I enjoyed the most. This world includes a version of the Question who behaves a lot like Rorschach. The story was tight and had a good twist.
Thunderworld [Earth-5] was my second favorite of the world’s. Here is the world of Billy Batson and the Marvel family of heroes. This was just so much fun to read, I’d love to see more of this world.
Mastermen [Earth 10] is a fascinating; but also dark and disturbing look at a world where Overman [Superman]; was raised by the Nasis and helped them win WWII. Uncle Sam and His Freedom Fighters also exist on this world.
Now for my five page random sample from The Multiversity Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison:
Here’s that awesome cover of Society of Super-Heroes:
Next is a page from The Just. I really feel like the art is very suitable for setting the tone of the story.
This is of course a page from Pax Americana with a fun scene with the Question.
The art from Thunderworld is bright and bold, it really give a big superhero feel to it.
And last, this page from the Multiversity Guidebook, that I didn’t talk about in my review but does have some story in it. It introduces the Batmen of two worlds shown in the last panels here.