Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Look At...The Multiversity Part 5

Fuck intros; let’s just do this last issue so I can read something shallow and linear. 

Superjudge! (The Mutiversity issue 2)
Quick-ish Summary: The House of Heroes and Harbinger are under attack, but so is Earth-13, where Superdemon and the League of Shadows are repelling an invasion from Earth-43, Serial Killer Sivana and Snake Sivana trick Dark Sivana into leading the Blood League there personally – where he‘s quickly dusted by Fate and Annataz makes the Blood Leaguers crave coffee instead. These last two of the Legion of Sivanas are chased from the false Rock of Eternity by the Marvel Family and onto Earth-18 where the Justice Riders immediately shoot Serial Killer Sivana in anti-climax number 1. As Crises rage across the Mutliverse we see the Atomic Knights of America hung Lil’ Batman in anti-climax number 2! At the House of Heroes ever more characters are arriving, Atomic Batman thinks he has the answer in the Comic Books he found in Guidebook, but then robo-Hawkman just somehow knows that Lil’ Wonder Woman and Steel are agents of the Gentry and how Hellmachine, who’s eating away at Harbinger’s A.I. and released his citizens to attack, knew where they were.  The two shut down before we get a fight in anti-climax number 3! But Robohawk is able to interface with them and find out that this whole thing is a test of strength.
On Earth-8 the Superjudge is loose and when he solves his cosmic Rubix cube (yes) holes will open throughout the universe and the Gentry will come through. Captain Carrot’s running out of time before he needs his next carrot and the Superjudge walks all over Behemoth and President Superman, raising an army of Zombies from Earth-7.  He then beheads Captain Carrot but that doesn’t exactly do much, nor does Stubbs who exposits to the rabbit rather than getting him back to his body or his carrot, basically Uotan thought ahead and the doors he’s opened through the Mulltiverse allowed the Gentry through yes, but also the superheroes who can stop them. Meanwhile Thunderer brings a rainstorm and Aquawoman brings the awesome, and the pain, to Superjudge, the first character to make a dent.
In The Bleed Atomic Batman uses the guidebook to save the Harbinger A.I. and the Marvels use the false Rock of Eternity like a javelin to spear Hellmachine and send him off into the clutches of the weird Bleedspace monsters. Back to Earth-8, Rocket Racer reunites Captain Carrot with his head and carrot, and Captain Carrot has Red Racer figure out the connections via the comics at super speed, he does and runs off but as Superjudge completes his Rubix Cube (early) he returns with the Flashes from 15 worlds and they hit him at once with a near-infinite-mass punch. Uotan is freed from his monster form (he was inside it) but the Gentry are here BUT as Nix had planned the Heroes come through the same holes and curb-stop the monstrosities in anti-climax number 4 - Thunderer cracking Intellectron like the flying egg he is. 
A team of heroes then enter one of Lord Broken’s doors that’s been left standing, and enter Earth-7, and confront DC Editorial Empty Hand and his many Gentry, despite looking awesome he simply says that the test is over, he has nothing to fear from the new Multiverse, he’s still feeding off the previous one, and he can destroy this one whenever he likes and teleports them away in anti-climax number 5. Back at the hall of heroes President Superman organises a Mutiversal Justice league, while chatting to Captain Carrot he deduces that The Gentry’s threat originate from earth-33 because there’s a metaphor here dammit. The new Operation: Justice Incarnate is Mary Marvel, Captain Carrot, Atomic Batman, Machinehead, Aquawoman, President Superman, Thunderer, Abin Sur and Red Racer. The heroes thank Nix Uotan, Superjudge, and ask if there’s any way they can reward him, it takes him a minute but he remembers. Back on Earth-Prime Uotan wakes to the sound of his landlady again, and pays her 800 dollars. 

In case you didn’t notice by my subtle references to anti-climaxes I’m not entirely pleased with how the story wrapped up, as a general rule of thumb to satisfy the audience (and me specifically) the finale has to feel equal to the build-up and a resolution has to feel deserving of a cliffhanger, if you fail at this you’ve failed at telling a satisfying story. Now what exactly what satisfies the audience will depend on the audience there are some things you can do to make it more likely, and some things you shouldn’t do – like, oh, having a cliffhanger resolved off panel and only references in the background of one panel where it isn’t the focus nor even part of the story, or build up something only to have nothing come of it even after it’s revealed. If you haven’t read the book or recap I’m talking about the utterly pointless dark secret of Earth-42 and them being the Empty Hand’s agents – while it did serve a purpose in allowing Hellmachine to attack the House of Heroes and thus cause some tension that was it’s only real use, it’s use in the story didn’t justify its build-up, or it’s hype.  

I can pick a dozen holes in the story and art, Ivan Reis doesn’t draw backgrounds when they’re the only thing in the panel that could tell us a location has changed, he doesn’t draw characters in panels to establish they’re (still) around then later their placement is important, Morrison’ writing is about as disjointed as ever with things seemingly to happen as he thinks of them or because he thinks they’ll be cool (or call-back) like the Flashes’ Mega Falcon Punch, exactly how Red Racer figures out that’s what they need to do isn’t made clear, if a reason exists at all. And so on and so on but again picking holes, criticizing, feels like I’m proving part of this series right. Which is pretty clever of Morrison really, write a book with genuine flaws knowing full well that anyone who’s read it will feel guilty for criticizing it and fell they’re are part of what’s destroying the thing they enjoy. I love comic books and I enjoy the Superhero Genre but I can still say if something in a comic book or in that genre is shit when it is. The problem is when people go looking for things to annoy them (or Tumblr, as it’s known) I didn’t do this Look At to find problems, I did it to read a series of books and talk about how I felt after each was done with, any problems I went on about were brought up because I found them while reading the book and made a note of them. 

Stop fucking expositing Stub...wait...did they
forget to comp in the covers?! Come on DC...this book was late too!
But honestly having read the whole event I feel that it had two points, and telling an awesome story that was wholly satisfying wasn’t either of them, if it came about as a bi-product (and it did in at least Thunderworld, The Just, S.O.S and Mastermen) that’s fine but if it didn’t, or there was issues, then never mind it wasn’t the point anyway. Those two points I’ve decided were “show off the third Multiverse” and “make a point via metaphor” and Multiversity succeeds at both of them. I want to read more stories about the characters in these books, even ones that only appeared in a few panels or the guidebook; take Superdemon for instance – Morrison has maybe four pages but he gets exactly why the concept is cool across in them, I am now officially a Superdemon fan and want an action figure of him, although granted the concept of combining Etrigan and Superman and having him lead a Justice League made up of pre-existing DC Comics characters redesigned to classic monster movie archetypes was already something I’d be fully behind but that doesn’t make my point any less valid dammit!

Pictured: DC editorial, true to life
As for making it’s point via metaphor, yes, yes it did that fine – in case you missed it The Multiversity is a comic series about comics and Grant got to make his points about the comic industry and fandom, what he likes and dislikes about them, how he thinks they’re damaging themselves and each other and how he thinks they can stop and what attitudes and actions that should take; he’d like us to be less negative and spend less time looking for things to criticize, he’s like the editors to not destroy everything just to please hypothetical casual and new readers (on that we agree), he’s unhappy that they can do this and will do again and don’t care about the characters or how they’re used , that the industry needs your support to survive, he’d like to see less deconstruction and dark grittiness – which is a bit of a laugh considering Zenith and New X-Men, who exactly was it who left General Jumbo face down in the sea with his pants ‘round his ankles and implied Billy the Cat and Katie were incestuous lovers Mr Morrison? How do such things fit with your Silver Age philosophies now? – and sillier things like we as readers cause all the pain the characters go through just by reading about them, yes they’re puppets made to dance for us Grant, they’re fucking fictional characters – or are they? I think Grant may actually subscribe to the theory that our fiction really is someone else’s reality. I’m sure there’s some I missed and half of the ones I mentioned are subjective but my point is the series fulfilled its second function of getting messages across.      
So yes, in conclusion Multiversity was a success – it’s just not the best or most enjoyable story it could and should have been. It IS better than Final Crisis though. 

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