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    Earths Collide and Earths Explained in the Marvelous “The Multiversity Guidebook” #1 [Review]

    By | January 29th, 2015
    Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

    Worlds collide, the DC Multiverse is explored Earth by Earth, and every detail flows seamlessly in a grand scheme concocted by the genius mind of Grant Morrison in a guidebook with a twist that is “The Multiversity Guidebook” #1. With a cornucopia of artistic talent involved, it’s also visually appealing to any eye on any Earth.

    Written by Grant Morrison
    Illustrated by Various

    The guidebook to the greatest adventure in DC’s history is here!

    With a detailed concordance featuring each of the 52 worlds in the Multiverse, a complete history of DC Comics’ universe-shattering “Crisis” events, a map of all known existence, AND an action-packed dual adventure starring Kamandi of Earth-51 alongside the post-apocalyptic Atomic Knight Batman of Earth-17 and chibi Batman of Earth-42, this 80-page mountain of MULTIVERSITY madness cannot be missed!

    The MULTIVERSITY GUIDEBOOK contains everything you ever wanted to know about DC’s parallel worlds and their super-heroic inhabitants. Meet the Agents of W.O.N.D.E.R. The Light Brigade, the Super-Americans and the Love Syndicate! Meet the Accelerated Man, Aquaflash, BiOmac and more!

    Overflowing with today’s top artists and completely written by Grant Morrison himself, readers of the DC Universe can’t afford to pass up this oversized, sixth chapter of MULTIVERSITY!

    I expected this guidebook to be in the same vein as the old DC “Who’s Who” guides of old. Yet when it comes to Grant Morrison, I should have remembered that doing the usual thing is not his style. Morrison is able to integrate the concordance of Earths within two concurring adventures by two different artistic teams in a way that informs readers both old and new. One story involves Kamandi from Earth-51 and other assorted characters that I won’t spoil here, while the other has a team-up between a doom and gloom Batman (more doom and gloom than our Earth 0 Batman, of course) and a cute chibi Batman (with chibi being a term I’ve never heard of until reading this book). The stories and various Earths eventually intertwine and this sixth chapter of “The Multiversity” ends with questions yet to be answered and our minds left blown.

    Morrison makes this a truly interactive book not only for us but for the characters involved as well. The issue we hold in our hand is “real” and used by the characters in this issue. They absorb its information at the same time that we do, in a symphony of imagination between a world of fiction and the world of reality that bleed (pun intended) into each other. Morrison is able to condense so much history in an imaginative way without just telling us that history. He, along with the multitude of artists involved with this book, guides us along on a journey and shows us the power of storytelling and the importance of history and imagination that is involved in creating stories that endure forever.

    Artist Marcus To and colorist Dave McCaig illustrate the Batmen pages of the story with a simplicity befitting two versions of the Caped Crusader that include pure broodiness and pure cutesiness. The clean linework he brings to the characters and the uncluttered backgrounds bring a larger than life quality to the proceedings. To brings an infectious innocence to a certain super-team, while a villainous group is imaginatively brought to life. One of the most gorgeous scenes in this behemoth of a book is rendered with horrific and colorful precision by To and McCaig. The color palette chosen by McCaig in this two page scene is so different from the rest of his pages that it gives the implications of its outcome that much more power.

    The Kamandi section by artist Paulo Siqueira and colorist Hi-Fi contrasts greatly with that of the Batmen pages. While To and McCaig bring simplicity, Siqueira and Hi-Fi bring more detail to their sections of the book. Aside from a few faces that seem faded or rushed, Siqueira succeeds in depicting a large cast of characters. Kamandi and his cohorts Ben Boxer and Tuftan arrive at the Island of the God Watchers with a 1970s-retro artistic style by Siqueira animating the heroes’ faces as they wonder in bafflement at an island that blends ancient ruins with a drive-in movie theatre. In a montage of the history of the DC universe(s), Siqueira ably depicts momentous events of the multiverse over the decades. Hi-Fi brings color versatility throughout his pages that enhance the art. In one scene, the brilliant crisp yellow of Kamandi’s hair is illuminated by a yellow fire. In the montage panels, Hi-Fi mutes his colors and it feels as if we are reading weathered pages from old comics taken from our longboxes. A Kamandi ongoing by this team would be welcomed by this writer, DC.

    Continued below

    We don’t get the “Who’s Who” that I was expecting, but we do get descriptions of most of the 52 Earths that are dying to be explored by talented writers and artists. The artists involved in the Earth entries are a pretty impressive bunch and could easily bring these worlds to life. The only complaint I have about these entries is the abundance of white space. Only the characters are depicted, yet I can see how it makes them stand out more boldly on the page and transforms the pages into what looks like a dossier. I wasn’t as much surprised by the artists involved as I was the Earths that have been assembled and described by Morrison. I was pleasantly surprised that he gave Earths to characters beloved by myself and probably other long-time readers, as well as readers who are pretty new to the finest medium around. Above all else, Morrison has given a gift of a book to comic book neophytes. A handy dandy guidebook is just the thing to light up the imaginations of the uninitiated.

    Each entry in the encyclopedia of Earth descriptions begs their own book, but the entry illustrated by Kelley Jones really gives me chills. Earth-43 is “a world of darkness and fear where super-vampires rule the night as the BLOOD LEAGUE”. Enough said.

    Final Verdict: 9.5 – Don’t let that $7.99 price tag compel you to place this book back on the shelf of your local comic book shop. With a thrilling story and a celebration of what makes comic books and the DC Universe in particular so great, this is required reading for old and new readers alike.

    Keith Dooley

    Keith Dooley lives in sunny Southern California and has Bachelors and Masters Degrees in English literature. He considers comic books the highest form of literature and has declared them the Great American Art Form. He has been reading comics since age eight and his passion for comic books and his obsession for Batman knows no bounds. If he isn’t reading or writing about comics, he’s usually at the gym or eating delectable food. He runs the website Comics Authority with his fiancé Don and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.