Multiversity continues to be the best comic on the stands with it’s Mastermen issue that sustains the titles long standing multiverse standing epic story by adding a deeply layered and fully formed new dimension. Listen; my colleagues & I have done enough writing trying to analyze the symbolism and overarching narrative in our reviews or articles related to the book and you’ll find plenty more of that on this book all over the place it that’s what you’re looking, the comments are more then welcome for any and all theories related to this issue that you maybe pondering. Also let’s just get this out of the way that Jim Lee’s pencil work is excellent here, it’s been way too long for these two guys to have not worked with one another until now and Lee himself is really starting to evolve his style into something more interesting after a period of stagnation. With all that said, what struck me most coming away from this installment of the series was what’s been an underrated element of the comic, that is just how well Morrison and his artistic collaborator’s have managed to build a world and create an exciting plot whole cloth within the confines of about forty some pages of comics give or take. Mastermen might be the best in the series so far at pulling this off as it establishes it’s premise and setting into it’s plotline seamlessly. This is a comic that’s building on over 70 years of history within it’s own fictional universe but it all flows together concisely without missing out on the emotional beats that connect the reader to the story. Granted this all framed within built in archetypes that are naturally going to create an emotional response out of the reader whether that’s the historical significance of Nazi Germany, the legacy DC characters such as the Freedom Fighters or the combination of both in the way Superman becomes Overman in addition to his Justice League cohorts getting Nazi analogues. But it’s a tribute to the writing here that it doesn’t rest on the traditional iconography to tell a full and engaging story that manages to establish a universe, it’s main players and then create a this large scale narrative that works on multiple levels as both a straight up story in addition to it’s many layers of symbolism. This is something that most comic books struggle to do over the course of an entire series, Multiversity does it every single issue. Just think about that for a second, forget about whether or not you think Morrison’s writing makes sense to you or what he’s done that was over/underrated and think about it from a craft standpoint, what takes most creators at minimum months and most often years to accomplish Morrison is doing on a single issue here, in every month in every installment of the series, that’s amazing. Multiversity is so next level to the point of it often feeling awe inspiring, but if the response is any kind of indication comics is ready for that. This book is the future standard.
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HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.Dean will punish you if you don’t pick up… The Punisher #2 Issue #1 was great. If you missed it then don’t make that mistake again. Jump in here at issue 2 and enjoy the ride Edmondson is taking us on. Continue reading INDUBITABLE ISSUES!
I freaking love comics. So many comics. Too many to put in one single list. We all like different things. Some of us like big two comics. Other’s may prefer large publisher creator owned work while other’s dig the small press. I like all of that. I’ll cover my favorites from the different corners of comic book publishing over the month of December.
Yes these are the big guys. I try to not write about DC and Marvel comics TOO much because I think it’s hard to give a take on these books that hasn’t been said ad naseum. Do you really need me to explain why Scott Snyder’s Batman is great again? I mean I already did once anyway and I’m about to one more time so there you go. That’s because whatever your feeling are about these comics they are ubiquitous and necessary. The sales and popularity of DC and Marvel props up the infrastructure of the entire industry so as much as I may prefer comics from Image, Darkhorse, Vertigo, First Second or Koyama those companies don’t exist without the big two. And that’s because people are passionate about the comics from these companies regardless of how they feel the quality of the current work. People love their DC or Marvel or both or they have complete disdain for one or both but it’s that passion for these companies that fuels comics as a business. As for me I still read a lot of stuff from them in spite of my passion for the indie and small publishers. In composing this list I tried to trim it down to what I thought was the best of the best from the publishers. I get annoyed with events, crossovers, Scott Lobdell and West Wing fan fiction so all that relegated Animal Man, X-Men, Swamp Thing, Indestructible Hulk, Avengers Assemble, Wolverine and the X-Men, Action Comics, Daredevil: End of Days and Uncanny X-Men to honorable mentions status. ‘Nuff respect due for Captain America, Wolverine, Batman: The Dark Knight, Marvel Knights Spiderman/X-Men, Amazing X-Men and Superman Unchained which are all very good but just not good enough and Wonderwoman, Deadpool, Fearless Defenders, Journey Into Mystery, The Flash, Ultimate Spiderman and Aquaman which I’m sure are as amazing that you all say they are but life’s too short no what I’m saying?
About five years ago as a young adult I had to come to the acceptance that their were many things in this world that I wouldn’t totally understand at face value and accept them on those terms. It’s been a helpful life lesson that’s also made for a great thing to remember when reading whose over time become my favorite comics writer Grant Morrison. I love Multiversity: Pax Americana. All due respect to my esteemed colleagues pick for this weeks finest but I think it’s the best issue of the week by a country mile. It also might be the best single issue of the year. I don’t totally understand it but that’s ok. One of the things that people get hung up on with Morrison is how his single issue’s don’t make complete sense. I can concede this on some level although I think there is always enough going on with them to make reading it worthwhile and at the same time this is hardly Naked Lunch or The Sound & The Fury but I’ve never read one of his comics stories from front to back that didn’t crystalize everything at the conclusion and make the whole experience all the more rewarding from start to finish. But to get there you have to accept that there is going to be moments of confusion along the way, that it’s really an essential part of his story telling technique. Trust me in that the ride is much more enjoyable as a result. Outside of that context (or maybe because of that) Pax Americana is still an amazing single issue of a comic that explores the dichotomy of cyclical and non cyclical history, violence, utilitarianism, the theoretical nature of linear and non linear time, Watchmen and Steve Ditko. The latter two is perhaps most important as much of the narrative centers on a dichotomy of Alan Moore’s view through the his Captain Atom and Steve Ditko’s via The Question and how to reconcile both the overarching theory of everything with concrete objectivism. It’s a non linear story about the very real question of how far one will go to seek peace versus objective morality. And that is a very real yet criminally unexamined question for comics that makes sense as a stark correlation with Moore’s Watchmen that basically says a bunch of people dying is better for the greater good or the central thesis of Ditko’s entire world view of objectivism that centers on an individuals morality and right to live exactly as it see’s fit being the be all, end all of our existence above anything else. Pax Americana is a study in that dichotomy and that’s essentially the central conflict but in it you have the man in the middle of Haley who in effect uses those idea’s against one another to further his own vision of America, one that was inspired by comic books no less. Haley and his father represent the infinite legacy of humanity to find a center between those two struggles. How Haley becomes a Christ figure in multiple versions of the comics time stream represents the son of god as both a leader and everyman in the way that we are all theoretically god’s children but still choose one son of god to follow and Pax: Americana is almost asking if those two conflicting ideologies may not be the central infinite struggle of man kind or at the very least the evolution of western society. It’s there in the beginning and last page with Quitely’s grid paneling. Oh yeah let’s talk about that because hallelujah this guy is limitless. It’s amazing how often the artist can push the boundaries on his singular style on every book he does but that’s double for any collaboration with Morrison. If there is a better writer/artist duo in the history of the medium I haven’t seen it yet and yes that includes Kirby/Lee (the former always carried the latter) Pax Americana is perhaps the most detailed and comprehensive work that the two have done together as each small panel is full of life, detail and energy in beautifully disgusting renditions. Something like the opening page of the bullet going out of President Haley’s head, the twin towers being rebuilt, The Question’s interrogation or the full scale defense of the white house from terrorist attacks are unreal and again that grid work is pure Ditko through and though while much of the imagery and visual symbols are very much borrowed from Gibbons Watchmen work. Multiversity is a comic series about comics but as is normally the case with a Morrison book that mean’s much more then the elevator pitch. What do comics mean for the world at large? How do two of it’s most important creators conflicting world views reconcile for us? What does that mean? Pax Americana isn’t supposed to give the answer and if that’s what your looking for then you are reading the wrong book. The issue is one of many central questions that make the sum of Multiversity as a whole. Purely as a comic it’s a visceral and entertaining mini epic but as a piece of larger whole that we’ve only just begun to see it’s so much more. What if you could see reality and time as Captain Atom? What if you refused to believe that was viable like the Question? How do you negotiate the two? The answer isn’t here for you but if we all think about it hard enough maybe we can find some truth in it. Is that part of what Morrison means by making the Multiversity reader the superhero? I couldn’t tell you but I know that having it makes the medium all the more better. As is the case with Morrison and life in general, embrace the unknown and enjoy the ride; it’s not like you have a choice in the matter.
Multiversity: The Just #1 by Grant Morrison & Ben Oliver
This week, Grant Morrison’s journey through the Multiverse arrives at Earth 16. For this story, he takes two common tropes of alternate worlds and meshes them together with fascinating results. First of all, this is a world of legacy heroes. Batman is Damian Wayne, Superman is Chris Kent, even the supervillains, such as Alexis Luthor, are second generation. There is an occasional cameo appearance by one of the originals, notably Green Arrow, but for the most part this is a world of legacies. The second familiar element is that there is no need for any of these heroes an longer. One of Kal-El’s last contributions to the planet Earth was a crime fighting force of robot Supermen. Operating on pre-set programing and entirely self-maintaining they are able to neutralize any threat (planetary or otherwise) before anyone else has a chance to respond. The result is a world full of heroes who are completely redundant.
Continue reading Review of Multiversity: The Just #1
Each week, the NBC Staff will share various comics we think are worthy to be your pull list. These issues will be picked based upon just how excited we are for them to come out. We dig them, and you might too.
Feel free to let us know what YOU think WE should buy in the comment section below.
Bringing his A game…Ukerupp thinks you should try:
Scott Snyder doing what he does best. Horror. After his work on Severed (Image Comics) and with the hiatus of American Vampire (Vertigo), it is nice to see Synder playing in the field of suspense and terror again. The cliffhanger from issue three left me wanting more, more, more, and now that I have finally been given that “more,” I am scared to flip open the first page. Great stuff by a great writer and artist.
Each Tuesday, the NBC Staff will comprise a Top Ten list for whatever the topic is for that week. In the comments section, we can all compare the lists to see if there were any patterns. Also, feel free to post your own top ten lists. Today we tackle the many relaunches and reboots of comic-books.
Top Ten Comic Book Reboots!
10. Captain America
Captain America never connected with me before I read Ed Brubaker’s take on him. Finally, he was a compelling character. Also, Brubaker brought back Bucky, which, in and of itself, is probably one of the biggest ret-cons ever .
It’s been a weird period in Grant Morrison’s career for the last few years. There is no doubt that you can see the scope and breadth of his influence all over comics as some of the most popular creators like Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Rick Remender, Ales Kot, Greg Pak, Charles Soule and Jason Aaron all wear their influence of his on their sleeves and all over their writing. Morrison’s work on past titles also continues to inform their present continuity as titles in the X-Men, Batman and Superman line of books are all informed and live with his past writing on said continuity. But Morrison’s most recent writing has become less essential to the medium as of late were even before an extended year long hiatus his work wasn’t quite setting the world on fire the way it once did. His time on Action Comics seemed to be polarizing for both new readers and life long fans while trying to appeal to both, people were already sick of Batman Inc before it got the chance to complete itself and Happy! came and went with little to no fan fare. Morrison’s Multiversity has been in the planning stages for years now and in the New 52 state of DC Comics didn’t look like it was ever going to happen but it’s here now and it’s as fantastic and anybody could have hoped for. The ambitious project made to be an epic across 52 separate parallel realities opened with artist Ivan Reis and it’s debut issue manages to live up to it’s high expectations in setting up a large scale story whose scope and pace are awe inspiring in the way that they manage to do so much within the confines of 40 some odd pages. In it we are first introduced to a comic book reader who becomes a superhero in a parallel reality fighting against an evil force attempting to destroy all existing life. Comics are fond of retelling or calling back to past stories, especially comics from DC and Marvel, but more often than not that’s become a crutch for derivative story telling without adding anything positive or interesting to the past narrative it references or current narrative it’s propelling. Multiversity also plays with a lot of past comic continuity using elements from Crisis Of Infinite Earth, Final Crisis, DC One Million, JLA
& Morrison’s own Action Comics run among others but where as a lesser book would try and make those central points of the narrative Multiversity synthesizes them into one large multifaceted tapestry that add’s depth and gravitas to not only Multiversity itself but moreover, those stories it references and the DC universe as this fascinating concept of an ever evolving shared multiverse. In some ways this is par for the course with Morrison’s work but not only is it refreshing to see him come back to that but it also feels slightly different then in his previous work. Here the concept is a little more focused while also feeling vastly expansive. If you haven’t noticed this review is featuring a lot of conjunction’s and that’s entirely a credit to the rich complexity of Multiversity. It also hasn’t even touched on the story itself which does the herculean task of this expansive world building while also telling a tight, concise and epic plot, in effect giving the best of both compressed and decompressed story telling styles in equal measure. I’d be remiss here if I didn’t spotlight the art as well where Ivan Reis does some fantastic pencil work that is like nothing I’ve ever seen him create before. Reis has probably been the best at doing DC’s New 52 “house style” as his art style has always managed to be precise in detail yet full of life and the way he uses that to explore the many high concepts here is pretty astonishing all things considered. Multiversity utilizes the elasticity of his style by letting him draw everything from a Brooklyn apartment to a post apocalypse to outer space in equal measure of quality and imagination. In terms of creating straight forward illustrations from a craft stand point he’s probably one notch below Jerome Opena or Esad Ribic and that’s it, bare minimum. To see him apply that style in a story this fantastic and out there is epic in and of itself as it brings alive pieces of imagination in a most uncanny way. Multiversity is one of the best new Grant Morrison comics that’s been produced in quite some time but it also feels like something more than that. This is only the first issue but even with what little we have it reads like a culmination of every thing he’s done in the DC Universe up to this point. It’s a complex and thoughtful epic that manages to expand the context of it’s world while showcasing an engaging narrative effortlessly. The Grant Morrison that changed comics for the better is back and it looks like he hasn’t stopped yet. He’s just started exploring and teaching the Multiversity and while I have no idea where we go from here I can already tell that it looks amazing from what I’ve already seen.