President Superman of Earth-23 uncovers a threat to all Reality so apocalyptic it will take a team of incredible heroes from across the Multiverse to face it!
Let the above synopsis be your guide. The long-awaited Multiversity has arrived and all you really need to know you learned in grade school. You instinctively knew when a comic book was cool and fun. Say what you will about Grant Morrison but he’s always been about bringing back the cool and fun into comic books. This one feels right on par with the crisp relaunch of “Action Comics,” if not even better.
The initial chatter leading up to today’s release was about how this comic breaks the fourth wall based on the preview pages. And, sure enough, those pages leave you wondering who is reading what with its trippy meta-referencing. Is it all but just a dream? Maybe in a big picture sense but, as regards our story, things are really exploding and getting pretty bad out there somewhere far, far away. Just how far? Well, when you get down to it, not far enough!
In no time, our reader in the comic book is called to action. What he reads in the comic book warns him of grave danger, absolute all-consuming danger. There’s no turning back. Our mild-mannered comic book reader transforms himself into his alter ego superhero identity of Nix Uotan, with his trusty sidekick chimp, Mister Stubbs. This is where you might wonder if it’s all just one geek comic book reviewer’s wet dream. However, the fun has only begun. It gets wetter and wilder. I love the surly comments that readers will make about how they could make a better comic than the one they’re reading. In your dreams. I think the immersive quality to this comic is pretty impressive. Anyway, it sure looks like Uotan and Stubbs are wide awake.
I think when you get a quick look at the first pages, you can take a lot for granted. Panel by panel, I find Grant Morrison’s narrative flow to be first-rate. The artwork (pencils by Ivan Reis; inks by Joe Prado) is exemplary. There’s a fine gloss applied throughout that pays tribute to superheroics past and present. I don’t find any rushed moments at all and, at the same time, no unnecessary filler. It’s as if time has stood still (and maybe it has, I’m not sure) and we have an opportunity for characters to seem to breathe and form relevant thoughts.
We loosely deal here with the theory of many worlds. There are many universes and, in this case, many alternate Earths. That’s a given here and you just roll with it. There’s “our” Earth, which is Earth-Prime and then there’s all those other ones, designated by numbers, Earth-15, Earth-23, and so on. Now, Earth-7 is in really bad shape. It’s so bad that it’s twisted-to-hell bad and what’s happening there could reverberate throughout all other universes, sort of like a cosmic domino theory. This is where our comic book reader and his chimp come in. Uotan and Stubbs are on a mission to save Earth-7, or so they thought. That was before they realized just how bad things are on Earth-7, like cosmically mind-blowing bad.
And here is where we go from high concept to gut level action. You know the main rule in combat, right? Never leave a man down! That is basically what we’re dealing with. Uotan finds himself way over his head on Earth-7. Then he meets an oafish, but kind, superhero named Thunderer. It is up to Thunderer to hop in the big bright Thule rocket ship and go get help while Uotan figures out what to do. Uotan is trusting Thunderer and vice versa. The major chess moves are now in play.
Of course, there’s much more that happens next including various offbeat and ironic moments. There’s one moment shortly after various superheroes have assembled. Earth-23 Superman is present. He also happens to be President of the United States and bears a striking resemblance to Pres. Obama. Aquawoman is fired up and ready to go on a “war party.” Superman corrects her. “I prefer to look at this as a fact-finding mission.” All these superheroes gathered together amount to “the greatest heroes of fifty-two worlds,” which is a nod to the DC Comics “New 52” relaunch from 2011. The meaning behind the magic number “52” was never revealed…until now!
The first issue is on sale as of August 20. Visit our friends at DC Comics right here.