Saturday, September 03, 2016

Reader's Diary #1370- Grant Morrison (writer), various artists: The Multiversity (Deluxe Edition)

Earlier this year I reviewed Jonathan Hickman's Secret Wars, Marvel's attempt at mashing up and reconciling all of their universes and subsequent characters. Around the same time that the Secret Wars issues started coming out, Grant Morrison was finishing up a similar project for DC Comics called The Multiversity. Questions about whether or not there was blatant copying or if this was a coincidence not withstanding, it was next to impossible not to compare and decide which one I'd like more. Which was the Finding Nemo and which was the Shark Tale?

Alas, I'd have to say that The Multiversity was the Shark Tale. Basically, I found it to be a confusing mess. Reading other reviews of this project, it seems that I'm not the only one who didn't quite get the frame story. How the universes in The Multiversity collide, how characters cross over, seems to happen any number of ways: a comic, a cubic portal, The Flash runs really fast, and so on. There are overarching villains, but just what their motives are is ridiculously muddled and when all is said and done inconsequential. Still, of those that found similar fault, some nonetheless liked the individual stories. I can't even say that. I wasn't connected to a single character and honestly, they were all underdeveloped. There was an overabundance of unfamiliar characters that needed more depth and the more familiar DC characters were flat and directionless.

I've come across some theories about what it's all supposed to mean. It seems to have been Morrison's commentary on the powers that be (fan pressure and publishing houses) who can constantly destroy universes or squeeze them together into something more coherent as a whole. And, I think, Morrison is basically saying, "nice try, but creativity will win out. New universes will spring up once more and the cycle will continue."

Creative yes, but so sloppily and self-indulgently told. Furthermore, rejecting the reader's demand for some semblance of clarity, for a freaking narrative, as boring is an unfair cop-out.

The art, however, I will say was spectacular. The decision to go with a variety of artists worked; each bringing new styles and tones appropriate to the individual stories, lighter when they needed to be, monstrous when they needed to be. They weren't, unfortunately, able to bring this all together, but that should have fallen on Morrison.

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