Initially I was not that interested in Multiversity. While I like grant Morrison’s early work, I have not been all that impressed with his most recent output. His Batman run was okay, but not brilliant, and his previous big event comic (Final Crisis) left me cold. Then I got sucked into the hype when DC published the map of the Multiversity (designed by Rian Hughes, one of my favourite artists) and suddenly there were cool mysteries to be explored.
So, like most of the comics community I read Multiversity #1, and of course have some theories as to where this is all going to go. Seeing the millions of reviews, articles and vivisections of Multiversity #1 all written so well I figured there was no need for me to add my two cents’ worth. Then I realised that nobody had mentioned my theory and thought perhaps there was a niche for me to settle into after all. So, here is the one million and first blog about Multiversity.
I will admit now that I am in debt to all those bloggers whose work has fuelled my own speculations on the title, in particular the Deep Space Transmissions Annotations by Ben Hansom.
Other blogs I recommend for some great analysis of and/or information about Multiversity include those at Comics Alliance, Bleeding Cool and Newsarama (This one is by Vaneta Rogers, who is just amazing. I read everything she posts as they are always well-written and thought-provoking. Thanks Vaneta !)
Of course, the fine fellows on the Raging Bullets podcast had an entertaining discussion about the issue too, which can be found here. If you are a fan of DC comics at all, please check out this podcast. Sean and Jim do an incredible job each week and I am happy to go on record and predict you will enjoy it.
OK, now that I have cited my inspirations, let’s see just what monster they have helped to create as I put forth my theory !
The reader will create the missing 51st hero and “insert” them into the story, thus fulfilling the promise in the solicitations for Multiversity that we will meet “the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: YOU! “
Someone smarter than me, I am pretty sure it was Scott McCloud in Understanding Comics, talks about reading comics being a two way street. He argues comics are a medium where the reader has to do a relatively large amount of work, reading words and interpreting pictures, reconciling the concepts rendered by both the words and pictures, filling in the blanks which occur in the gutters etc. As a result, comics take place in your mind as much as they do on the printed page and the reader of the comic is more of a collaborator than a mere consumer of the story (which happens when you are watching a story on TV/in the cinema).
I reckon Morrison’s plan is to take this collaboration one step further and use the story and structure of Multiversity to give us readers the tools to play a direct part in the story – he will give us the space within the story itself to create our own hero by extending our imagination just one step further than we do when we read a comic.
It will be us who design the hero by supplying their costume, powers, personality using our imagination and the examples we have already seen of alternate world heroes to guide us.
This hero will, in the Multiversity comic itself, become our Earth 33 analogue (remember, Earth 33 is the “real world” we inhabit) and help the heroes of the other Earths save the multiverse from the evil Gentry. We will thus play a vital role in ending the threat of the Gentry by “becoming” a comic book superhero !!
Sound too far-fetched ? Here is some evidence which lends credence to my theory, taken from the pages of Multiversity #1 and quotes from Mr Morrison himself.
(Since this is speculation, my “evidence” is much like that presented by a conspiracy theorist who has already come to a conclusion and is getting the “facts” that will fit this conclusion. Hmm, shouldn’t bad mouth conspiracy theorists here, as there have been quite a few “legitimate” scientists who have done the same thing, e.g. http://www.boston.com/news/science/blogs/science-in-mind/2013/02/15/mit-investigation-finds-former-brain-researcher-falsified-data/M9urEvI8ksAAGrTWix15iL/blog.html )
Exhibit A: Grant Morrison said at SDCC that Multiversity will “really f#$k people up” (as quoted in Vaneta’s article listed above) and talks about utilising a hypnosis induction technique throughout the issues. Given his predilection for exploring “reality” via Chaos Magick and mind-altering substances, why wouldn’t use the comic as another tool for exploration ? And why not bring the readers along for the ride, and help us experience the same sort of exploration ?
Exhibit B: In previous stories Grant Morrison has shown us that a world full of humans given super powers can and will defeat even the worst of cosmic baddies. Specifically, this was the way the JLA defeated the cosmic super-weapon Mageddon in Morrison’s final arc in JLA (JLA# 36- #40) – everyone on Earth was given super powers in order to act upon the universal collective desire to stop Mageddon and save the planet.
I think Morrison is upping the stakes by giving us 52 earths in peril, which can only be saved by the power of the reader’s collective desire to defeat the Gentry and maintain the multiverse.
The rest of the evidence I vivisected from the issue, Multiversity #1. I will include the page numbers for each item so you can play along at home !
Exhibits C+- Page 2: The figure on the cover of Ultra Comics is not defined to the point where we can determine who it will be. I reckon this figure is a generic “Paragon” superhero, whose identity will be filled in by us the readers when we unleash our imagination’s “inner superhero”. That is, this hero is not one we have seen before in the DCU at all, but will be a brand new one that we will create and inject into the story ourselves.
Page 11 – “Tell them there are things beyond Gods”. Like us, the readers, who are in fact above any of the gods shown in comics, and even above the Endless themselves. Interestingly, though, the Endless are expressions of primal forces like Death, Despair and Delirium and we too fall prey to them !
Page 13 – Nix awakes into ‘reality’ with some interesting “weapons”: comics, anti-depressants and a Rubik’s cube.
So far everything in Nix’s room has been important to the story, which is similar to the film Labyrinth. In the movie this forms a link between the world of the Labyrinth and reality and leads us (or at least, me !) to ask: Which is the true reality and which the dream ? and Is it the real world influencing the Labyrinth, or vice versa ?
Are we (or again, just me ?) to ask the same questions of Multiversity ? How will the story as a whole affect our “objective” reality ?
Page 24 – “The hour has come to summon the greatest heroes of fifty two worlds”. However, Nix says Thunderer can only summon another 50 to the House of Heroes.
The 51st hero will come from Earth 33 – which used to be called Earth Prime, and is the world in which we (or at least our comic analogues) exist.
Page 37 – Lord Havok cries “I SAW THEIR FACES!”. Whose faces ? Ours I think, peering in on the events unfolding from our vantage point outside of the Multiversity.
Page 39 – The black egg has hatched and birthed a new vampiric Nix (and an evil looking monkey), ready to destroy the entire multiversity. Worse still, as the caption tells the reader “THEY’RE IN YOUR HEAD !”
And in a very real sense, they are! We have read the book and the concepts and characters are indeed in our minds. So, to change Nix back to normal and defeat the Gentry we need to harness the power of our minds to create a hero to oppose them. That hero is the final hero we “meet” (in Ultra Comics) and who will tip the balance in the final battle.
So there it is, my theory on the purpose behind Multiversity and how it will end.
What are YOUR theories ? I would love to hear them, so lay them out below !