Multiversity Musings

Multiversity 1

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 AllianceBleeding 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 !

Psycomedia Episode 100 – Goodbye

comicbookevangelist:

A great farewell from a brilliant podcast !

Originally posted on Psycomedia:

Psycomedia Episode 100 – Goodbye

References:

  • Bennett, C. M., Miller, M. B., & Wolford, G. L. (2009). Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction. Neuroimage, 47(Suppl 1), S125.
  • Orne, M. T. (1962). On the social psychology of the psychological experiment: With particular reference to demand characteristics and their implications.American psychologist, 17(11), 776.
  • Strohmetz, D. B. (2008). Research artifacts and the social psychology of psychological experiments. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(2), 861-877.
  • Wilson, T. D., Reinhard, D. A., Westgate, E. C., Gilbert, D. T., Ellerbeck, N., Hahn, C., … & Shaked, A. (2014). Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind. Science, 345(6192), 75-77.

Our telegram:

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Brett’s blog and podcast episode:

http://comicbookevangelist.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/fortnights-favourite-five/

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Drax the Destroyer, literally:

Tengger Cavalry:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/spiders-georg

Amazing MRI of Fruit and Veg:

http://insideinsides.blogspot.co.uk/

Ciaran’s submissions on metapsychology:

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Fortnight’s Favourite Five

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It’s a great time to be a comics fan. There are so many amazing comics being published that even though I read 25-30 titles each week there are still great books that I miss. Which had me thinking: If it is hard for me, a hard-core veteran comics geek with 30 years experience, to keep up with all of the awesomeness out there, how much harder myst it be for the casual fan ?

Which leads me to this. A new series where I let you know what I considered to be the five best comics released each fortnight. These comics are the ones that had the most witty dialogue, amazing art, clever plot twists and plain old “AW YEAH !” moments and are therefore the comics to which I give my highest possible recommendation.  So, if you only buy five comics from the last fortnight, these are ones to grab !

 

Oh, and since comics are released in US comic shops and digitally every Wednesday, my fortnights will run from Wednesday to the Tuesday a couple of weeks away.

 

So, without further ado, here are my five favourites for the fortnight 7th-19th August 2014:

 

  1. Earth 2 #26

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This issue is the climax to the epic story Aussie creators tom Taylor and Nicola Scott have been weaving for about 12 issues. So, it is probably not a great jumping on point, but then again you should be going back and reading this book from the start anyway ! So many great scenes in this book: Val Zod defeating the evil Superman while remaining a steadfast pacifist, Flash and Aquawoman kicking major ass, and the reveal of just what is going on with evil Superman.  As always, there was clever writing from Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, and launching Superior Iron Man soon) and beautifully detailed clean-line artwork from the ever incredible Nicola Scott (Wonder WomanSecret Six).  You MUST read this book !!

 

  1. Archer & Armstrong #23

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When it’s witty dialogue and hilarious situations I crave I pick up anything written by Fred Van Lente (Incredible HerculesThe Mocking Dead). His brilliant sense of humour is unbound in Archer & Armstrong, as an odd couple uncover all manner of kooky conspiracies. In this issue, the titular pair confront The Lizard King (yep, it is Jim Morrison), who is set to use the fan-worship of a Justin Bieber analogue to change the world.  Amongst the humour is a very clever plot which takes us across centuries to reveal the pair are more proficient at combatting megalomaniacal rock stars than would seem at first glance.  This again is the last issue of a story arc, but once again it is well worth picking up the earlier issues to fully understand what is happening. There is enough story here and a decent recap, though, so jump in with this story. When you enjoy the hell out of it, then go back and grab the early issues !   

 

  1. Mars Attacks First Born #3

 

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This is one beautiful, beautiful book. Sam Kieth (of Maxx fame), pencils and colours this book in pencil, and then inks various character’s outlines with a broad stroke to give them definition. As a result of this and his cartoony figures, the book looks as if it is being drawn by a 12-year child (albeit one with incredible artistic talent). As if that were not enough, the story in this issue sees dramatic character development as two characters see the light in an elegiac sequence. This book is the welcome flip-side to the usual large scale destruction and violence of the Mars Attacks, a small story about families trying to survive the destruction of their peace.  A beautiful story with beautiful art.

If you do not want to hunt for back issues now, the trade paperback is being released in November. Go to your local comic shop to pre-order it today !

 

  1. Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1

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Usagi Yojimbo (Japanese for “Rabbit Bodyguard”)  has been appearing in comics now for 30 years, and during that time he has fought numerous enemies, gathered a handful of allies, and served as the springboard for incredible stories about Japanese Edo-period culture. All that said, the best thing about Senso #1 is that you do not need to know any of that history going in – the comic tells you everything you need to know as it weaves an awesome story.  Usagi is helping his friend Lord Noriyuki defeat the manipulative rebel Hikwi once and for all when the battle field is invaded by another force entirely. This is an element which harkens back to one of the earliest Usagi Yojimbo series, and is a welcome change to the norm. I will not reveal the surprise here (even if the back cover does), but whether you are a long-time fan of the rabbit ronin or new to his adventures it will delight.

Oh yeah, all of the characters are anthropomorphised animals, but to be honest I forget that when I am reading Usagi, such is the skill Stan Sakai has in writing and illustrating characters who seem real. Still, if you find “funny animals” annoying, this may throw you a bit at first.

 

  1. The Legendary Star Lord (man !) #2

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If you are one of the estimated 457, 826 people who enjoyed Chris Pratt’s performance as Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy film, then this is the comic for you ! (NB: Above figure may not be entirely accurate). This comic cleverly showcases the Star Lord’s power of persuasion and charm, his ability to plan and improvise when the plan inevitably goes wrong. The script is full of witty lines and  the artwork conveys the action perfectly. There is even a bit of pathos developed, as Star Lord explains to his newly discovered sister just why it is he is partying so hard across the galaxy. Buy two copies of this comic – one for you and one for the female Star Lord fan in your life. She will love you for doing so !

 

What were your favourite comics from the last fortnight ?

Please let me know in the comments below !

 

Can’t wait to Sin !

A quick post today. I have just finished watching the New Sin City:A Dame to Kill For trailer and after allowing the echoes of my insanely excited cheering to fade had to share this with you all. 

I had heard that the new film would have elements of a new story written specifically for it, and man does it look like it will be incredible ! It looks like (based on the trailer and my fevered speculation) “little” Nancy Callahan is going to wreak vengeance upon Senator Roark, likely teaming up with Marv and the Sin City girls to do so. AWESOME !!!!!!!!! (in fact that exclamation really doesn’t do justice to the depth of excitement I now have for this film). 

I had thought nothing would top Guardians of the Galaxy when it came to crazy levels of anticipation for the film – like many I was hooked from the “ooga chaka” moments of the first trailer – but with this trailer there is not just a new contender, but a new champion !

I am extremely excited about heading back to that rotten town of Basin City – bring on August 22nd !

 

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2 + 2 = 6 ?

 

Today’s blog is piece of rampant speculation, based on a nothing more than a comment the lovely Nicola Scott made while I was hassling her at Supanova Perth and a couple of pieces of comics news. I will say from the outset that I have no insider information whatsoever on this; I am merely trying to emulate Sherlock Holmes’ power of deduction with the theory which follows. 

So now, as Sherlock does, let us review the evidence (such as it is): 

1. I hassled Nicola Scott a hell of a lot during Perth’s Supanova a few weeks back, and during our wide ranging chats Nicola mentioned she would be working on a new project for DC soon, along with some creator-owned stuff. This off the cuff comment came and went, as Nicola talked about the fun she was having finishing issue 25 of  Earth 2 run (especially delineating the big battle between the evil Superman and Val, the new Superman), we wondered over the pencil work and composition of a page of Alan Davis artwork I had bought and an acolyte sat at her feet and learnt words of wisdom (NB: The “sat at feet” bit was metaphorical). Thus the comment was almost forgotten, until……..

2.  DC announced a new artist and writer on Earth 2, noting Nicola would no longer on the book s of issue 27 of the title.  Nicola had mentioned she was still working on something for DC, I seemed to remember, but if it is not Earth 2 then what could it be ? I continued to wonder in vain until I saw…

3. This piece of news on Bleeding Cool today. I agree Gail Simone is indicating there is a new Secret Six in the works, but the item caused a light bulb to appear over my head as the final piece of the puzzle clicked into place (and a mixed metaphor emerged). 

My theory then, is this: Nicola Scott is the artist for the relaunched Secret Six, just as she launched the original Secret Six all those years ago ! Gail Simone will of course reprise her role as writer, and DC will bring back one of the most popular books of the last decade (which didn’t involve Batman or the Green Lantern).

What do you think ? Am I close, and should await a call from Sherlock who will now surely want to team up with me to fight criminal masterminds ? Let me know ! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Court of Owls: A Return to Batman’s Detective Side

comicbookevangelist:

A great review !

Originally posted on THE EXTREMIS REVIEW:

Batman-The_Court_of_Owls,_Part_One_Knife_TrickThe New 52. Oh, most dreaded of reboots. I fear to touch thee, lest I be infected by the new age of senseless retcons!

Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit. But that’s how I was when it came to The New 52 for a long time. I don’t like retcons. I don’t like reboots. I think they’re terribly lazy shortcuts for writers who don’t want to take the time to know all of the canon of their material (which, let’s face it, is pretty much all of them). The DC universe has been particularly bad about retcons, even in the Batman universe, changing their minds no less than three times on whether or not the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents has a name. So, in a typical boy-ish comic book fan way, I was determined to boycott the reboot, and stick to reliving Year One, Knightfall

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Wicked + Divine is Heaven sent !

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I have been waiting since the initial announcement of Wicked + Divine to read the first issue. I am a huge fan of both Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, and an even bigger fan of their collaborations (If you haven’t read their work on Young Avengers stop reading this and order the trade paperbacks immediately. Seriously, it will be the best comics purchase you have ever made). Anyway, I was jonesing for this book in the same way Tyrone Shoelaces does for his basketball (hey man, there are far too few references to Cheech and Chong in comics reviews !) and with each pic on the Tumblr, press release and interview I became more excited. With this book I committed the cardinal sin – I DID believe the hype (sorry Flava Flav)

So, when I grabbed my copy of Wicked + Divine #1 I was scared to read it. I had built this thing up so much in my mind that I felt I could only be disappointed by what actually lay between the covers. So it is that despite having the issue for a couple of weeks I have only just read it today. Man, what a fool in love I was ! This is a perfect comic, with incredible images and clever dialogue and a plot that as well paced as a Ramones song, saying all that needs to be said but leaving a tantalising vision of something bigger underneath.

Here are my initial thoughts on the issue mere minutes after I read it:

* Jamie’s art is incredible, making the characters both glamorous and vulnerable (funny given they are gods)

* The Beatles references were awesome

* So was “didn’t get past Bowie in her parent’s retro record collection”. I have happily “inflicted” (as my wife puts it) Bowie on all my kids, so it is not unusual to see both my 15 year old daughter and 5 year old son happily rocking out to Let’s Dance. Oh, and the aforementioned 5 year old’s favourite song EVER is Modern Love.

* I DID feel the Phonogram vibe, especially in the concert sequence which reminded me of the Pull Shapes issue (Oh yeah, if you haven’t read Phonogram again stop reading and grab it. Especially the Singles Club issues making up the second volume, of which the Pull Shapes issue is my favourite and led me to the intoxicating Pipettes).

* I could tell there is so much back story to be revealed – why only four gods in 1923 ? Who was the sophisticated old “owl” lady ? Am I right to call her the owl lady ? Was Lucifer one of the four we saw in 1923 ? I am guessing he/she was the girl with the “Pris from Blade Runner” make up. Where are the other gods shown in the mandala for Chapter 2 ?

* The cliff hanger was unexpected, as we don’t usually see them in Gillen/McKelvie stuff (though I am probably forgetting a million from the Young Avengers run). Usually there is a climax three-quarters of the way through the issue and a denouement following, allowing one to light up a cigarette and enjoy the afterglow. 

* Speaking of YA, can very much see the influence of that comic in the design of the pages – the chapter breaks, the title of the story being incorporated into the panels themselves, the banter between the characters (especially the sequence with Sekhmet chasing the “red dot” and Luci’s commentary on such).

* A-Ha ! You didn’t fool me though, I realised the red dots on Luci were from sniper rifle scopes, so I was waiting for the shots to be fired.

* Was it wrong of me to laugh when I later turned the page and saw the panel of the judge’s head explode ? If so, I say in my defence that it was nervous laughter, of the kind that is a release from the incredible tension of the previous pages focussing on the “finger click”

So there it is. Wicked + Divine #1 was even better than I expected it to be. I thought I had hyped myself to the point where reading it could only be a Highway to Hell, but the experience was ultimately a Stairway to Heaven !

PS: Yep, there were a few music references in there, how many can YOU spot ?