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This Review Is In The Form of a Live Dissection: The Multiversity Annotations, Part 1

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Teased for years and finally launched this week, The Multiversity is a universe-jumping series of DC Comics one-shots tracking the cosmic monitor Nix Uotan and an assemblage of star-crossed heroes as they attempt to save 52 universes and beyond from a trippy cosmic existential threat that, like much of Morrison’s best work, represents something far more mundane and relatable. Tying back into the very first Multiverse story in DC’s history, the heroes of these universes become aware of this threat by reading about it in comic books… comic books that, it turns out, take place in neighboring universes. Indeed, writer Grant Morrison continues his streak of highly metatextual DC cosmic epics with this eight-issue mega-series (plus one Tolkienesque guidebook).

Described by Morrison as "the ultimate statement of what DC is", The Multiversity naturally offers the reader much beyond the surface level adventure, and that means annotations. Rather than merely filling out checklists of references, my hope with this feature is to slowly unearth and extrapolate a narrative model for Morrison and his collaborators' work on The Multiversity; an interconnecting web of themes and cause and effect that works both on literal and symbolic levels.

Three pages into the preview for The Multiversity #1, I knew I was going to have a lot to work with.

With no further ado, go get your erasers and your textbooks, close your laptops, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for some course notes. Let's go to school.

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The Arkham Sessions: The Psychology of The Joker & Harley, Electroshock, And Suicide Squadding

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The Arkham Sessions is dedicated to the psychology of Batman, so it seems almost like an ethical duty to cover a movie about Arkham Asylum, Gotham City's mental health facility for the "criminally insane." In the newly released direct-to-video animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham, a highly-skilled group of assassins and outlaws are called together by Amanda Waller to take part in a risky -- possibly life-threatening -- mission to infiltrate Arkham Asylum.

Does it help or hurt that members have a history of incarceration, criminal activity, and psychiatric treatment related to lack of moral sense? Perhaps Waller is brilliant to devise a plan that can only succeed via the knowledge and insight of persons who have been through the system.

In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we gently put aside the VHS and screen a contemporary work from DC Universe Animated. Use the player above to listen to our spoiler-free analysis of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, Black Spider, Killer Frost, KB Beast, and, of course the Joker.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Elsa Charretier

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Artist Elsa Charretier has primarily produced comics in her home country of France, including previous works Aeternum Vale, an issue of Le Garde Républicain, and backup pages for the Image comic One Hit Wonder. Her current project, The Infinite Loop, which she's pencilling, inking, and coloring, had a very successful crowdfunding campaign.

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Rediscovering The Best Version Of Mark Miller In ‘Starlight’ With Goran Parlov

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When Mark Millar and Goran Parlov's Starlight was announced, I had mixed feelings. Goran Parlov may be one of the five best comics artists living today, and it sounded like a good idea: a retired hero in the mold of John Carter returns to the planet he once saved, decades after his prime, to be a hero once again.

But often it seems that no matter how good an idea is, Mark Millar can't help but screw it up. His love of sensationalism and his need to be controversial have sapped the power out of many of his strongest ideas, and I wasn't that surprised when our own Kevin Church ripped the first issue to shreds. I read it anyway, because Goran Parlov exists, and life is much better for it.

I was a little surprised to find out that I totally disagreed with Church's review. And I was shocked that the Mark Millar that I like actually decided to turn up.

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Ask Chris #207: Rebuilding The Legion Of Super-Heroes

Ask Chris #207, art by Erica Henderson

Q: If you had to create an iconic but stripped-down version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, like for a TV show, which eight to ten characters would be on it? -- @benito_cereno

A: One of the weirdest things about the DC Universe right now -- which is full of exactly as much weirdness as you'd expect from a 75 year-old superhero universe that's less than three years into a baby-and-bathwater reboot -- is that the Legion of Super-Heroes isn't a part of it. I mean, no, they were never the biggest franchise DC had to offer, but they were a pretty constant presence from 1958 to just a little while ago, and there's a good reason for that. I mean, they're teenagers from the future. That's quite literally a concept that never gets old.
That said, it's only a matter of time before they get rebooted, so let's while away some time figuring out just who I'd put on the new team.

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Rachel & Miles X-Plain The X-Men: Acorns And Swords

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In which we continue our delve into the eldritch end of the X-Universe, Illyana Rasputin has a rough childhood even by X-Men standards, Kitty Pryde is a Niven fan, Limbo is way metal, Vincent Price is our Belasco, and Rachel and Miles have feelings about female friendships in Claremont's X-Men.

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A Night Alone at the Marvel Universe Live Stage Show

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Marvel Entertainment

For weeks, a friend of mine had been asking if I’d attend Marvel Universe Live with him. For weeks I had been saying “no,” because I had little interest in attending a two-hour production geared for kids that mainly consists of people running around in costumes on the floor of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The mistake I made was mentioning this to my editor, who then insisted it would be a good idea for me to attend.

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Wait, Did ‘New Suicide Squad’ Just Become DC’s Smartest Team Book?

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When DC Comics launched its "New 52" Universe a few years back, Suicide Squad was pretty much the bottom of a barrel that wasn't really in good shape to begin with. Despite being an attempt to revive one of the best, most elegantly crafted and thought-provoking superhero books of the 1980s, the New 52 version was a noisy, soulless mess that ended up doing almost irreparable damage to characters like Harley Quinn in the name of making something more extreme, in a true late '90s Juggalo sense of the word. When the series was finally canceled and relaunched, I honestly wasn't expecting it to get any better, especially since the new lineup included the addition of one of the worst new DC characters of the past several years.

But we're two issues into what writer Sean Ryan (and about 27 artists so far) is doing with the re-relaunched title, New Suicide Squad, and while I'm not sure, I think it might actually be the smartest team book DC's putting out.

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Here’s The Thing Episode 20: Educational Ninja Comics

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If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.

This week, Chris marks the start of back-to-school season by rolling out of bed at three in the afternoon to talk about all the things you can learn from the extremely educational medium of comic books. Specifically, what you can learn about the ancient art of ninjutsu.

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Astro City #14: One Superhero’s Robot Trash Is One Woman’s Robot Treasure [Preview]

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Since it began nearly 20 years (!) ago, writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson's Astro City has offered up superhero tales from the perspective of the regular humans who encounter them. Clearly, it's proven to be a concept with some serious longevity. The creative team is still coming up with fresh concepts.

Take the newest issue for example. On sale now, issue #14 of the Vertigo series focuses on an elderly woman named Ellie who runs a roadside museum -- the kind one often finds on long drives out West -- full of what seem to be busted-up robot henchmen. To the superheroes who destroyed them on their way to taking down a supervillain, they were just another obstacle. To Ellie, they're showpieces, and, as the title indicates, friends.

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