As the genre of superhero comics has become increasingly event-driven over the last thirty years, the need to push each event as more important than the last has increased with it. Every new event promises, somehow with a straight face, that “nothing will ever be the same again.”
There are, in fact, comics that actually affect everything that comes after them one way or another — Action Comics #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Uncanny X-Men #132 — but they rarely come with much fanfare, or with empty and overreaching promises. One such comic debuted on this day in 1961: Flash vol 1 #123, “The Flash of Two Worlds.”
Q: I was reading your column about New Teen Titans where you said Crisis on Infinite Earths was a mess, but a topic for another time. Care to explain now? -- @jeremyliveshere
A: The one thing you can't say about Crisis on Infinite Earths is that it didn't deliver on its promise. In a time when "event" comics were still in their infancy, Crisis came out of the gate promising to be the biggest thing that had ever or would ever hit comics, and looking back on it from almost thirty years later, it's hard not to admit that even with a comic rolling out every six months like clockwork that promises to change everything forever, it's still the one that actually did it. Worlds did live, worlds did die, and nothing actually was the same again.
It just also happens to be a story that's a complete friggin' mess.
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.
Compounding many longtime DC Comics fans' confusion with respect to the revised histories of the publisher's superhero characters, Co-PublisherDan DiDio confirmed that tent-pole storylines Crisis On Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis and all such universe defining Crises did not occur in DC's New 52 universe...
Since the announcement of DC's line-wide relaunch hit last week, readers have been wondering what exactly all of this means for the publisher and their comics. Titles, creators and even distribution methods are all up in the air in what's turning out to be a pretty huge shake-up...
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