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.
The practice of human sacrifice is as ancient as human civilization and has been practiced variously by various cultures, but most often to pacify gods or nature in the same manner of animal sacrifices. For example, maidens being tossed into volcanoes to keep them from erupting, or victims being buried at the foundations of castles, temples or bridges to protect the constructions from ruin.
We're way past human sacrifice now, of course, but fictional character sacrifice? Today's super-comics creators seem rather devoted to that particular ritual, with many an "event" story arc beginning with the death of a character, as if they were being sacrificed to bless the ensuing narrative.
The latest example is DC Comics' three-book Trinity War crossover, which begins in earnest this week but has been slowly ramping up in several books, most notably Justice League of America, where one of the publisher's oldest and best-known characters was seemingly killed recently.
Be warned, for below there are spoilers for stories as old as 2004's Identity Crisis and as recent as Justice League of America #5.
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Cheap explosions, wasted friends, charred flesh and the strong possibility of irreparable physical damage – while it may be okay for Robert Evans's weekly brunch, it's a bit much for the average person to endure, even on 4th of July weekend.
While Ian and Seacord are off at Otakon this week, they asked me to assure their loyal readers that they'll be back next week ... and if we're all very, very good, they may even return not only with tales from the front, but with photographic evidence of the wondrous sights they saw in Charm City.
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