Superman #14 Returns to the Familiar Multiverse Without Copying Morrison
Writers: Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inks: Joe Prado
We’re still waiting for the long-term ramifications of Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity to manifest. The story was, in this reviewer’s opinion, Morrison’s magnum opus and both summarized and made cynical everything we love about DC Comics. It’s just that after the story came and went–poof. DC really hasn’t been able to figure out what to do with its library of 52 worlds since Convergence. Earth-2 is still going, but the Earth One line seems defunct, and…well, there’s still 49 worlds to go which remain untapped. We’ve yet to see any progress on Morrison’s announced The Multiversity Too project.
So Tomasi and Gleason have taken an inter-story break from their Superman storylines to tap into the unused goodness of The Multiversity with a Superman twist. “Multiplicity” isn’t trying to replicate the original story–although bringing in the art team of Reis and Prado does give it the feel of a comfortable pair of slippers–but instead just picks up the toys that Morrison and a few other writers left on the table when he finished the story, which seems to be how Morrison intended it.
Indeed, The Multiversity‘s one limiting factor was that Morrison focused on re-creating several classic multiverse worlds. It acknowledged that the other toys existed (like analogues of other comic companies, a pirate world, and a world where heroes were amalgamated), but didn’t go into detail on where they came from. So Tomasi and Gleason are tilling that unused soil by making a Superman-centric plot. Namely, some as-of-yet villains are collecting–consuming, really–Supermen from across the Multiverse. A chance encounter between “our” Superman and the one from Red Son brings Clark into the larger conflict and a meeting with OJI. Presumably, we’ll see a lot more Supermen next issue, as the last page suggests. This could be a lot of fun for those of us wanting to see what lies across the 52
But it’s also an opportunity for the creators to continue to explore the mystery of who is this Superman we’ve been reading? To date, we’ve assumed he’s the rebooted post-Crisis Superman who dates back to 1986, and that’s the backstory we’ve been given. But these villains and their “Lyst” are seeking Kenan Kong as Earth-0’s Superman, not Clark, and indeed, they seem to not recognize him as a Superman. The story continues to hint that Clark isn’t actually Clark, and we’ll just have to see how much of the curtain gets pulled back by this story.
Otherwise, the story isn’t too weighed down by the Superman mystery, and mostly it’s a goofy neo-Silver Age story rooted in one of the great Morrisonian works. It doesn’t try too hard to be The Multiversity, but for those of us who loved it, it’s a nice follow-up.
Rating: Four capes out of five.
Of all the Rebirth books, I’ve been surprised how much I love Superman. This creative team gets everything that makes him special. Adding in the Multiversity crew just has me that much more excited going forward.