Sunday, October 30, 2016

Alternates Become Mundane In The Multiversity Deluxe Edition!

The Good: Decent artwork, Moments of plot and character
The Bad: Fourth Wall issue, Characters that are hard to empathize with or care about, Generic villains, Predictible plot progression
The Basics: The Multiversity Deluxe Edition compiles a story that asks readers to re-invest with each chapter and fails to captivate.

When it comes to book reviews, I understand there there is value to be had by thoroughness. I respect thoroughness and I try to deliver it in every review I write. Every now and then, though, there is a concept that fails so spectacularly that it does not warrant a particularly deep exploration of the work. The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is one such concept in graphic novel form. And while it may seem like reducing a 448 page graphic novel into a X paragraph review might seem not particularly fair or useful, The Multiversity hits such a low note with me that it is hard to muster up the effort to write even that much.

The Multiversity in its Deluxe Edition form is a nine-chapter volume that tells a story set in the DC Comics Multiverse and the idea was one that instantly fascinated me and made me excited to read the book. But, the execution of the idea fell so dramatically shy of my hopes and expectations that it became one of the worst literary chores for me to muster myself to get through. The thing is, unlike most works, I know exactly where The Multiversity started to lose me. The Multiversity includes in its narration a series of breaks in the Fourth Wall where the adversaries in the book address the readers directly and use the comic book as a means of propagating itself through the multiverse. As a result, the deluxe edition of The Multiversity effectively reduces the DC Comic Book Universe to a Comic Book Universe even within its own narrative and that entirely guts the reality of the book and all of the threats within it. In other words, The Multiversity forces the reader to accept that they are only reading about comic book characters who have no reality outside the page and as such are not vital individuals in actual mortal peril.

Within The Multiversity Deluxe Edition, the story is familiar and not overly complex, which is somewhat surprising given how most of the chapters occur within entirely different universes from the chapter that preceded and follows it. On one of the many Earths throughout the DC Multiverse, the final Monitor, Nix Uotan is captured by The Gentry, a legion of multiverse terrorizing monsters. While Uotan is captured, a team of great heroes from across the Multiverse assembles and forms the superteam Justice Incarnate to save Nix Uotan and the multiverse itself from the monsters of The Gentry.

The Multiversity Deluxe Edition features such novelties as the Superman Of Earth-23, who is President and a whole chibi Justice League. Several of the chapters are simply stories set on their respective Earth and are used to illustrate how that distinct universe is formed and is dealing with the threats it faces . . . while it is attacked within the story by an insidious comic book that tells of impending threats to the multiverse.

But the whole concept does not allow the reader to invest or care about the characters, as almost every chapter has an entirely different cast of characters and setting. The chapters are essentially glimpses into a different universe before that universe is put behind the reader and they are thrown into an entirely different universe. Then, the reader is given a story that menaces the entire Multiverse . . . without any of the familiar DC Universe characters fighting the war. So, the reader is asked to believe that The Gentry is such an incredible, massive enemy that can destroy the multiverse . . . but that none of the familiar heroes we know and love are up to the task of even being a part of the attempt to save it.

The artwork in The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is excellent. Each chapter for the different universes is rendered in a different style and coloring to make each one distinct. But even the decent artwork is not enough to make the reader care about the characters, the obvious plot, nor make me want to spend more time thinking about the work that failed to engage me.

For other works by Grant Morrison, be sure to check out my reviews of:
52 - Volume 1
JLA: Earth 2
JLA: New World Order
Batman R.I.P.


For other book reviews, check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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