This week Grant Morrison introduces us to Multiversity, and Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips bring The Fade Out!
Multiversity #1 (DC Comics)
The wait is over: Grant Morrison’s magnum opus, Multiversity, is finally on the shelf. This alternate universe-spanning tale has been building in Morrison’s brain for ten years, and now, it’s finally out. Multiversity #1, drawn by Ivan Reis, is the first in a series of one-shots that will tell the whole Multiversesity tale. But with so much hype around this issue, is it any good? Hell, is it even readable?
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Morrison die-hard. Many times I feel like he has extremely awesome ideas that tend to fall flat once they reach their endpoint. I loved the start of his epic Batman run, but by the time Batman, INC. rolled around, I started to lose interest. I also tend to find a lot of his “Morrison Science” explanations for things to be, well, weird. Seeing as how Multiversity was going to deal with the many alternate Earths in the DC universe, I was intrigued, but still skeptical for how accessible Morrison’s Multiversity would be.
I’ll get this out of the way now: this book is weird. Really, REALLY weird. There’s no question at all, this comic is definitely a Grant Morrison book. From the first panel you’re thrown into the story, which revolves around multiple heroes from different Earths being called upon to save the multiverse, which is under threat by a mystical force. They are called upon to assemble a team to help them by jumping into the worlds of different comic books, which are the gateways to the different worlds. There’s still plenty of weird Morrison pseudo-science and over explaining things, though, including a giant mystical eyeball with arms threatening the world, the Superman from Morrison’s Action Comics #9, and Captain Carrot.
There’s a LOT of material in this issue for Morrison to cover, and while not all of it fits (or makes sense), the parts that do work pretty well. It’s way too soon to call this a masterpiece of comic work, but at the same time, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this issue, even though the Marvel inspired characters from the “Major Comics” universe are pretty lame.
Ivan Reis’ art is spectacular in this issue, and is definitely the strongest thing about it. The way he depicts the different heroes from the alternate Earths is awesome, and the page where the Earth-23 Superman is introduced to the other heroes that have been brought to the “Hall of Heroes” is pretty spectacular. The only piece of Reis’ work that doesn’t fit in this issue is his depiction of Captain Carrot. He looks way too out of place drawn in the style that Reis has him in, and there’s a part of me that wonders if the character would look better if he was drawn like he came from one of the original Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew comics of old.
Multiversity is finally here, and while it may be tempting to start calling this the new “greatest thing Grant Morrison has written”, we’ve still got a LOT of story to go before we can make that call. For now, Multiversity has gotten off to a pretty good (if shaky) start. We’ll just have to see how the rest of the story plays out.
The Fade Out #1 (Image Comics)
The latest collaboration between Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, The Fade Out, is absolutely stellar. Telling the story of life in the seedy underworld of 1940’s Hollywood, this is a book that immediately grabs your interest, and has the potential to stand alongside the pair’s great works Incognito, Fatale, and Criminal.
Our story revolves around Charlie Parish, a screenwriter who’s waking up from a very bad hangover after partying at the house of a famous actor. Oh, there’s also the body of a Hollywood starlet in his room too. With little recollection of the night before, and no way of knowing who killed the actress, he cleans up any trace of himself being there and goes about his day. But as the news of the actress’ death start making the rounds, he starts to learn startling details that aren’t true about her death. He can’t tell the truth, because then he may go to jail for murder. But he also has a nagging feeling that he needs to tell someone…but who can he turn to?
Right away The Fade Out grabbed my interest and didn’t let go. I love Criminal and Incognito, and I also love stories about “Old Hollywood”, so naturally I had a good idea that I’d love this series. But man, I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. Ed Brubaker continues his incredible gift of putting characters in extremely tense situations, and the stress surrounding Charlie is almost unbearable (and this is just the first issue). Sean Phillips’ art is spectacular as well. He captures the glamour of the era perfectly, but also gives it a sense of darkness underneath all of the glitz.
At this point if a book has the names “Ed Brubaker” and “Sean Phillips” on it, buy it. Don’t even look to see what it’s about. Just pick it up. These two are one of the powerhouses of modern comics, and by all accounts, The Fade Out looks to continue their hot streak. This is a stellar first issue that deserves all of your money.