Multiversity: Five Things We Know

Grant Morrison's Multiversity, in spite of being reportedly a major undertaking and having been in the works for years now, is largely shrouded in mystery, with most fans having little or no idea about what exactly it will entail. There are some things we do know, though, and after Morrison gave away a few more details to 1. Big Ideas Morrison wants to tackle Watchmen in this book. After years of feuding with Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore, and especially of Moore accusing Morrison of attempting to ape his style, it's difficult to imagine the writer wanting to wade into that territory if he didn't have something to say. That's been the order of the day with Morrison's post-JLA superhero work; while that series was primarily just a good Justice League book, things like All-Star Superman, 52, and Morrison's unique takes on Superman and Batman seem aimed at taking a huge high concept and then finding out what happens when you let yourself and your artists run wild in that playground for a while. The difference here? Multiversity is a number of self-contained stories, with bookends holding it all together. So it's not going to be one big story, like Morrison's Action Comics run, but rather a half-dozen big stories playing off each other.

2. Familiar faces Characters unseen since the launch of the New 52 will show up, including The Question, Ted Kord the Blue Beetle and members of the Marvel Family. This is particularly notable, since even though the Powers That Be have allowed for a Multiverse in the New 52, they haven't shown a lot of variety in terms of what characters are allowed to show up, or what previous/alternate versions of characters might be allowed to appear in titles like Worlds' Finest and Earth 2. This, combined with recent rumblings that Gail Simone's The Movement will include a previously-"benched" character, seems to suggest DC is beginning to remember that the breadth and depth of their character library is one of the things that makes them interesting and valuable. 3. Rotating Creative Teams Morrison will write the whole thing, but so far we only know two of the five artists who will be working with him--Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart. That said, the fact that each "chapter" has its own creative team is interesting in and of itself--and it also indicates a commitment to getting the project done on time and the way Morrison pictures it that was missing when the writer's hand-picked Final Crisis collaborator got replaced in midstream.

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4. This Counts Even though DC has made it clear that a lot of pre-New 52 concepts and characters aren't welcome anymore, that doesn't change the fact that this story apparently "counts," and will play into how some of its heroes and villains are depicted going forward in the New 52. This hasn't been expressly said, I don't think, but it's certainly the implication that DC has been sending out for a while now, indicating that any number of things are waiting on Morrison's story before they move forward at full steam. 5. Coming Soon That's really key. After years of this being a rumor, and then a confirmed-but-unannounced rumor, and then tentatively announced, the project made its first appearance on the DC blog earlier this year and has been appearing in the mainstream media a bit since. Morrison talked to SFX about the upcoming first installment ofMultiversity, centering around the Charlton characters and titled Pax Americana, in the issue currently on sale. Even beyond the notion of losing face if the book, now repeatedly cited as a 2013 project, doesn't see the light of day this year, there's the fact that Morrison is stepping away from mainstream superheroics for a while, and likely doesn't want a huge piece of continuity porn hanging over his head unfinished.