A project in the works since 2009, Grant Morrison’s Multiverse-spanning project is finally underway. The most epic of all epic superhero fisticuff-slinging comic book events, Multiversity has hung in the air alongside Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis and the recent New 52 relaunch as the next big thing since comic strips got foil covers.
From the details spilled over at TheHollywoodReporter, it sounds a helluva lot like his cult hit Seven Soldiers of Victory… which ain’t exactly a bad thing, is it?… or is it?
The story is an eight-issue series comprised of six one-shots and a two-part story, featuring different titles but working under the rubric of Multiversity. Each issue features a 38-page lead story and an eight-page back-up. They are set for release in late 2013.
Additionally, each issue will be drawn by a different artist, and while DC is keeping most names under wraps, it is confirming Frank Quitely as the artist for the fourth book, Pax Americana. Morrison worked with Quitely on landmark runs of All-Star Superman, Uncanny X-Men and We3, among others and Heat Vision presents an exclusive first-look from the book here.
Multiversity presents alternate realities and parallel worlds, something that DC was on the forefront comics-wise when, in 1961, it had the original Flash from the 1940s meet his more modern counterpart.
Morrison has been working on the comic for the past six years and he says he has never approached writing a comic the way he is writing Multiversity. Nor has he ever spent so much time on a project.
“Most comics are done in a improvisational way,” he explains. “Deadlines make it so you don’t have a lot of time to really work it and do a lot of revisions, so most of what you see is first draft. But for this one, I wanted to do a proper book about superheroes. So I’ve been writing this more like a screenplay, where you write drafts and then redraft and redraft again. And basically polish things down to as much as a sheen as I can possibly manage.”
Each issue will feature comics about the adventures of the previous story’s heroes, an idea introduced in that historic issue of Flash.
“If you’re having a war across multiple parallel realities, one way they can contact each other is to publish comic books that others can read and know what’s going on,” says Morrison. “So in each parallel reality you’ll see one of them is reading the comic that you just read the month before and finding out what happened to the good guys, giving them a chance to defeat the bad guys in the next one. They are kind of passing on, in a chain, their own adventures.”
Pax Americana, being unveiled at MorrisonCon, features heroes such as the Blue Beetle, The Question and Captain Atom, part of the group of characters known as the Charlton heroes, named after the company bought by DC in 1983. The heroes were supposed to be used by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the mid-1980s, but after the company saw Moore’s controversial plans, it balked and made him create new heroes, which led to the groundbreaking Watchmen.
The Pax story revolves around the assassination of a president and how the Charleston characters failed him. “We’re taking the characters and applying it back to Watchmen and seeing what we could get. Nobody has really used those Alan Moore tricks in 25 years so it seemed right to take that very tight, controlled, self-reflecting storytelling and seeing if we can do something new with it.”
He adds, “It’s not trying to be Watchmen, it’s more of an echo of a storytelling technique of Watchmen.”