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Author Topic: Is it even desirable at this point for the Multiverse to return?  (Read 16412 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: January 18, 2007, 07:24:39 AM »

There's been a lot of talk lately about DC going back to the multiverse concept, with the events of INFINITE CRISIS and the revelations of 52.

If you had told me the multiverse would be restored four or five years ago, I would have been thrilled. The biggest and most arbitrary mistake DC ever made was eliminating the multiverse, which not only created the mother of all continuity glitches, it also made for a million bad decisions: for instance, Superman no longer being the first superhero anymore.

For the most part, the reason, to me, that the singleverse was not exciting was because nobody had a vision of how to tie it all together. There were the usual (boring) explanations about how Alan Scott was connected to the Earth-1 Green Lanterns.

Even the more interesting things about the new singleverse, namely, the presence of the Fawcett and Charleston heroes rubbing shoulder to shoulder with the DC heroes, elicited a yawn: sure, there was the great Len Wein BLUE BEETLE miniseries, but then Giffen got his greasy meat hooks on the character and he was never the same again.

In other words, everything they did with the singleverse was boring.

Then came Geoff Johns and his JUSTICE SOCIETY.

He tied everything together - it was a fanboy's dream. If you haven't read Geoff Johns's JSA, do yourself a favor and pick them up in trade paperback; you won't regret it.

How does Rick Hunter factor into the early history of the JSA? The singleverse was all worth it to see Shazam as chief advisor to Khufu...who just discovered a Thanagarian crashed shuttle...to say nothing of Black Adam's participation! Phillip Jose Farmer could not have done better.

And finally, Geoff Johns used the fact the JSA were predecessors of the other teams, NOT to steal the thunder of the Silver Age heroes, but to give the JSA its own unique identity and role as elder statesmen, one that would not make sense in a multiverse. This attitude is best summarized by this quote by Black Canary:

"The world may look up to the Justice League and the Teen Titans. But the Justice League and the Teen Titans look up to US."

Without the singleverse context, the JSA just becomes "the JLA of an alternate earth."

Then you have the menaces that Geoff Johns has had the JSA fight: a young, dark and evil version of Mordru, for instance (giving the most astonishing wizard's duel of Doctor Fate's career), and a spy story featuring Submarines and Mr. Terrific vs. Kobra, to say nothing of the JSA's battles with the former Hawk, Extant, Monarch of Time...all stories not possible with a multiverse except by resorting to tacky means like inter-universe travel - which implies high-stakes and cosmic power/technology and may not be appropriate for all villains. Not to mention the awkwardness of a storybeing rewritten to take into account inter-universe distance.

The invention of a shared universe meant that Superman could fight Weather Wizard and the JLA can fight Darkseid. The invention of the multiverse means the JSA can battle Kobra's cult/spy organization.

And then we have the Antimatter Earth that Grant Morrison created, which Kurt Busiek developed and perfected in his classic but brief JLA arc - a tale not possible with Earth-3.

Alan Brennert's tales needed the multiverse to make sense. Likewise, Geoff Johns needs the singleverse. He's proven you can make the singleverse "work," and that in some ways it is an improvement over a multiverse...because everything can tie together regardless of its original dimensional location.

So my question is this: in a DC that is post-Morrison, post-Busiek, and especially, post-Johns, is it even necessarily a wise idea to bring the multiverse back? Is it even desirable at this point?

Some stories are, unfortunately, no longer possible without a multiverse. But many other kinds of stories ARE possible with a singleverse that weren't possible before - Wildcat teaching an up-and-coming Bruce Wayne to box is one.

It was a mistake to get rid of the mutiverse, yes, I'll agree. But it was a mistake to kill Barry off, too. Yet, Messner-Loebs and Baron were able to give a unique identity to Wally West so that people eventually stopped asking when Barry will come back. In other words, they created a worthy successor to Barry just as interesting to read about.

In a serial medium like comics, mistakes can't be redeemed by bringing things back the way they were, but by turning a mistake into an opportunity - something Johns's JSA has accomplished.

Messner-Loebs made me stop asking when Barry would be back, and Johns has made me stop asking when the Multiverse will be back.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 07:48:44 AM by JulianPerez » Logged

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Michel Weisnor
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 04:57:48 PM »

I really enjoyed Johns' JSA run (warts and all). JSA mostly cleared up the whole post-crisis Hawkman fiasco while introducing Teth Adam and Khufu into the story, priceless. While Morrison introduced JLA: Earth-2, I thought Kurt Busiek really expounded on CSA in the pages of JLA. Some books were not even written by current writers. In Ostander's Suicide Squad, many villains and heroes from other universe were mixed together for action-packed stories. Denny O'Neill wrote the Question into DCU releaving him of Ditko's intentions. James Robinson integrated all the Golden Age creations together. As an example, I didn't know Red Bee was originally a Quality hero. The list goes on and on.

Now, I don't believe DC is going to split the current earth back into pre-crisis form. However, it's more than likely, the multiverse continued independent of post-crisis DCU. It's just another universe. Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-X are still out there. So, if the current JLA travels through the multiverse, there's a good chance they could run into their Earth-1 counterparts, albiet older. It gives readers an opportunity not to be stuck with one interpretation of their favorite superheroes. Currently, I'm strug-gl-ing through Trials of Shazam. I'm not enjoying the changes to the Marvel Family. Now, there's a chance Earth-S still exists! On Earth-1, the Elliots are raising Super Kid. Captain Carrot saves the day on Earth-C. Classic Ditko characters roam Earth-4.

I'm sure Morrison, Busiek, and Johns know what they are doing.  Wink     
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2007, 12:18:06 AM »

Yes, yes, it is!

The greatest idea ever in comics is back? How can anyone not like that?

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2007, 01:33:06 AM »

Whoa, hold up. I don't deny the multiverse is a great idea, just as I do not deny that Barry Allen was a great character. But thinking Barry was great does not mean that I want Barry to return, with everything that's happened as a consequence of his death and the way his replacement was made equally interesting (though I will admit, it gave me goose pimples to see Barry back in action again in Busiek/Perez's JLA/AVENGERS).

Barry Allen was great, but Barry Allen DIED. And the fact he died was used to propel and tell even more interesting stories about the people around him. Bringing Barry back would be a denial of the idea that life should go on, and comic characters should advance and be propelled forward by events. His return would sabotage retroactively great Wally stories where Wally tries to live up to the mentor he is suddenly without.

The multiverse is a lot like that.

Like Barry Allen, it's classic and "the original." But the singleverse is like Wally West. It was developed in a way to be of equal interest as his predecessor by Johns and others. I would certainly read a book starring Wally (as long as its not written by Mark Waid), and likewiise, the singleverse has been shown as being able to yield something besides screwups.

I guess the point I'm making here is, if they wanted to take the singleverse away in, say, 1992, when the only thing that had resulted from the merged earths was Giffen and headaches...that would have been fine by me.

But NOW, in 2007, when we've had all these clever concepts that only make sense in the context of one single universe, when so much has really been invested in a singleverse and it has been shown by Johns and others as an idea that WORKS and with a charm all its own...restoring the multiverse strikes me as a waste.

I was in favor of bringing Hal Jordan and the GLC back, because that would have been restoring something that serves a purpose. Restoring the multiverse would be a needlessly regressive act that serves NO purpose...well, except for giving Jeph Loeb a nostalgia-boner.
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davidelliott
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2007, 07:05:21 AM »

I long for the multiverse... continuity was tighter and you didn't have to have a "event" every 10 years to reboot the universe cause there were so many continuity problems...

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Gangbuster
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2007, 01:11:27 PM »

The multiverse was a continuity fix, but it was a decent one. I didn't like the idea of having a Superman of Earth-2, but that's another matter.

I think the Multiverse should return, for Captain Marvel's sake. I agree with Maggin that he's a character who needs his own universe, and has trouble existing in the same one as Superman.
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llozymandias
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2007, 11:06:05 PM »

     How would DC returnning to the multiverse concept be a threat to the current DCU?  I doubt that DC is going to "split" the current Earth-DC into Earths 1, 2, 4, S, & X.  It's more likely that they would establish that the current DCU is either another parallel universe of the "Pre-Crisis" DC Multiverse, or that the current DCU is part of an entirely separate multiverse.  There is absolutely no guarentee that a new DC Multiverse means the return of any of the DC Multiverses seen during or before the Crisis on Infinite Earths.


     Having a parallel universe where Barry Allen is still alive as the Flash does not mean that the versions of Barry who died didn't die.  Nor does it mean that any of them have returned from the dead.


     Actually DC never really had a singleverse.  The fact that DC never "got rid" of Qward means that it still had a multiverse even after the big Crisis.  And there is that universe that the assemblers came from.  Chances are that that the current Earth-DC (as it is) will be the Earth-1 of a new DC Multiverse. 
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John Martin, citizen of the omniverse.
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2007, 01:33:09 AM »

While I'd be fine with the return of the multiverse (I agree that Capt. Marvel seems to suffer being in the same reality as Superman), I'm not sure I trust most of their current writers/editors (the ones behind such "stellar" efforts as "Infinite Crisis"/"Identity Crisis") to handle it even remotely well at all...
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