Go On, Let's Have An Annotated Reading Of Multiversity: Society Of Super-Heroes: Conquerors From The Counter-World #1

Sage Ashford offers his Annotated Reading of  The Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter-World #1 from DC Comics by Grant Morrison and Chris Sprouse.


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The  "Immortal Man" is a version of Anthro, the First Boy, created by Howard Post in Showcase #74 back in 1968. This isn't the first time Grant Morrison's used Anthro, as he appeared back in Final Crisis as the first man Metron chose to give the skill to make fire. Though in this case he's clearly markedly different–a caveman who was granted immortality and intelligence far beyond his Cro-Magnon peers, surviving into the far future.

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This one's a bit more obscure than the Immortal Man, or at least I think so. Iron Munro is a character that first appeared in Shadow Comics back in the 1940's.  A more modern version, named Arn Munro, was used as a "replacement" for Golden Age Superman following the Crisis–but since this book is supposed to be pulp Morrison went for the original name. There's also a connection between Munro and Pratt via Kate Spencer's father, but that might be a bit of a reach.

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On Earth-22 (Kingdom Come), the illegitimate son of Bruce Wayne and Talia was named Ibn al Xu'ffasch–it's safe then to assume this is probably Talia's son, though it's doubtful Batman has anything to do with it this time.

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And here's the supposed "cursed" comic that's set on our Earth again. Though comics are how each universe will communicate with the next, I suspect we'll see it more than any other over the course of Multiversity.

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To give things a shake-up, Grant's decided to make Abin Sur the Green Lantern of this world.  But unlike on New Earth, Abin has the appearance of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott. This is mostly to continue reference Golden Age heroes without using the main ones. However, the way DC explained Alan Scott's "magic lantern" powers initially when they were trying to make him fit with the new "space cop" is that at the beginning of time, the Guardians of the Universe collected all the magic of the universe and placed it into a single meteor that ended up on Earth. From that meteor,  the original Green Lantern of Earth, Alan Scott, created the lantern and ring. It's very possible that in this universe, the Guardians simply decided to use all of that collected magic to power their Corps, rather than turn to the Light of Will.

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Two alternate worlds crashing into one another.  Sound familiar? One of the reasons Grant was kind of excited to get this book out onto the market was that some of the ideas he'd had for Multiversity were beginning to surface in other comic books.

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If the technology seems a bit strange for a world that you would think is set in the 1930s, apparently this world is still set around the 2000's, so a lot of the technological advances we've had still exist–Grant just wanted the pulp-y aesthetic.

Also worth mention: This universe, like the New 52 one, has existed in comic form now for five years.  Of course, for most of those five years they battled Vandal Savage and his Society of Super-Villains.

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It's one of the strangest advertising methods I've ever seen. Getting people to read your book, by telling them NOT to read your book, but here it is again.

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It seems the aftermath of Final Crisis had far more repercussions than we were initially lead to believe, as the Gentry found their way into our multiverse after that battle.

We also get a reference to Nix Uotan's fate against the Gentry. In a battle against beings which can destroy the very laws of physics, time should (and does not) have any meaning.  But now we see for sure that their battle reverberated through all the universes, with Earth-20 having its own story of Nix and how he fell.

Of smaller note, but still important: Niczhuotan, an Aztec-like reinterpretation of Nix's true name.

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Initially I thought he was going to say "Super-Monitor" here, but that doesn't quite track.  There's still much story left to be told, but my wild guess here is that I think Grant is trying to tell us that Nix Uotan is the father of superheroes.

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This isn't normal, even for Vandal Savage. The battle with the Gentry is occurring on a massive scale, in all realities and across time. The Gentry have chosen certain people to be their agents of change, and Nix Uotan has done the same.

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Befitting of a man named Faust, Felix has always been a magician with a nasty habit of granting his soul to unspeakable evil for the sole purpose of gaining power. Grant's only taken that to the next level.

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In order to defeat Blockbuster, Atom is forced to use the Deadly Atom Punch, the final lesson he claimed to never have learned from Iron Munro. This is important. Each of the Society of Superheroes has a bit of a fall from grace in this issue. Atom had sworn not to take a life.

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If doctors have any sort of concept of "sin" in their world, then the worst and most cardinal is that of torture–to inflict pain, rather than take it away. And so Doc Fate's morals fail him at a time when he could certainly use them the most.

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Not hugely important, but still worth a mention–in Geoff Johns' Sinestro Corps War, we learned that originally to become a yellow lantern one had to face their greatest fear. It makes sense that Parallax, on any Earth, is capable of making not just potential lanterns but all people see their greatest fears.

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A glimpse at the Sinestro of Earth-40, what appears to be a strange, evil version of Zatara.

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Aaand, here we go.  The last of them falls, as the Immortal Man is forced to murder Vandal Savage. Why is this so important? When the Gentry first confronted Nix Uotan on Earth-8, they told him "We want to make you like us". Their goal is to twist, corrupt, and pervert everything they touch.   We saw at the end of Multiversity #1 they seemed to have succeeded with Nix. Earth-20 was meant to be a world that created great heroes.  But now, marred by five straight years of war, their heroes have been forced to turn down much darker paths.

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And so, this issue ends much like the last–with Nix Uotan, Destroyer of Worlds having risen to pass judgment on the heroes he had once sworn to protect. We seem to be in deep trouble here…

Guess we'll just have to hope Earth-16 can do better. See you guys next month!

Sage Ashford is a college kid with far more hobbies than he has free time.  You can find him on Twitter @SageShinigami, but also at his own blog Jumping in Headfirst.

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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