With the Second Wave of the New 52, DC will reintroduce the Multiverse, the mulitple-earthed solution to continuity issues, with titles like Earth 2 and World’s Finest.What do you think about the Multiverse coming back? The Retcon Punchers sound off. Welcome to the Chat Cave
Shelby: Oh, Multiverse, you confuse me so. Trying to keep track of the Multiverse is, to me, akin to herding cats in a straight line: a mildly amusing, but ultimately impossible endeavor. Honestly, I think the Multiverse is just silly; come on, have you ever read the Wikipedia list of Multiverse worlds? Originally, it was meant to enable cross-overs between Golden and Silver Age comics, and has since been compressed, smoothed out, re-shaped, forgotten, remembered, and now apparently relaunched. It is a sink-hole of continuity issues and alternate realities.
It feels weird to say that I’m not a fan of the Multiverse, because it’s such an integral part of the DC universe. In part, that’s why I don’t like it. I think that the whole thing is just overly inflated and difficult to penetrate. I thought the point of the relaunch was to clean things up, create a fresh start. It’s safe to say that, if not for the relaunch, I wouldn’t be reading comic books like I am today. As it was, there was no way for someone to just pickup and start reading a title, not with the weight of the entire Multiverse riding on your shoulders. So why bring it back when we’ve barely firmed up the stories of the relaunch? And honestly, to me, the Multiverse mostly serves as a foundation for a large cross-over event. We just had the cross-over of Flash Point, a massive relaunch, and we’re gearing up for the Court of Owls crossover; it’s too soon! Let me just enjoy what we’ve got now!
Drew: To me, the multiverse doesn’t make sense in post-relaunch DC, both in their comics continuity and in their business model. The relaunch was meant to clean-up, update, and clarify the continuity of over 70 years of comic stories. The goal was both to make comics approachable to newcomers and to shut-up the petty continuity-philes who would rather quibble about minor continuity errors than enjoy a good comic. Those continuity-philes felt a little neglected in the relaunch, as DC more-or-less said “much of this stuff you care so much about never happened.” The continuity-philes cried foul, calling themselves DC’s loyal fan-base, which maybe they were, but that doesn’t mean DC could do anything to stop them from complaining. Introducing the multiverse in the second wave seems like a ploy to appease these whiners, but it ends up reneging on what I thought was the promise of a simpler DC universe.
I can appreciate why DC would want to bring the multiverse back; it frees them up to tell stories outside of their own continuity, which allows artistic teams to come up with fun, adventurous stuff. What I find unfortunate is that the multiverse attempts to corral those fun, adventurous stories into a coherent continuity when it really doesn’t need to. I appreciate it’s there to make sense of things that kind of do have their own continuity, say DC’s animated universe, or the world of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight books, but I don’t see the point in building up multiple universes in the mothlies. Why does everything have to fit into a continuity? Why does DC get to decide which stories are or aren’t part of the histories of fictional characters? Maybe these are things I’ll never understand, but I’m happy to hash this out in the comments.
Peter: I agree with Drew, in that the Multiverse doesn’t really make sense in the DCnU. With the major reboot, and the end of Flashpoint, the idea was to consolidate a lot of the multiverse into a smaller, easier to understand DC universe. Hence, the merging of content from the Vertigo Universe and the Wildstorm Universe into the mainstay DC Universe, and poof! new DC. Why DC is bringing it back, overall seems like a olive branch to those readers who loved the Multiverse too much; just like you know that guy who loves that obscure thing(I’m looking at you Dr. Who) too much. But here is the kicker, what if it works? What if, via the Second Wave, DC has taken their old and confusing Multiverse, and, like they are currently doing with a lot of their major stories, are stripping it down and starting over, and make a new one?
The Multiverse is a very potent storywriting tool. It pretty much allows whoever is writing a story to explain away pretty much anything that could ever possibly happen, ever. When you look at it, so much of the old DC Universe was built on the Multiverse Theory. Look at some of the major crossover and Universe changing events; Crisis of Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis. While all of these Crises Events molded the DC Universe into what it is today, starting in 1985. That was really the last time DC did a major re-do on their universe, and it worked. People loved it, people hated it, but ultimately it set the tone for DC Comics for the next 26 years. Now with the reboot of the old, and now the addition of the new Multiverse, starting with the addition of just Earth-2, it gives DC a chance to go back and build something new, with fresh eyes. I understand why they did the reboot in the first place, and I understand why they are bringing the Multiverse back. It allows them to write stories in a new setting, not dictated by writers who wrote stories 20 years ago, but a fresh look on lots of old concepts, and a fresh start with some new ones. I just hope they don’t screw it up.
Patrick: To quote Spinal Tap lead-singer David St. Hubbins “There’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” I always suspected that the world of comic books was far dumber than I could possibly imagine. Before getting into Green Lantern about a year ago, I had heard vague stories about parallel universes (as separate and distinct from both the Bizarro Universe and the Anti-Matter Universe [but also as distinct from “Elseworlds”]). While this concept sounds profoundly stupid – and is often executed in profoundly stupid ways – very few other mediums would even attempt to tell some of the stories DC’s Multiverse tackles.
My favorite example of this will always be Superman Prime. Prime hails from our universe – the real world. But as universes start to collide, Prime is pulled in to the superhero-populated worlds so he can fight along side his favorite heroes to stop the Anti-Monitor from devouring various realities. It’s like The Neverending Story, but it gets so much darker. Prime ends up losing his home world and has to live in what he perceives to be a fictional universe forever, and he flips out. From his perspective, he’s a kid throwing a tantrum with his toys, but from all other perspectives he’s a psycho-killer with unlimited power. Also, he got so mad he punched the universe and altered reality – a move that would later be dubbed by fans the “ret-con punch.” Obviously, I’m a fan of that phrase.
In short, the Multiverse is insane. Insanity is a fine destination, but it’s no way to start a narrative. I’m going to pick up both Earth Two and World’s Finest, but I really hope we’re a couple years away from going full-on Multiverse. What if they keep it to just the two?