The Multiversity: Mastermen #1
Story : Grant Morrison
Art: Jim Lee
Inks: Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Jonathan Glapion
Color: Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
Multiversity has been one elaborate Grant Morrison wet dream. We’ve seen the most abstract of ideas become solid concepts under the writer’s architecture of strange Earths. In Mastermen, he doesn’t just bring us an Earth where Superman’s rocket landed in Nazi Germany; he brings Jim Lee along to make the series best incomplete story yet.
The Earth as we know it is vastly different. On Earth-10 our Clark Kent never existed; instead the baby from Krypton became the right hand of the Furor, a Nazi ultimate weapon known as Overman. Even the Justice League is made up of Axis variants of DC’s mightiest heroes. Though when you read it, Leatherwing doesn’t stray far from the tactics of the Batman we know. Telling the rewritten history of Earth in one issue is a monumental task. One that Morrison takes strategic liberties with and it doesn’t always pay off. In fact without spoiling the story details, the sequence of events goes: rocket landing in Germany, skip ahead 17 years, Overman and the Nazis conquer America, skip ahead 60 years and to the formation of the Freedom Fighters as they begin the liberation of Germerica. Key events in Overman’s upbringing and the war are left out. Though they never feel vital, it certainly would have been an interesting part of the overall story.
Jim Lee brings action packed fury he’s become iconic for. The entire spectacle missing from his WildC.A.T.s collaboration with Morrison is here and it’s just gorgeous. Using four inkers on the book doesn’t turn out to be the hindrance it could have been. You’ll notice differences in the style from page to page, but never so much that it takes you out of the narrative. We’ve seen Jim Lee draw Superman and the rest of the Justice League a ton of times over the last few years, but he manages to make the redesigns in Mastermen feel like it’s Batman #608 all over again.
Mastermen is a sprint through erupting volcanoes in the middle of a gunfight with doves flying everywhere. You’ll never quite catch a break until you’re slammed into the brick wall ending. If the book’s mission was to sell Earth-10 as an interesting world you’d want to know more about then it’s a win. If the aim was to tell a complete story… then it’s missing a few pages. Ultimately it’s Jim Lee and Jim Lee books are like pizza. Even when you had your heart set on something else, pizza never sounds like a bad choice.
Also what’s up with Batman not skipping leg day here:
In the multiverse there’s an Earth where celebrities leak nude photos of you on twitter and we’re all still on dial-up internet because AOL enslaved us with that horrible modem noise.