Welcome back, gang, for another stab at Grant Morrison's Multiversity. We had a thread about this title once before, but it petered out. Which was fine, until the second issue came out, which just begs for closer examination. So let's begin again. 

I'm no expert on Morrison, or his themes/hobby horses (I'll leave that to Feargal). But I am pretty familiar with comics history, so at the very least let me point out the trail markers as Morrison does shout-outs forward, backward and sideways. In other words: annotation, not analysis.(You guys can do the analysis!)

Step one is necessarily the Map of the Multiversity DC released. It's not only a blueprint of the DCU, but also a roadmap of sorts for Multiversity. Here 'tis (click for larger image):

Note, for example, that at dead center of the multiverse is the "House of Heroes," which will be referenced in the first issue.

More significantly, while there are 52 worlds, there is an Earth-0 (Us?), so the count will be from 0-51 -- meaning there's no Earth-52. Further, there are seven worlds denoted by question marks, presumably referring to the missing numbers 14, 24, 25, 27, 28, 46 and 49. Earth-30 has a hammer and sickle on it, Earth-10 has a red X on it, Earth-29 is square (Bizarro World?), Earth-26 has cartoon eyes and there oddities like Earth-19 where it's hard to tell what is meant.

But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

THE MULTIVERSITY #1

Cover

We see President Superman, Calvin Ellis of Earth-23, where there's an all-black Justice League, first seen in Final Crisis #7 (2009). We see Captain Carrot of Earth-C (which I imagine will get an official number before this is over), first seen in an insert in New Teen Titans #16 (1982). We also see a Mary Marvel, earth origin unknown, and a red-skinned Green Lantern with horns (Abin Sur of Earth-20). 

Page 1

The camera opens on a city with people running around like bugs, zooming in closer and closer to a woman knocking on a door, closer still to lice in her hair. The omniscient narrator intones about life taking root wherever it can. Morrison often announces his themes with the opening panels, Iike with Anthro in Final Crisis #1, and I don't believe this to be an exception. 

Page 2

A young black male is typing in commentary on the Cosmic Cosmos Forum about a new comic book from DC titled Ultra Comics, which is rumored to be haunted. I don't know if it's significant, but there was a comic book published by Fawcett that ran 14 issues from 1951-53 titled This Magazine Is Haunted.

The man is addressing a stuffed monkey as Mr. Stubbs. Mr. Stubbs was a circus chimpanzee in the 1880 children's book Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus, which was adapted into the Disney movie Toby Tyler in 1960.

The young man is listening to music (presumably) on earphones; music will play a big role in this series, so that might be important.

Page 3

The captions in Ultra Comics appear to be warning not just the young black man but also us readers to not read any further. Morrison has often broken the fourth wall, and appears to be doing so here. Mr. Stubbs comes alive (in a pirate outfit) and urges the young black man to change into his alter ego, Nix Uotan, the last of the Monitors, as seen in Morrison's Final Crisis.

Page 4

Nix Uotan refers to his super alter ego as Superjudge. That's a new reference, unless you count the obscure album by the obscure band Monster Magnet.

Page 5

The comic book has evidently summoned Nix Uotan to Earth-7, which he travels to in a ship named Ultima Thule. "Ultima Thule" was used in ancient times as a generic reference to someplace far away, generally impossible to get to. By Medieval times "Ultima Thule" was used to denote far Northern lands about which little was known, and at various times was a reference for various far-Northern areas, such as Scandinavia, the Shetlands, even an island in the Baltic Sea. The Thule Society, formed in 1918 in Germany, believed that Thule/Hyperborea was a perfect place in antiquity, possibly Atlantis, far in advance of us technologically, and the birthplace of the Aryan race. (As you can imagine, these Aryan-lovers were tight with the Nazis.) In modern times, Thule is a place in Greenland. Whether Morrison is referencing any of this, or even Conan's Hyperborea, or Aquaman's Atlantis, or Lori Lemaris' Atlantis, or even Arion's Atlantis, isn't clear.

Earth-7 is adjacent to the House of Heroes on the map, immediately to the left.

When Superjudge and Mr. Stubbs arrive on Earth-7, it is in ruins. Dead super-people litter the ruins, although I can't distinguish any of them. The words "We Need Your Help" appear in the air.

Page 6

The words in the air are apparently a message from an ethereal, vaporized Invisible Woman analog. A fiery face appears to be a transformed Human Torch analog. A stretched-out Mr. Fantastic analog dominates the foreground, while some of the ruins are sentient and moving, apparently all that's left of this planet's version of The Thing. 

Page 7

Superjudge describes Earth-7 as "so badly out of tune, the laws of physics have been disabled." Another reference to music.

We also meet The Thunderer, the Thor analog of this world, likely based on Australian Aborigine myths or folklore, given his dialect. At his feet are various dead super-people that are avatars of both Marvel and DC characters, including Captain America, Superman, Vision, Blue Devil and Wonder Woman. (There are more, but I can't distinguish them, although one of them is possibly Cyclops.)

Page 9

The chief bad guy appears, announcing he and his kind as The Gentry, who want to remove all hope. Weirdly, he reminds me of the sidekick in Berni Wrightson's Captain Sternn. It's essentially an eyeball with bat wings. That's actually a fairly common image, but I don't know where it comes from.

We see The Thunderer from behind this time, so the figures in the background are clearer. Still can't tell if that's supposed to be a faux-Cyclops or not.

Page 14

Thunderer mentions "the Rainbow or Worlds," possibly a reference to the Multiversity Map. (He also loses his "Thor" powers -- and his front teeth -- as he reverts to Don Blake an ordinary Aborigine.

Page 15

Thunderer says "the Pitiless Ones" are from "behind the invisible rainbow" and are "opposite of everything natural." One must assume again that he is referring to the Multiversity Map, and that The Gentry are from beyond its borders. 

Nix Uotan references "The Orrery" and the "House of Heroes" from the Map.

Page 16

We meet the other Gentry: Dame Merciless, Hellmachine, Lord Broken, Demogorgunn and Intellectron. These names are not familiar to me. The latter two are portmanteaus of Demiurge/Gorgon and intellect/electron. There is a demogorgon in mythology, but it's not a significant figure.

Page 17

The "anti-death equation" is described as something that won't let you die and/or extends the moment of death indefinitely, as opposed to the anti-life equation -- central to Final Crisis -- which removes free will.

Page 18-19

We visit Earth-23 and President Superman. On Earth-23 Brainiac is apparently Superman's computer/major domo. 

Page 20

The President's assistant is Courtney. I am unfamiliar with any significant Courtneys in DC history that look like this twentysomething brunette. Courtney Whitmore is a blonde teenager.)

Page 21

We meet Earth-23's Justice League, whose headquarters resembles the pre-Crisis Justice League's satellite. Members include Steel, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Zatanna, Black Lightning, Batman, Green Lantern, Red Tornado, Vixen and a man in a leather jacket with a half-helmet of gold -- likely Mr. Terrific, but possibly Dr. Fate or Guardian. All are black except possibly Batman, who is probably black, but if he is, he's very light-skinned. 

Superman has destroyed a robot of unknown origin and unknown materials that degrades upon contact with real-world physics -- obviously, something from The Gentry's neck of the woods. Wonder Woman suggest they look for its origins "in higher planes and rare geometries, or in the harmony of spheres where endless worlds and voices sing in rhapsody sublime." 

This might be a good time to mention that all of this talk of music, musical spheres and harmony has resonance with the ancient theory of "the music of the spheres" as well as the original separation of Earth-One and Earth-Two by vibrations.

For Music of the Spheres I can't do better than Wikipedia:

"Musica universalis (lit. universal music, or music of the spheres) or Harmony of the Spheres is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the SunMoon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latinterm for music). This "music" is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept. The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists.

The Music of the Spheres incorporates the metaphysical principle that mathematical relationships express qualities or "tones" of energy which manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes and sounds – all connected within a pattern of proportion. Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.[1] In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum (orbital resonance) based on their orbital revolution,[2] and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.[3] Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.[4]

Meanwhile, the original concept introduced in "Flash of Two Worlds" in Flash #123 (1961) was that each universe vibrated at a slightly different rate, so the Flashes could travel from one world to another by adapting their internal vibration to the universe they wanted to visit. 

Morrison appears to be tying the vibrational concept to a literal Music of the Spheres.

Page 22

On Earth-23, Lex Luthor was trying to access the multiverse with a "Transmatter Symphonic Array" -- which suddenly activates and whisks Superman to ... 

Page 24-25

... the House of Heroes, "outside of normal time and space -- between universes" at the center of the Multiverse (according to the Map). We learn this and a whole lot more exposition from Captain Carrot, who has also been pulled to the House by a Transmatter "Hutch' as have a host of other heroes, each pulled by a Transmatter machine of some kind, which materialized on their worlds after Thunderer sent out an SOS. Captain Carrot describes the fluid in which the worlds exist as "Bleedspace" that's rotating through the fifth dimension (where Mr. Mxyzptlk lives) around a fixed point of the multiversal Orrery of Worlds."

Addendum: Captain Carrot thinks he has met Superman, but he's thinking of the Superman from Earth-One, whom he met in Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew #1. CC says that all humans look alike to him -- a racial slur on our planet, but here, the reverse: Captain Carrot literally cannot tell the black Superman from the white one. They're all equal in his eyes.

He also refers to the House of Heroes as "a watchtower," which has JLA resonance.

It is also called Valla-Hal, Valhalla sideways.

Page 26-27

We meet more heroes snatched up by the SOS. We see (and will later be introduced to) Spore and Dino-Cop (Spawn and Savage Dragon) from Earth-41, Red Racer and Power Torch (Flash and Green Lantern) from Earth-36, Vixen and Bloodwynd (no Earth specified), a Hawkman of unknown origin, Aquawoman of Earth-11 (probably the world of gender swaps we've seen before), Lady Quark and Lord Volt (of Earth-6, first seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4, 1986, and subsequently killed, so these may not be the same ones), plus chibi versions of Wonder Woman and Steel.

Incidentally, the Image planet Earth-41 is exactly on the opposite side of the Map as President Superman's Earth-23, which is probably significant, as we'll see next issue.

Page 28-29

Superman's Brainiac belt buckle makes contacts with the computer which is ... Harbinger. Or "Harbinger Systems," with a big floating Lyla "Harbinger" Mychaels head. Of course, she's been dead for a long time, and even showed up as a Black Lantern in "Blackest Night." She refers to herself as having been sleeping, but ... oh, who knows? Can't have a Crisis without a Harbinger, I guess.

Harbinger says "Earth-4. Earth-5. Earth-10. Earth-16. Earth-20. Earth-33. The Multiverse needs you!"

However, the team that goes to rescue Nix Uotan are not from those planets, so I don't know what that means.

ADDENDUM: Since Earth-20 needs help in the next issue, maybe those are the six Earths we're going to see imperiled in issues #2-7.

Page 30-31

The rescue party will consist of Superman of Earth-23, Thunderer of Earth-7, Red Racer of Earth-36, Aquawoman of Earth-41 and Captain Carrot of Earth-C. (I wonder if Earth-C is Earth-26, the one with the cartoon eyes on the Map? Seems likely.)

We learn that the Ultima Thule is made of "frozen music." 

We learn that Red Racer, like Barry Allen, is a comic book fan.

We learn that the adventures of the various heroes appear in other universes as comic books, just like Barry Allen reading about Jay Garrick back in "Flash of Two Worlds." 

We learn that Red Racer's civilian name is Ray (Palmer?) and Power-Torch's is Hank (Hall?). Their good-byes are very intimate, and one assumes they are gay. Their world's Superman was named Optiman, and he's dead.

The Justice League on Earth-36 is called Justice 9.

Marvel Comics on Earth-36 are called Major Comics.

Page 32

Morrison drives home the Music of the Spheres bit.

Red Racer: "-- vibrations! Of course -- the worlds of the Multiverse vibrate together! Separated only by their different pitches."

Thunderer (who has gotten his powers, and his front teeth, back): Fifty-two worlds occupying the same space. All ringing. It's all one big song."

Superman discovers the Ultima Thule is a trans-dimensional yacht powered by sound vibrations. "A musical engine for traveling between universes." He powers the ship by playing music, and selects destination by alter the pitch. 

Page 33

The crew sees a horrible monster in the Bleed between universes. Remember life taking root wherever it can, filling in every niche? I think that's what is happening here -- and possibly with The Gentry as well.

Page 34

We see Lord Havok (Dr. Doom) facing off against the Future Family (Fantastic Four) on Earth-8. He has the Omni-Gauntlets (Nega-Bands? Infinity Gauntlet?), the Genesis Egg (no idea) and the Lightning-Axe of Wundajin (hammer of Thor) which he claims will give him the Power Eternal (Power Cosmic?).

It should be noted that a Thor analog named Wandjina first appeared in Justice League of America #87 (1971) as part of the Champions of Angor, which included Bluejay (Yellowjacket), Silver Sorceress (Scarlet Witch), Captain Speed (Quicksilver), Bowman (Hawkeye) and Tin Man (Iron Man), all of whom are dead, at least they were.

Pages 35-39

We meet the Retaliators (Avengers) of Earth-8, which include Wundajin (Thor), Crusader (Captain America), Machinehead (Iron Man), David "Behemoth" Dibble (Bruce David "Hulk" Banner), Bug (Spider-Man) and characters that look suspiciously like Falcon, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Hawkeye.

The Behemoth isn't just childlike like the Hulk, he's actually a giant, blue, super-strong baby in a diaper (like Baby Huey). 

Red Racer is the one who knows the names of their foes, from reading Major Comics (Marvel Comics) and seeing their movies. He also mentions the G-Men (X-Men) and Stuntmaster (probably the Daredevil analog, given that the Stuntmaster was a DD villain, but he rode a motorcycle, so he could be a Ghost Rider analog). 

Captain Carrot is governed by cartoon (Tex Avery) physics, which appears to be a super-power of sorts.

Pages 40-43

Lord Havok cracks open the Genesis Egg, apparently killing him (with the help of "Hawkeye") and the Future Family. He dies saying "I saw their faces," which I'm guessing is a reference to The Gentry.

Page 44

Nix Uotan is now calling himself "The Judge of Worlds" and has apparently been corrupted by The Gentry.

Once again the captions speak directly to the reader. If nothing else we should assume that the comic book we are reading is telling true events from elsewhere in the multiverse, and that it is, perhaps, haunted.

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HIT is an acronym, explained early on in the issue. I don't have it in front of me, but I think it stands for Hostile Invasive Thoughtform. So not just an enemy alien -- an enemy alien IDEA.

Oh, thanks! I missed the link.

But how come they're dressed in pajamas? And how old is "Little Miss Redhead"? She looks a little too, ah, mature to be hanging out with little boys in their pajamas!

Their babysitter? The girl was older in the movies Goonies and Monster Squad too. And Adventures in Babysitting, which had Thor references.

I wasn't sure what to make of this.

Let me clear away some of the fog surrounding Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys and Little Miss Redhead.

 

The series débuted in Sensation Comics # 1 (Jan., 1942); the introductory tale was written by Bill Finger and drawn by Jon L. Blummer.  Going by the art in that first story and the next few, the series' protagonists---Tommy Rogers, the son of the local district attorney, and his cohorts, Toughy and Tubby---were intended to be somewhere between ten-to-twelve years old.  At least, that's how old they appeared to be under Blummer's hand.  (Granted, often such things are difficult to distinguish in the cruder art of the Golden Age.)  In any event, nothing in the scripts contradicted the idea that the boys were pre-pubescent.

 

The series went on to have a remarkably decent run, with the boys’ final adventure appearing in Sensation Comics # 82 (Oct., 1948).

 

As to the matter of Little Miss Redhead, her rôle in the series has been overblown.  Many commentaries insist that she was a full-fledged member of the team and imply a prominent presence in the series.

 

In fact, she was never a member of the group, not even by association.  Nor was she much of a presence.

 

Little Miss Redhead was introduced in any eponymously titled story appearing in Sensation Comics # 72 (Dec., 1947).  She was Janie (no last name given) and depicted as a contemporary of Tommy and Toughy and Tubby.  (Not a babysitter or older sister or anything like that.)  As the story describes, a crook named Clipper discovers a way to control the minds of the Blue Boys and compels them to commit illegal acts.  Deciding to investigate, Janie adopts the name of “Little Miss Redhead”, donning a yellow skirted costume and a red wig (to cover her natural brown hair).  Her one notable crimefighting talent is an uncanny skill with a lariat.  Her favourite trick is to employ the stout rope as a bolo.

 

Not surprisingly, Little Miss Redhead is able to free the Blue Boys from Clipper’s mind control, and together, the juvenile crimebusters put Clipper and his gang down for the count.  Note here:  at the conclusion of the story, Little Miss Redhead does not join the Blue Boys, nor is she offered a place on the team for her to turn down.

 

Moreover, she does not become a regular character in the series.  In the ten remaining stories to be published after her introduction, Little Miss Redhead appears in only three of them---Sensation Comics # 75 and # 77 and # 82.  In each of these stories, she operates as an independent “mystery-girl” who happens to cross the paths of the Blue Boys.

 

In other words, she was a small blip in the run of the series.

 

  

As to Cap’s observation that Little Miss Redhead was a bit too nubile for a team of ten-to-twelve-year-old boys, my initial response was that was due to the poor rendition provided by the artist of that 1985 Who’s Who entry on the Blue Boys (which was linked by the Baron).

 

I had to revise my opinion, though, after taking a close look at the one Blue Boys tale that I could find that included an appearance by Little Miss Redhead---“The Secret Crimes”, from Sensation Comics # 77 (May, 1948).  Though the script insists that she and the boys are contemporaries, throughout the tale, she’s drawn with more feminine curves.   I’ve posted one of the final panels of that story below and it’s apparent that Little Miss Redhead is modestly, but noticeably . . . um . . . pronounced.

 

Before our minds go in a direction we don’t want them to go, I want to point out a couple of things.  First, a reminder that Redhead came along at the very end of the series’ run.  Second, yes, ‘way back at the beginning, in Sensation Comics # 1, Jon Blummer’s rendition of the Blue Boys made them appear to be in their pre-teen years.

 

But, not too long after---in issue # 16 (Mar., 1943)---Frank Harry assumed the art chores for the series and drew every succeeding Blue Boys story right down to the end, in issue # 82.  The art I posted above is Frank Harry’s work.  And, sure, the Little Boy Blue getting bussed by Red seems to have the face of a younger boy.  Yet, going through the tale, panel by panel, most of the time, Harry drew the Blue Boys as slightly older than twelve.  This is most noticeable when he draws the boys in their civilian identities.  There, they could be as old as fourteen or fifteen.  [See art insert above.]

 

So it’s quite possible that, over the six years the series ran, some “age-creep” influenced the boys’ appearances.  And by the time Little Miss Redhead was introduced, Frank Harry drew her to conform with series’ stars who were in their early to mid-teens.

 

On the other hand, it doesn’t explain why three hormone-raging teen-age boys didn’t vote her onto the team on the spot!

Whereas if they were still 10-12 they wouldn't have wanted her on the team because they might catch her cooties. I used to read a lot of Hardy Boys clones in junior high and a running gag in many of them was the one girl in a group tended to tower over the guys. Mary Batson started out Billy's twin but got older while he didn't. And Catman's sidekick kitten suddenly became a lot older, causing AC Comics when they used the characters decades later to make up a story to explain her sudden aging.

I'd guess Supersnipe was something like this but Conde Nast won't allow it to be reprinted.

Regarding "Little Boy Blue", I've not read an instalment, but instalments have been recently reprinted in DC's Millennium Edition: Sensation Comics No. 1 and DC Comics Rarities Archive #1. The Sensation Comics #1 story was also reprinted twice in the 1970s, in the tabloid Famous First Edition reprint of the issue and, earlier, Superboy #185.

Thanks for the research, Luke. Sadly, I have all of the books you mention and have read them, but didn't remember a thing about Little Boy Blue. Must not have made a very big impression.

The final issue of Multiversity came out April 29, and here it is May 10 and nobody's posted a word about it! Was it that big a let-down? YOU BE THE JUDGE! (That seems a Morisson-y sort of thing to say.)

 

MULTIVERSITY #2

The cover is a group shot of various characters from various earths, most of whom were shown assembling at the Hall of Heroes in issue #1, which came out three million years ago. (OK, it was about a year ago, but it seems longer.) They consist of (from left) Aquawoman of Earth-11, Red Racer (Flash) of Earth-36, Machinehead (Iron Man) of Earth-8, The Thunderer (Thor) of Earth-7 and Atomic Knight Batman (Batman) of Earth-17.

The legend at left, which usually tells us on what Earth the interior story is set, shows all Earths equally.

PAGE 1

“But just when you thought it was all over! The story continues goes on, with or without you.”

I think we’ve established that Multiversity is commenting on comics while being a comic, and this appears to be a commentary on how comic-book characters continue indefinitely, coming back from the dead over and over, repeating the same themes and stories over and over, and outliving their creators and readers. I don’t know whose voice this is. If it’s the traditional omniscient narrator, then we can ascribe it to Morrison himself.

A second voice appears. It is the Harbinger computer system’s A.I. It is trying to get someone to listen to her, probably the collected characters at the Hall of Heroes. But it could be the first speaker, or the reader.

A third voice appears. It is also a narrator, but one with a florid touch.

A fourth voice appears. It turns out to be Jason Blood on the next page, muttering rhyme.

PAGE 2

We see the “Justice League” of Earth-13, the magic world, in green, light-colored fetters. (They are not Green Lantern constructs, although they look much the same.) Blood (who is wearing a priest’s collar) continues muttering in verse. The captors are vampires.

PAGES 3-4

Jason Blood Transforms into Superdemon (Etrigan is the Superman analog of Earth-13). He strikes down his captors, freeing his fellow captives, the Shadow League, which include a Cockney-speaking John Constantine (in superhero gear, which is pretty funny), Annataz ("Zatanna" backwards), Witchboy, Swamp-Man (Swamp Thing), Fate (Jared Stevens), Ragman (who looks like a mummy), Deadman and Enchantress.

PAGE 6

The team determines that the vampires came out of what we know to be a transmatter cube, but which Annataz refers to as a “magician’s cabinet.” That usually refers to the cabinet in which a magician saws a girl in half, but can also refer to the cabinet where a magician makes a person (or parts of a person) disappear. It could also be a reference to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent horror film famous both as a highlight of German expressionism and as a political metaphor for the need of 1920s Germans for an authority figure (and we know how that turned out). It’s an appropriate reference for the venue.

Superdemon’s rhymes are a bit hard to follow, but one thing is clear: He’s figured out that there is a multiverse, that the vampires came from a parallel Earth, and that the “magician’s cabinet” can take them there. (And in they go.)

PAGE 8

We discover that the bad guys are from Earth-43, the “Red Rain” universe where everybody (or at least the people we know) are vampires. The vampire Sivana reveals that they had intended to invade Earth-13 because its constant darkness would be a perfect operating arena for vampires, and it was full of non-vampires to eat. We also see that he has hypnotized the Earth-43 Justice League. Now that it hasn’t worked out, he’s making other plans.

The Hannibal Lecter Sivana makes another reference to wanting to get his hands on Mary Marvel.

A reference is made about the imminent arrival of the Marvel Family. They have been pursuing the Sivana League since “Thunderworld.”

PAGE 9

The vengeful Shadow League of Earth-13 arrives, and makes short work of most resistance (Fate kills Sivana-43 outright). Annataz finishes the job by casting a spell where the vampires crave coffee instead of blood. (Yes, I laughed out loud at that.)

PAGE 10

Hannibal Lecter Sivana and Snake Sivana leave in a transmatter cube as the Marvels arrive and begin tearing apart the Mechano-Rock of Eternity from the top down.

Snake Sivana (from Captain Carrot’s world, maybe?) makes a reference with his terrible speech impediment to Earth-43 Sivana’s vampire speech impediment. This is evidently meant to be a joke.

PAGE 11

Hannibal Sivana and Snake Sivana arrive on Earth-18, the Wild West Earth.

Snake Sivana had eaten a character from Earth-42 several issues back, and now he throws it up. Since he ate the character, we’ve learned that all the Li’l Gotham characters from Earth-42 were actually robots working for The Empty Hand. Accordingly, Snake Sivana throws up what he’s eaten, because it’s a robot, not a person.

Lecter Sivana makes mention that The Gentry had promised him Mary Marvel, which explains why he kept mentioning it. (But he says that just as he is shot in the head, so it’s kind of a let-down.)

We see the Justice Riders (Justice League) of Earth-18, which consists of (from left) the Trigger Twins (Flash), Super-Chief (Saganowana, the Superman analog), Tomahawkman (Hawkman), Firehair, El Diablo (Batman), Madame .44 (Wonder Woman), Cinammon, Strongbow (Green Arrow?), Pow-Wow Smith and Johnny Thunder.

The third voice from page one resumes monologing.

PAGES 12-13

Various earths in crisis. We see:

Earth-17: Captain Adam Strange (fifth from left) leads his Atomic Knights (from left, analogs of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg).

Earth-51 (Kirby world): From left, Ben Boxer, Prince Tuftan, Kamandi.

Earth-20: (From left) Lady Blackhawk and the Blackhawks, Doc Fate, Immortal Man, Mighty Atom.

Earth-36: (From left) War-Woman, Cyberion, bad guy (zombie Omniman?), Iron Knight.

Earth-26: (From left) Fastbak, The Crash, Wonder Wabbit, Pig Iron, Super-Squirrel, Bat-Mouse, American Eagle, Yankee Poodle, Rubber Duck, Elong-Gator, Alley-Kat-Abra.

Earth-48: Hard to say, since everyone has super-powers. I’m going to say that the girl in red is Liana, one of the few heroes from this world whose name I know, and the one dog we see is Danger Dog.

The third voice from Page One continues monologing, referencing Crisis, Doomsday (Death of Superman), Judgment Day and other comic book events.

The second voice (Harbinger) also chimes in, announcing arrivals (to the Hall of Heroes) from Earths 29, 23 and 36.

PAGES 14-15

A group of heroes, as Harbinger keeps announcing arrivals. We see (from left) a Red Tornado analog (Earth unknown), Bloodwynd (Earth-16), a Flash analog (Earth unknown), a Wonder Woman/Maxima (Earth-32?), a Green Lantern analog (Earth unknown), two other guys, Abin Sur (Earth-20), near his legs a Flash analog (Earth unknown) and Atomic Knight Batman (Earth-17), Saturn Girl (Earth unknown), Bizarro Adam Strange (presumably Earth-29), Black Arrow and Thunderhawk (Earth-32), Lady Quark and Lord Volt (Earth-48), above them Mary Marvel (Earth-5) and Plastic Man (Earth-10), Dinocop (Earth-41), Flashlight and a Cyborg analog (Earth-36), two unknowns, Uncle Sam (Earth-10), Iron Knight (Earth-36), above them what looks like members of the Justice Titans from Earth-32, and above that Green Lantern from the Tangent Universe (Earth-9), Sunshine Superman (Earth-47), a big red guy (Earth unknown), a Wonder Woman (Earth unknown) and Li'l Gotham Wonder Woman (Earth-42, that we know is a robot under the control of The Empty Hand), above them Cosmic Boy (Earth unknown), a Nightwing (Earth unknown) and several unknowns.

PAGE 16

The Hall of Heroes is under attack by Hellmachine, whose shock troops look like giant mechanical fleas (a visual reference to issue #1).

PAGES 18-19

Panel 1: All are characters we’ve mentioned already, except for Adam Strange and Batwoman (Earth-0?).

Panel 4: Lady Quark mentions the “Batman archetrope.” Evidently, Angor is more knowledgeable about the Multiverse than others. And it seems Morrison just coined a new word, too!

Panel 5: A black-haired Aquaman (Earth unknown).

Panel 7: Robot Hawkman (Earth-44).

PAGE 17

Panel 1: A Vibe analog (if mixed with Flash, Earth-32) appears, as what is possibly the Cyborg of Earth-18.

Panel 4: The phrase “Empty is his hand” is uttered again, by Steel (robot) of Earth-42.

Panel 5: Ultra Boy and Lightning Lad appear, alongside the previously seen Saturn Girl. There is no Legion of Super-Heroes Earth in Morrison’s Multiverse map, so they must be from one of the unknown worlds.

Also seen are are two new, unknown characters. At a guess, I’d say the woman in purple and orange is the Duo Damsel of Earth-18, and the glowing green mystical-looking guy could be Witchboy or Deadman of Earth-13 (whom I've never seen clearly), or an unknown Green Lantern analog.

PAGE 18

Superjudge (Nix Uotan) has arrived on Earth-8 (the 616 Marvel Universe analog), and is met by the heroes of that world, seen in the first issue, and the rescue team sent from the Hall of Heroes. In this frame we see Captain Carrot of Earth-26, Behemoth (Hulk), Red Racer (Flash of Earth-36), Crusader (Captain America), Machinehead (Iron Man) and Superman of Earth-23.

Superjudge is holding the Cosmic Cube analog that came from the "Cosmic Egg" in issue #1, which is a Rubik’s Cube.

PAGE 19

Panel 3: The burning man is probably the Human Torch analog, from Earth-8's Future Family (Fantastic Four). The blonde woman is the Captain Marvel analog, name unknown.

Panels 5-6: Analogs of Vision, Giant-Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Falcon, Quicksilver and Hawkeye. I only know the name of the Spider-Man analog, “Bug,” who is female.

PAGE 21

Panel 1: Machinehead makes reference to the Blue Boarder, obviously a Silver Surfer analog.

Panel 3: The dead are rising, but it's the superhero dead of other worlds, as one of them appears to be the Captain America analog of Earth-7. (“Universes smashed together” says Nix Uotan in panel 2.)

PAGE 22

Nix Uotan references using the “red sun radiation of a hundred stories” to stop Superman. Not “hundred planets,” but “hundred stories.” Evidently the Last of the Monitors derives his power from stories.

Panel 6: Captain Carrot is decapitated, but as we know, he operates on cartoon physics, so that’s not necessarily fatal.

PAGE 24

Panel 1: The Black Widow analog makes her first appearance this issue.

Panel 3: Stubbs says “doors open both ways,” which echoes a line from the president in the Pax Americana issue.

Panel 2: The Rubik’s Cube slightly resembles Titans Tower, but I don’t think it’s intentional.

Panel 5: Thunderer reveals he is “Lightning Brother of the Mowanjum people.” The Mowanjum are an aboriginal tribe in Western Australia.

PAGE 25

Aquawoman says “On ‘Earth-11’ the strongest native life form – is ME!” That might be true of Aquaman as well, if “native life form” means a non-enhanced, natural born creature native to Earth, which would eliminate characters such as Superman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Although, as far as I know, our Aquaman can’t shoot lightning out of his trident, as Aquawoman can.

PAGE 27

Panel 2: Aquawoman’s “—can change your tune” may be considered literal, given that Morrison has established the universe as operating on vibrations, read “music.” Change the tune, change the person (or the world).

Panel 4: We see two elastic figures fighting in the background. I think we can assume they are the Mr. Fantastic analogs of Earth-7 and Earth-8, one alive and one dead.

PAGE 28

The florid narrator begins narrating again. If we're supposed to know who this is, I am failing.

PAGE 29

The opportunistic, vermin-like life of The Bleed, seen in issue #1, is allowed access to Hellmachine by the Marvels using the Mechano-Rock of Eternity as a weapon. It eats Hellmachine.

PAGE 30

Panel 5: Captain Carrot says “Who dares get in our way? What power triumphs over sheer absurdity?” Likely another meta-commentary on comics, but it also The Empty Hand's only weakness.

PAGE 31

Red Racer, the Flash analog of Earth-36, was revealed in issue #1 to be a comics fan, just like Barry Allen in his various manifestations. When Captain Carrot gives him the entire Multiversity series to read, he demurs, saying “I’m not that much of a nerd!” But, like any of us, he reads them anyway. Because he is, like all of us, that much of a nerd.

PAGE 32

Panel 1: Flash realizes the “master word” to control the transmatter cubes is “S.O.S.,” a word/phrase that has been used liberally since the first issue.

Panel 2: Red Racer knows that Flashes always make the ultimate sacrifice in Crises, because they have in DC Comics, which exist on his world (and, being a nerd, he has read them). The Hank he refers to is Flashlight (Green Lantern), whom he appeared to have a romantic attachment to in issue #1.

Panel 3: Nix Uotan is depicted with some of the dead heroes of various worlds. The only one I recognize is Amazon, the Wonder Woman/Storm combo from Amalgam Comics. Since that world isn’t listed on the Multiverse Map, it must be one of the unknown worlds.

Panel 4: Frank Future of the Future Family (Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four) and the Thing analog appear, along with some G-Men (X-Men), including the Storm and Cyclops analogs.

Panel 5: A narrative panel is labeled “Flash Fact,” which used to appear in Silver Age Flash comics. The hand leading/pointing out of the caption box was another Silver Age Flash convention.

PAGE 34

Panel 1: Red Racer has recruited an army of Flash analogs from across the Multiverse. Recognizable in the panel are XS (from Legion of Super-Heroes), the Trigger Twins of Earth-18, Kid Flash of pre-Crisis Earth One (Wally West), Flash III of post-Crisis Earth (Wally West) and Flash of the current Earth-2 (Jay Garrick).

Panel 2: The Flash Fact given – “approaching the speed of light, time slows to a shop” – is part of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

PAGE 35

Red Racer again refers to DC Comics: “a whole bunch of crises … from my favorite JLA book.”

PAGE 36

Uotan makes reference to “the throne of The Empty Hand.”

PAGE 37

Panel 1: Uotan confesses to having set in motion all the crises of the previous issues, by freeing Darkseid from Earth-51, letting loose the League of Sivanas and opening transmatter cubes all over the Multiverse

Panel 7: A scene in the Hall of Heroes, and we’ve seen (and I’ve identified) most of them already. A new one is a masked giant, perhaps an Atom-Smasher analog.

PAGE 38

Flashlight (Earth-36), Abin Sur (Earth-20), Bloodwynd (Earth-16) and Lady Quark (Earth-48) charge, but in the background is a new character, a Human Bomb analog, likely from Earth-10.

Panel 2: A host of Flashes, one of them the robot Flash (Mercury?) from Earth-44. The one in the forefront, mostly in yellow, is the same one we saw prominently on Page 14, which leads me to believe I should know what Earth he’s from, but I don’t.

PAGE 40

An army of superheroes arrive, most of whom we’ve seen before. At top we see our first Firestorm of the issue, and what appears to be a Martian Manhunter/Chemo amalgam – possibly from Earth-44.

PAGE 41

Panel 1: We see the Green Lantern of Earth-12. Also, Red Racer and Flashlight embrace, confirming their relationship.

Panel 4: The heroes go through the front door of Lord Broken. Because, as established, doors open both ways.

PAGE 42-43

Earth-7 is the world destroyed in the first issue, an analog of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe (which is currently being destroyed in Secret Wars).

Panel 2: Thunderer says “all the songs are out of tune.” Pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a planet in Grant Morrison’s vibration/music-based Multiverse.

Panel 3: Superman once again says “Great Vathlo,” a reference to the pre-Crisis all-black island on Krypton.

PAGE 44-45

We finally meet the Big Bad, and he is a giant, shadowy figure with antlers and/or horns, sitting on his oft-mentioned throne. He looks vaguely like Trigon and other devil-esque characters. He means write “the final chapter of your never-ending story,” making him a meta-villain, wanting to end all the endless stories.

The Empty Hand reveals that the entire series has been a feint; he is just assessing the strength of "our" multiverse's defenders before invading.

The Gentry are revealed as representatives of various races; there are clusters of Intellectrons flying around, clumps of Lord Brokens, various Hellmachines.

The Empty Hand reveals the source of their power: Multiverse-2. This confirms what we already knew, that our Multiverse (often referred to as “the local Multiverse”) is part of a larger Multiverse, which is part of an even larger Multiverse, and so on.

PAGE 46

Superman of Earth-23 calls a meeting at a circular table, reminiscent of a jillion Justice League scenes (and many from the Avengers as well). We have seen most of these characters before, although I don’t have names for them all. One standout is a sort of Doomsday-Blue Devil combo, probably from Earth-32.

PAGE 47

Superman identifies Earth-33, “Earth-Prime,” as the source of all trouble. We already know from the Multiverse Map that Earth-33, despite having no superheroes, somehow influences the events on all other Earths.

PAGES 48-49

Superman announces Operation Justice Incarnate, which appears to be a proper team, including (from left) Mary Marvel from Earth-5, Captain Carrot from Earth-26, Batman from Earth-17, Machinehead from Earth-8, Aquawoman from Earth-11, Superman of Earth-23, Thunderer from Earth-7, Abin Sur from Earth-20 and Red Racer from Earth-36. If you squint, you can see the Justice League, with Iron Man and Thor tossed in.

Pages 50-51

Panel 1: A gathering of heroes reminiscent of a similar scene in Crisis on Infinite Earths. We’ve seen most of these characters before, but there are a few new ones, including a Phantom Lady (presumably from Earth-10), Wonder Man (from Earth-11), Super-Martian (Earth-32) and the Wonder Woman-Platinum mash-up from Earth-44.

Panel 2: Harbinger notes that the heroes present represent 50 worlds. The two missing worlds (of the local Multiverse) are, presumably, Earth-33, which has no superheroes, and Earth-15, where Superboy-Prime killed everyone.

Panel 5: Nix Uotan asks a favor of Dino-Cop.

PAGE 52

Appropriately, the final issue is 52 pages long, as “52” is the number of universes in the local Multiverse.

We return to the first pages of issue #1 on Earth-0 (the New 52 world), where the earthly version of Nix Uotan is awakening after falling asleep reading the same comics we just read.

We see the lice from the first issue, again reminding us that life takes hold wherever it can. I expected them to be a Gentry allegory, but I guess they’re just an allegory for the Multiverse(s) as a whole.

We see Uotan’s landlady knocking on his door again (which, we now know, can open both ways).

The narrative voice is in the same font as the one from page one, and seems to be just an omniscient narrator, not a character.

The florid narrative voice returns, and essentially promises that comic book stories will continue into eternity.

We see a Mr. Stubbs doll and a Rubik’s Cube in Nix’s room. Has the entire series been a dream?

Answer: No, because Nix has the $800 rent he didn’t have in the first issue, because Superjudge bummed it off Dino-Cop.

I read the DC Rarities Archives and don't remember them at all, although do I recall wanting to know more about the Ghost Patrol, and Red, White, and Blue weren't bad either. But my favorite character was Hourman. How did so many oddball series keep going back in the Golden Age (Johnny Thunder for instance) while Hourman got canned so quickly?
 
Captain Comics said:

Thanks for the research, Luke. Sadly, I have all of the books you mention and have read them, but didn't remember a thing about Little Boy Blue. Must not have made a very big impression.

Honestly, Cap, I was disappointed.   Nothing changes......who's the "big bad" with the horns?   Have we created a new multiverse that writers can work with.....or is that left to "Convergence"  (which is going nowhere)?    I may have to read Marvel's "secret Wars"  to cleanse the palette......

There was the one moment where the Cap Marvel universe looked to save every world.....but then the story devolved into a mishmash mess that really had no meaning.

Yep,,,,,as usual, Morrison bulds great underpinnings then can't figure out how to close.

I look foard to the new DC books that allow writers to play outside the continuity (Black Canary, Prez, Bizarro, Bat-Mite)

Okay....just read Cap's excellent commentary and have to digest it......but ....there's something here , in the beginnings....still nothing in the finish.   Therre's stuff to work with.....more later.



Zane said:

Honestly, Cap, I was disappointed.   Nothing changes......who's the "big bad" with the horns?   Have we created a new multiverse that writers can work with.....or is that left to "Convergence"  (which is going nowhere)?    I may have to read Marvel's "secret Wars"  to cleanse the palette......

There was the one moment where the Cap Marvel universe looked to save every world.....but then the story devolved into a mishmash mess that really had no meaning.

Yep,,,,,as usual, Morrison bulds great underpinnings then can't figure out how to close.

I look foard to the new DC books that allow writers to play outside the continuity (Black Canary, Prez, Bizarro, Bat-Mite)

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