The Multiversity: Thunderworld #1 “Captain Marvel and the Day that Never Was”
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Cameron Stewart
It’s another chapter of Multiversity, and another glimpse into the Multiverse. I was looking forward to this issue based of my previous experiences with the Thunderworld, but this didn’t completely meet my expectations. It wasn’t bad by any standard, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped to. That being said, I will admit that it was a fun read.
We’re on Earth 5 for this installment, and are immediately introduced to Shazam – the old wizard, not Billy Batson. He’s called Captain Marvel again… I know, it’s confusing, but it’s Grant Morrison. We’ll let him get away with it.
Right away, we’re thrown into the action as Dr. Sivana attacks and takes over the Rock of Eternity. Sivana has been experimenting to create a power source very similar to those of the Marvels, and successfully tests that experiment on his children, creating little Sivana warriors. Convinced he’s finally discovered a way to end the Marvels, he sends his children to destroy Captain Marvel, while he let’s another strategy of his play out: he totally f’d with physics, stole time from other universes, and created an additional day – Sivanaday.
Now, if you’re thinking all of this sounds a little intense, and totally “Morrisony,” it’s definitely not. Well, the physics aspect, and discussions of time and space definitely is, but the rest of the book isn’t. I’ll get to the physics part later though. This whole issue has a lighter, adventurous, and fun tone to it. Even when the plot is covering dire circumstances, Morrison keeps everything light hearted – but it’s not bad. If anything, this issue takes me back to the golden age of comics where everything was feel-good, and hopeful. Even though this isn’t my preference for comics, it was a little refreshing – and partially the reason I’ve been enjoying Gotham Academy: it’s a nice break from the doom and gloom.
The creative team makes the characters self-aware of this notion, and even call attention to it. Once again, the constant that ties all of these Multiversity issues together is the comic book, along with the analytical aspects of the book itself. Billy and team have a copy of the Society of Super Heroes, and comment on the fact that in the book, everything is being destroyed. Captain Marvel even asks, “What happened to happy endings?” before claiming that it sounds like “tomorrow’s big adventure,” putting a positive outlook on the situation.
This is definitely the commentary Morrison wanted to cover. Everything, not just comics, but movies, tv, books, have turned to somewhat depressing narratives. Think about it, the big thing in narratives now is killing people off or pushing the limits. One of the most popular franchises now, the Hunger Games, is about kids who kill each other to provide food for their district. Even the comedies that are popular or critically acclaimed these days are considered “dark comedies.” What happened to transition to this? Have we as a race become that pessimistic and jaded that we can’t enjoy hope? It’s a valid question to ask, and a worthy discussion. And of course, Morrison makes his point clear in that you can choose to believe, or not to believe, but your approach can ultimately decide the outcome. The theme rings true through the entire issue as the Marvels face off against the Sivanas, fighting one-on-one with each other, and also having to take on the Monster Society.
Then you have the issue of a day being created! Naturally, that’s going to cause a big whammy on its own. I’m not a physics expert by any means, and I probably should’ve read up on some theories of time and space before commenting on this, but, it’s already Saturday morning and I should’ve posted this Wednesday night… so you’ll just have to do without. The theory of borrowing time from another universe to “create” time is pretty interesting. Thankfully Morrison didn’t try to explain it – that would’ve lost people, especially in such a “simple” narrative as this – he just stated it, and let it happen. This approach helped the team stick to their light-hearted approach, and actually made it a little more fun. I particularly liked that Sivana gathered his plan from the comic book, and worked with Dr. Sivanas from multiple universes to execute it. The best way to describe the issue is fun. A little wacky at times, but fun.
- You’re a fan of the Thunderworld
- You miss the days of Golden Age comics
- You want a family friendly book.
The Art: Cameron Stewart was the perfect artist for this chapter of Multiversity. His art compliments the message amazingly well, and it has a certain joy about it on its own. It is slightly cartoony, but that style works here. Everything he presents is consistent though, and pretty spectacular. Check out some of the goodness below.
Overall: This is a fun read, and worth reading at least once. I wouldn’t read it again, but it’s a nice break from the standard narrative these days. If you have some extra cash, and enjoy Shazam (or Captain Marvel), then go ahead and check it out. Just don’t expect anything life changing.