Multiversity: Pax Americana Director’s Cut #1 “In Which We Burn”
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely
I know… I know… you’re confused. Something isn’t right. You thought you had me figured out – finally – and then this happened. How could I do this? Am I confused? Do I remember that I gave this book a 10 out of 10 upon its initial release? Did I forget that I called this issue “great,” “required reading,” “a classic in the years to come…” No. I didn’t forget. I remember saying each of those things. I remember giving Pax Americana a 10 out of 10. And I remember debating how easily Andrew could be persuaded or bribed when he asked me to not include this in my top picks for the Best of 2014 article because he wanted to feature Bat titles… But alas, here we are… I’m reviewing the Multiversity: Pax Americana Director’s Cut and I gave it a 3 out of 10. A 3 out of 10!?!?! Yep. I did.
Let’s start at the beginning. DC incorrectly advertised that the Multiversity #1 Director’s Cut was getting released today. Anyone who went looking for it in their local comic shop or on Comixology would’ve then discovered that it was actually the Director’s Cut of Pax Americana that was released! Score! I know I became more excited upon that discovery! I loved this book! As stated above, I gave it a 10! But man was I disappointed…
I’m going to be upfront with you… I’m not going to discuss the narrative or plot of this issue at all. Why? Because there isn’t anything new in the story for the Director’s Cut. If you want to read my thoughts on the issue itself, go check out my original review here. Now, maybe I’m naïve, but I expected to see some additions to the actual story… I’m a story guy and mainly read comics for their narrative. I’ve never picked up a “Director’s Cut” of a book, so I assumed it would be like a film and include things that were left on the “cutting room floor”… but it doesn’t. What this book should have been called is Multiversity: Pax Americana featuring a behind the scenes look at its development!
With this issue priced over $10, I can’t energetically tell readers to go pick up this issue. It’s too expensive, and unless you’re an avid collector, interested in the development of comics, or a die-hard Morrison fan, I would advise that you spend your money on something else, perhaps a trade of a book you’ve been curious about, but haven’t read yet…
With that said, this book does have some interesting additions and features. So if you are still interested, here’s what you can look forward to:
No colors or inks. For all you pencil enthusiasts out there, nearly the entire issue is nothing but pencils! I can appreciate this, and I know some people live by it, but I do prefer colors and inks. I just feel like there’s an emptiness to this book without them. There are, however, some great pages and panels throughout this book though, and at times, you notice certain details that weren’t as apparent as before. Check out some of the art below in the spoiler tag.
An inside look at how Morrison works. If there’s one thing that can be said about Morrison, it’s that he’s extremely detailed and meticulous. Excerpts of his script are provided at the end of the book. He’s very thorough in explaining his vision and approach – a trait that editors and artists both probably enjoy. Sometimes he appears to be so specific though, that I have to wonder if it can feel like artists are being micro managed. There are some examples where Morrison draws the pages out for Quitely, before he recreates them. The transition from beginning to end is interesting to see though.
Hidden themes. One of the things that I failed to notice the first time I read the issues, was how blatantly a theme was used throughout this issue. After seeing bits of Morrison’s commentary on this, and multiple examples of it hidden in the art and layouts, I kind of felt like an idiot for not realizing how prominent it was. But this is something that I don’t want to spoil for those of you who want to pick this issue up, so I’ll save this discussion for the comics.
- You loved Pax Americana and want further insight into its development.
- You’re an avid comic collector.
- You love seeing the rawness of pencils before other attributes are added.
Overall: In my opinion, this was WAY too expensive, and the added features didn’t justify the purchase. Even though some of the additions are cool and interesting, they weren’t worth $11. So based on the additional features at this cost, I have to score this book low.