Title: The Multiversity: Mastermen
Issue Number: 1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Jim Lee
Inkers: Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Jonathon Glapion
Cover Artists: Jim Lee w/ Rian Hughs
Editor: Rickey Porter
Genre: Superhero Action/ Alternate Universe
Cover Price: $4.99 (US)
The next entry in writer Grant Morrison's ongoing series, The Multiversity, exploring alternate universes in DC's multiverse deals with a "what if" scenario, of sorts. In this universe, baby Kal El's ship does not crash land in Smallville, Kansas. Instead, it lands in Nazi, Germany during World War II. Hitler, who was taking a shit reading a Superman comic, is soon informed. The superbaby is named Clark and is raised by the Nazi regime. He becomes the key to victory and in this world, with this being's superpowers, here dubbed Overman, they take over the world. Cut to the present, where the Nazis still rule, some more than sixty years later. Ethnic cleansing has occurred and Overman is joined by a Nazified version of the Justice League. But, a rebel force led by Uncle Sam is swelling, attacking, and preparing to take them down and free this world. In meantime, Overman wrestles with a conscious heavy with all the bloodshed and disgusting atrocities that have been committed since the days of Hitler.
I have to admit that I have never read a single issue of The Multiversity (all of which are one-shots, or single issue stories, for those not in the know) or even knew about it. As I have said in the past, I rarely read any DC post-The New 52 (which, yes, I still hate). But, upon hearing the idea of a Superman raised by the Nazis, I was intrigued. In some ways this may recall Redson, the classic Elseworlds tale where Superman is raised by Russians. But, he wasn't a villain in that. Being associated with Nazis is a completely different thing to communist Russia, and this book does a good job in capturing that. It's dark and somber, but also completely enthralling. It's fascinationg and disturbing to see a Nazi version of an iconic hero like Batman, here named Leatherwing. This is a scary and horrific world, but what Morrison does so amazingly is that even in this disgusting world where Clark has been raised by such a repulsive reigmen, he still has a moral center. One that makes him question the world that he lives in and the allegiance that he has, as well as those he is associated with. Since each of these stories are one-shot, we end the story on a gut punch, one that we won't see the outcome for. But, we do feel hope for this world, which in light of it all, is important.
Complementing Morrison's excellent story telling is Jim Lee's beautiful and fluent artwork. His art perfectly captures this world's perverse version of known, and lesser known characters. The colors are somber and help to add a heaviness to this story.
One of the best and perhaps the single darkest alternate version, you are ever likely to read about the Last Son of Krypton, this story gets my highest possible recommendation. And, since it's a one-shot, you have no excuse for not checking it out.
**** out of ****