Which alternate DC Earth would you like to return to in Grant Morrison’s epic Multiversity event, beginning this week? Here are 13 far-out suggestions:
Multiversity, which starts today 8/20, returns the concept of infinite earths to the DC Universe. True, there have been 52 of ’em floating around, bumping into each other, getting underfoot, and clogging up the sink over the past seven years. Multiversity will visit new and old parallel earths as it literally rewrites the old Rand-McNally Map of the DC Universe, which I wouldn’t use anymore to get to your mom’s, unless you want your mother to turn out to be a zombie Nazi polar bear who killed Lincoln. I’m looking forward to new Earths and revised versions of familiar worlds, but I’m also hoping there’s time to visit some of the most oddball of DC’s parallel Earths.
Here are 13 Weird Worlds worth revisiting in DC’s Multiverse. Oil up your own Cosmic Treadmill and follow along!
1. Earth-I: The (Inevitable) Death of Superman
Nope, that’s not the 1992 Death of Superman at the bony clawed fists of Doomsday, a villain introduced a few months before, but the first death of the Man of Steel, murdered in his Silver Age prime by his very own archnemesis, Lex Luthor. In this parallel history, Lex cures the world of cancer, thus convincing his prison board and Superman that he’s reformed.
But surprise! (Well, surprise to everyone except those who have ever read a Superman comic book, that is.) Lex actually uses the opportunity to trap and kill Supes with a Kryptonite ray while he forces Kal’s friends to watch, then unceremoniously dumps the body by the side of the road. Which only goes to prove: never trust Lex Luthor. (Are you listening to me, New 52 Superman in the Justice League alongside New 52 Luthor?)
This story is not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story…oh, wait, it is an imaginary story; sorry. But that means Superman stays dead and Luthor is sentenced to an eternity in the Phantom Zone. We all know that no one ever escapes the Phantom Zone, right? Supergirl takes over protecting Metropolis, and nobody ever sees Superman again in this imaginary story. That’s why I call this world Earth-“I”, and let’s face it, a world without cancer and without Lex Luthor isn’t gonna be that bad to live in now, is it?
2. Earth-Lobo-Oh-Seven: The Spy That Fragged Me
Each of DC’s 1994 annuals featured a different Elseworld, those parallel Earths where, as the ad copy told us, super-heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places — some that have existed, and others that can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t exist. A shorter version of this: You wanna see Pirate Batman? Here he is! In between Revolutionary War Superman, Nazi Green Lantern, and medieval Legion of Super-Heroes is one of the most bizarre (and one of my favorite)) Elseworlds tales in L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #5. If it had been published by Marvel, they would have called it “What If Lobo was James Bond?”
In a world of dangerous devils, desirable damsels and dirty deeds done dirt cheap, will Lobo…James Lobo…save the Earth — or destroy it?
I’m really hoping Multiversity visits this Elseworld. I really want to see further adventures of James Lobo, like “Frag Another Day” and “Skyfrag.”
3. Earth-SS: Like fathers, like sons…think about it, won’t you?
One of the greatest creators of stories that don’t quite fit like puzzle pieces into regular continuity is Bob Haney, co-creator of some of the wildest concepts at DC: the swingin’ sixties original version of the Teen Titans, element man Metamorpho, and dozens of weird, way-out Brave and the Bold stories that improbably teamed up Batman with Sgt. Rock or Kamandi. Haney didn’t let strict continuity get in the way of a good story, which is why so many of his comics are supposedly set on “Earth-B” (for Bob), a carefree alternate to stodgy old Earth-1. And although Haney didn’t create the concept of Superman and Batman having teenage sons being groomed to take over the family business one day, he did turn those characters into the Super-Sons, a timely saga of rebelling (super) youths struggling with “the man” — that is, “the Bat-Man” and “the Super-Man.” Both at home…
…and in costume…
…the Super-Sons had to deal with their square dads and the generation gap in a decade of peace, love, tuning in and dropping out, setting off on their own journeys and crime-fighting adventures.
I’d love to see this Earth again, because these stories remain concrete proof that neither Clark Kent nor Bruce Wayne should ever have children.
4. Earth-Scooby: Where all the villains wear rubber masks
There’s actually already an entire added wing currently nailed onto the side of DC Universe in their non-canon digital-first weekly comics and their all-ages print titles, which take place outside the familiar climes of the New 52. From Batman ’66 to Smallville, from the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga to Justice League Beyond and Teen Titans Go!, these non-continuity tales are often some of the most entertaining parallel worlds.
Perhaps none is so unique as the world of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, which pairs the teens (and dog) of Mystery, Inc. with characters from the DC Universe. Yes: It’s just like those episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies where they met Batman and Robin (and Don Knotts, Sonny and Cher, Dick van Dyke and the Harlem Globetrotters.) Thrill as Ace the Bat-Hound and Scooby-Doo become the Canine Crusaders!
Think you’re turning Japanese as Shaggy and company encounter the chibi versions of Teen Titans Go!?
Daphne and Velma learning to fight crime under the mentorship of Super Friends Wonder Woman? Sure, why not?
Yep, I wanna see this. I want Multiversity to bring back Scooby-Mite.
5. Earth-89: Mr. and Mrs. Bruce and Lois Wayne
Remember all those Silver Age Lois Lane comics where she hatched some embarrassingly anti-feminist plot to catch Superman as her own private super boy-toy? In Lois Lane #89, LL finally wises up and devises Fifty Ways to Leave Your Superman. (“Go fight a whale, Kal / Get real, Man o’ Steel / You’re a question mark, Clark / Now Lois is free.”) Which leaves the door wide open for the only other bachelor in the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne, to date and romance Lois.
You’d think Clark would be above this all. Is Superman upset at this? Is he? Well, does Bizarro poop in the woods?
Robin’s not all that chuffed either after Bruce reveals his secret identity to Lois … um, sure, it’s after the wedding, but still. Cue that Incredible Hulk sad piano theme as Robin walks off into the sunset…
Why I love this world so much: When gangsters who want to know Batman’s secret ID kidnap Lois and torture her by literally throwing big words at her, she finally cracks and tells them that Batman is in fact Clark Kent.
This story can’t stomp on Superman and Robin hard enough for me! Haw!
6: Earth-9602: well, I’ll be super-Amalgamated!
Amalgam: the weird and wonderful merging of the DC and Marvel Universes in two miniseries in 1996-97 produced such hybrid heroes as Superman and Captain America combined to form Super-Soldier!
Batman and Robin (The Animated Series!) and Wolverine and Jubilee stuck in a blender and reconstituted as Dark Claw and Sparrow!
I think you can figure this one out:
I definitely support Multiversity re-visiting the Amalgam Universe, if only to see Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr combined with Rocket Raccoon. Oh, c’mon, tell me you wouldn’t buy that.
7. Earth-C-Minus: Super Furry Friends
Sure, I was ultra-excited to see the advance cover of Multiversity #1 and find that Morrison’s series would include Captain Carrot, that sensational super-rabbit and his Zoo Crew team of fightin’ fauna from Earth-C (now boringly renamed Earth-26, because we can’t have fun lettered Earths anymore). But I’m hoping the series digs just one dimension deeper to Earth-C-Minus, where the heroes of comic books published on Earth-C live. Yep, to express it as one of those SAT logic questions: “Earth-1 is to Earth-2 as Earth-C is to Earth-C-Minus.” C-Minus is where the animal doppelgangers of Earth-1 live, and their names are not only animal puns but pretty groan-worthy animal puns. On Earth-C, the animal heroes have joined together to form the JLA: “Justa Lotta Animals!”
We also saw the later, “satellite-era” JLAnimals, but luckily not the story where Zap-Panda brainwashed all her teammates, leading to the events in “Aye-Aye Dentity Crisis.”
I would like to visit the current Justa Lotta Animals, because they’d certainly now have Cyboar as a member.
8. Earth-Go-Boom: In which Jimmy and Superman must repopulate the Earth
I think we all wanna see what happens next here.
9. Earth-Terrapin: The Shell of Steel
Here’s an alternate world, created by DC gag cartoonist Henry Boltinoff, I’d love to revisit. I’m not certain of the history of this Earth, but I presume Jor-El and Lara, as Krypton exploded around them, managed to save their pet turtle by rocketing him to Earth, where he became … well, you can guess.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…turtle? Boltinoff’s many filler comic strips populated the pages of DC books during the Silver Age, so consider: This strip is set in the same world as Cap’s Hobby Hints!
Say, whatever happened to Super-Turtle, anyway?
10. Earth-Python: I’m a Kryptonian and I’m OK
We’ve never seen this Earth since its sole appearance in Superman: True Brit, an Elseworlds original graphic novel — a world where the baby Kal-El landed not in Smallville, Kansas, but in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, and was raised by a kindly British couple!
Thus young Colin Clark becomes Great Britain’s Man of Tea … Superman!
It’s about time we revisited this Earth! Based on ideas created by Monty Python founding member John Cleese (who grew up in Weston-super-Mare himself) and scripted by Kim “Howard” Johnson, the author of several Python biographies and reference books, True Brit takes its subject decidedly less seriously and contains whole baskets full of Monty Python and The Rutles Easter eggs for the sharp-eyed viewer.
11. Earth-1893: The Bare Super-Necessities
Take Superman, squish him together with Rudyard Kipling, and you’ve got Kal-El as The Jungle Book‘s Mowgli! Which is a brilliant idea, although I really think they should have taken the opportunity to make tiger villain Shere Khan bald.
This Earth also liberally sprinkles on some Edgar Rice Burroughs to Tarzan it up a bit, including homaging Maureen O’Sullivan’s (body double’s) infamous nude swimming scene in the 1934 movie Tarzan and His Mate. Say, how ya gonna keep a Superman in the jungle when he’s seen Lois Lane nekkid?
Of course, the whole adventure eventually gets told to Rudyard Kipling, who thinks it’s a dandy story to turn into an adventure novel. Parallel-Earth stories: turning respected writers into plagiarists since 1875.
Why do I want to go back to this Earth? Why, because I want to see if they’ve turned this scenario and these characters into TaleSpin!
12. Earth-HOYVIN-GLAVIN!: The Brave and the Bird-Brained
I know that despite my fondness for National/DC’s licensed celebrity and comedy titles of the Silver Age, we’ll never again see them in print due to licensing issues. There goes my dream of having an entire library of SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BOB HOPE, but it can’t stop me wishing that the New 52 crosses over once again with Jerry Lewis, who had his own DC comic book for nearly 20 years (five of them teamed up with Dean Martin). Jerry bumbled his way through team-ups with Batman…
…making him the nexus of worlds between the DC Universe and The Nutty Professor. Hey, if nothing else, it’ll help the Multiversity series sell in France.
13. Earth-Twinkie: Crisis in Delicious Golden Pastry and Tasty Fruit Filling
But if I have to choose one, only one long-forgotten world of the DC Multiverse to be revisited by Grant Morrison, I am crossing my fruit-jam-stained fingers in the hopes that the New 52 visits the world of Hostess Snack Cakes, where no villainous deed is severe enough that it can’t be battled by delicious creme filling or chocolately cake.
Sick of all the blood, guts, and severed Joker faces in current Batman comics? Here’s a simpler world where murder no longer exists, but the Gotham City Police Department does have a Division of Missing Pastries.
Just as DC superhero comics taught us to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, and that criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot, the DC Universe Twinkie ads showed us that any puzzling problem can be solved by the liberal application of delicious, fruity filling and crispy, baked pie crust.
Take it from me, Mister Grant Morrison: If you want to create the crossover story of the year, you’ll send the DC heroes to the kinder, gentler Earth-Twinkie, where nobody’s arms ever get ripped off and everyone loves those delicious Hostess Snack Cakes.
Well, almost everyone.