Morrison’s map to the DC Multiverse has Batman all over it.
It’s not technically a Batbook but I’m picking it anyway because not only does the comic’s framing device prominently feature two alternate versions of Batman, the entire tour through Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity Guidebook – the latest in his mega-miniseries — gives us glimpses of various and sundry Knights Dark.
I had a chance to read the 80-pager while hunkering down in the blizzard that never hit 13th Dimension’s secret lair, and it’s classic Morrison: weird, fun, thoughtful, thought-provoking and somewhat inscrutable.
But in its way it’s the closest thing we’ll probably get to a treatise from Morrison on his philosophy of comics, DC Comics in particular. In his worldview, the readers, writers, artists, editors and executives are all active players in the DC Multiverse, with how we in Real Life react to the printed page has long-term effects on the life and times of the characters on it.
Plus there’s some really great pieces of art, from a wide array of DC regulars like Gary Frank, Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart and many, many others.
Practically speaking, Morrison lays out the nature and major characters from the current DCM’s 52 known Earths – I’m glad they’re qualifying that now – featuring the familiar, like the world of Gotham by Gaslight, and new iterations that play on a variety of archetypes. Seven Earths are left with question marks giving the company some flexibility.
One noteworthy element for Batfans in particular: There’s one Earth that doesn’t show up in the book that really surprised me. You’ll figure it out.
ALSO ON THE BATSHELVES THIS WEEK: Batman #38, of course, with Bats’ continuing battle with the Joker. We need an action figure of this more debonair Harlequin of Hate, by the way. There’s also Arkham Manor #4, which will end in a couple months but it still fun; the entertaining Gotham by Midnight #3; Catwoman #38, which is starting to wane for me; and, Harley Quinn #14 – guest-starring ol’ tall, dark and brooding himself.