The Multiversity: Mastermen #1 (DC)

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CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – A Much Too Quick Visit to Earth-10.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

I’ve reviewed a few of the Multiversity books and have found the majority of them to be fantastic. Grant Morrison is taking us through a tour of the DC Multiverse, visiting multiple earths while maintaining some consistent themes and characters throughout. In Multiversity: Mastermen that tour takes us to Earth-10 where we encounter Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters in their attempt to take down a nazi raised Superman. Whereas Pax Americana required some cliff notes and rereading to make sense of it all, Mastermen is about as straight forward a story as I think you can get from Grant Morrison.

Morrison opens with Adolf Hitler in a bathroom stall reading Superman comics (a scene that was all over message forums & comics news sites), right off the bat he grabs your attention. Although it’s a comedic opening, from that point on the story carries a somber tone as we see Superman take over the Earth. This is a story that could have easily been told over multiple issues and multiple arcs, but this is a quick one-issue stop on the tour and Morrison has to quickly move the the story along. Unfortunately, I think that ultimately hurt the story as I ended up wanting to see more (though maybe wanting more is a good thing if this is a jump off point to more stores on this world down the line).  I wanted to see the origins of this Earth’s Justice League and more of Superman’s upbringing. Morrison takes us from Superman as a baby, then jumps ahead by seventeen years, and later in the story again by sixty years. You get a complete story that’s reminiscent of a DC tale from the Silver Age, but I’d have loved to have seen this Earth get much more time.

When you see Jim Lee’s name on the cover, that usually means you’re about to see some special art by a master of his craft. Lee’s art in this issue is for the most part solid, but it has four different inkers and that gives an inconsistent look to the art. Some faces look rushed and panels with Superman’s Justice League look plain and unfinished. It’s an oversized issue which is a challenge for any single artist, but it left me feeling it could have been much better. That said, even a “not at his best” Jim Lee is still solid.

Story wise, Mastermen delivers a complete story that presents an interesting and exciting Earth-10. At the same time I was left wanting to see more as Morrison takes us through over seventy-five years of its history in about thirty pages leaving me feeling as though I didn’t get enough. Regrettably, much like the story the art felt rushed as well. I hope we get to revisit this world post DC’s convergence as there’s so much story left to be told, I just hope that the next time the creators get more time to tell it.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
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