A Multiverse of Confusion: Grant Morrison

by Peter

Before I begin, I want to note that I am not attempting to bash anyone. I have so much respect for what writers and artists do in comics that I could never possibly bash anyone, because they do things I only dream of! With that said…

I have a love/hate relationship with the work of comic book writer Grant Morrison. Grant has been involved in some of DC comics biggest storylines for several years now on things like Batman: RIP, Final Crisis, 52, Batman & Robin, Seven Soldiers of Victory, and more. He has a talent for reinventing characters as well as creating new ones. He is a self described “counter culture artist” which is why sometimes his work is confusing as all hell.  My first encounter with Grant’s work was actually when I was getting back into comics a few years ago and picked up 52. It was written by several different people, so even to this day I’m not 100% on who-wrote-what in the book, but as I went along with the series I began to pick up other titles from the writers.

For Grant Morrison, I began to read Batman again. I was taken in with this new “forgotten” backstory of people like Dr. Hurt and all these experiments, the “Back Up Batmen” as I liked to call them. He did a great job in setting up and executing the RIP. From there? Things get confusing, as do my feeling about his work. Final Crisis was on the horizon and for me, I was anticipating it a lot more than Marvel’s Secret Invasion. I loved the New Gods and was stoked that they’d be involved in the third “Crisis” anthology. Boy would things get interesting.

Countdown to Final Crisis was disappointing and confusing, though not Grant’s fault. It would involve way too big of a cast of characters and fail to bring back the same great story telling as 52, most likely because it didn’t involve the same team. So the lead up to Final Crisis became somewhat “lackluster”. Certain things didn’t make sense, why some people were even involved at this point confused the hell out of me. But once the actual mini-series began, I was relieved. The first couple issues were great in building a world where the heroes could seemingly lose and the universe as we know it end.

But then Grant brings in “Superman 3D” which to be honest, I still don’t understand what the hell happened in that two issues novelty book. By the end, when we witness Batman’s “death” in Final Crisis, it only goes downhill. Darkseid becomes a disembodied blackhole that is pulling the multiverse in, Superman whistles and blows up bad guys, and for some reason everyone is being shrunk and stored away while Superman then saves us all from the future. I didn’t get it. Oh! Then we get an evil vampire at the end of time who we haven’t even been informed of.

It was almost like Grant went “Shit, I finished the story in 6 issues and I still have 2 left! What the hell do I do know? Aaahhh I’ll throw in a vampire, some super hero animals, some Japanese characters that didn’t catch on, and the Green Lantern Corps!” When I finished Final Crisis I was disappointed, confused and wanting a reason why I just read all that. I understand he likes to use concepts from other cultures, to make us use our minds and broaden our horizons. Sometimes, thats great! Sometimes, when you’re working on the biggest book of the year from one of the “Big Two”…you might want to tone it down and just tell a good story.

When it was all said and done, I wound up enjoying Secret Invasion a lot more, and I’m not even a big reader of Marvel books! Grant Morrison is capable of writing great stuff. He’s also capable of greatly confusing some of his fans, myself included. I’ll continue reading books he writes, but sometimes I wish someone would know when to veto some of his ideas. (I’m looking at you Dan Didio and Geoff Johns!)

The cover to Greg Cox’s novelization.

On another note, if you’re like me and you wished Final Crisis made more sense, go out and pick up the novelization by Greg Cox. I enjoyed it a LOT more than the comic itself. The ending makes a bit more sense (though still not the best) and the ENTIRE Superman 3D nonsense is cut out. It’s available in softcover so you won’t spend a lot on it either.

PETER has been trying to successfully write this article since he started BigDamnGeeks but always seemed to muck it up.  PS – If Peter ever disappears, Grant’s minions probably killed him. Yes, he has minions.

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