Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Cameron Stewart
This one could be called All Star Captain Marvel. It’s that well done.
Grant Morrison stated once that the first comic he ever read was an issue of Captain Marvel (or Young Marvelman) where the titular hero meet Baron Munchausen. Morrison’s reverence for the pure joy of discover and imagination in comics shines through this issue, the best one so far in The Multiversity series. The issue itself plays like a basic good versus evil plot, an evil scientist seeks to add an additional day to the week where evil will reign supreme. Naturally, it’s up to Billy Batson and his magical powers granted through the utterance of the phrase “Shazam” to save the day. This issue shines in it’s simplicity, in it’s minute attention and reverence in the embrace of the triumph of heroism over evil. I make no qualms that Grant Morrison is my favorite author and a writer whose work continues to shape, change, and even save my life daily. Even though I hold his work dearest in my heart of hearts, I still can look at his output objectively and critically. Even through this lens, however, The Multiversity: Thunderworld is wholeheartedly a crowning achievement.
The ideas of Monster Societies, Lieutenant Marvels, and an eighth day of the week where evil reigns supreme may seem trite and comical at first glance, it’s the purity and earnest with which these ideas are presented that allows them to thrive and inspire even the coldest hearted of readers. Cameron Stewart’s art is revelation, as well. His pencils shine with exuberance, grace, and fluidity. His art shines in his dynamics and facial expressions, bringing to life that which is larger than it. Giant robots, Tiger-Men, and Cosmic Metaphysical Trains are abound in this book and our collective unconscious remains better for it. Nathan Fairbairn’s colors shine and pop, too, lending an important element to the classic, all-ages friendly sensibility of this issue.
This book also ties into the larger Multiversity arc as a whole, too, keeping the idea of the multi-cosmic comic book ever-present. At it’s whole, however, is the idea that good can always triumph over evil. Always. This is an idea that resonates with me completely and wholly. It plays into the idea of literature as an escape from worldly evils by presenting a living fantasy where supreme humans love, protect, and take care of us. This is why I read comics. Grant Morrison is why I read comics. The Multiversity solidifies why I read comics.