So yesterday, we started looking at Grant Morrison's Multiversity map to see what clues we might get as so the series and the DC Multiverse in general. One thing I neglected to mention, and should, is that in a recent interview, Morrison made a point of the fact the left side of the map was "dark" (with Apokolips in the middle of the God-Sphere surrounding the Earths) and the right side was "light" (with New Genesis in the opposite spot). In short, Earths on the left side are more dark & gritty, while on the right, they're more light-hearted. We might take that into account when we try to figure out what's on them. Shall we run through 10 more? Alright.
Post-52 (but pre-New52... is the nomenclature at all confusing?), Earth-11 was ear-marked as the Earth where superheroes were gender-switched (or, depending on the story, just far more diverse). That's a worthy approach that definitely fits the "light" side of the map. But why is the planet upside down? Is it simply a reference to the gender reversal, or something more? One other thing: The planets don't all show the continents in the same relative position; some show Asia, others America, Europe and Africa, or the Pacific, etc. Earth-11, though upside down, shows the exact same "face" as the nearby Earth-16, however. Is there a connection? That's the Earth where, according to Morrison's interviews, threats have been eliminated (as on Earth-3, sitting directly opposite the dark/light divide), but by the good guy heroes (as chronicled in Multiversity #3: The Just).
Post-52, Earth-12 was related to the DC Animated Universe, and where, for example, Batman Beyond's events too place. Now that Batman Beyond is a part of the New52, that may have changed. But look at the planet, its continents are DRAWN, with a dark line dividing land and water. That, and its placement on the light side of the map, tells me it's still Bruce Timm country. Or, it may have reverted to its pre-Crisis placement as the parody world of the Inferior 5.
The dark color (and dark placement) lends truth to the idea that, as in the post-52 multiverse, this is where some Vertigo series used to take place. If it merged with the New52 in Flashpoint #5, restoring DC characters back to the central shared universe, what's left? Maybe Vertigo as it used to be, with a non-superhero Constantine, the super-weird Doom Patrol and DC characters still published under Vertigo, like the Dead Boy Detectives.
Our first question mark, as this is one of seven "unknown worlds" as Morrison calls them. I'm not sure what he means when he says this used to be a DC theme, but I definitely see the sense in not exploring EVERYTHING. Leave some room for new ideas (which is, by and large, why I thought reducing the Multiverse to only 52 Earths was a dumb idea in the first place). This one is different from the other mystery Earths in that it's really two planets overlapping each other. What's the deal with that? Well, the only notation I can find on an "Earth-14" is in Mark Evanier's text piece in the early 80s New Gods reprints. There he speculates that non-Kirby's Fourth World stories occur on Earth-14, dismissing what was attempted in the late 70s by the likes of Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart, stories that, among other things, killed off Darkseid. One might also place the Super-Powers mini-series on Earth-14, making if far from an obscure world because it had a dedicated action figures line. Now that Apokolips and New Genesis are "unique" in the Multiverse and have their own spots in the God-Sphere surrounding the 52, the spot becomes an "unknown" that would have included both planets, ergo the tell-tale double circles. Another clue? It's right over Earth-Prime, with easy Boom Tube access, and right under Wonderworld, a planet made by the Fourth World gods to guard the universe's frontiers from Mageddon and free to fly through the Bleed (this according to Morrison's own JLA #12).
Completely in shadow, Earth-15 seems a lot more mysterious. Unless the events of Countdown are still in continuity. You see, this utopia was destroyed by Superboy-Prime during that much-criticized series. It was the home of a humanitarian Luthor and a Superman who was friendly version of Zod. But did it move to the dark side of the map after its destruction? Because it sounds like a lighter place that just got done in by a villain from another world.
As previously mentioned, Earth-16 will get its own issue of Multiversity and features a world where the good guys won. From the cover, it looks like heroes then became celebrities, the subject of tabloid gossip. See, the Justice League did all the work, and now the sidekicks have nothing to do. Post-52, this was the world where Bob Haney's Super-Sons happened, which fits perfectly. Should be amusing.
No clues from the picture, though there's no reason to believe Morrison would make a change from the post-52 version. This is the Earth where the Great Cataclysm occurred, and where Kamandi (mentioned as appearing in Multiversity) lives, along with the Atomic Knights, and according to the 52 series, a version of Etrigan called Superdemon and Ditko's Starman.
We know the western-style Earth of the Justice Riders is in Multiversity, and post-52, Earth-18 was where it was situated. No real clue to that here, though, since you'd expect to see North America facing us for that one. Now, I'm not a fan of various Elseworlds showing up as Earths, a concept that has been very badly executed in the past (in Arena, for example, and in the current digital comic version of Infinite Crisis), but at least they mostly picked the best ones to fit into the 52. Here's another:
It's obvious from the Victorian look of this one that Earth-19 is still "Gotham by Gaslight", lending credence to the idea other Earths haven't been changed that much from what 52 established.
First glimpsed in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, Earth-20 (which also looks drawn and old-fashioned) is going to be featured heavily in Multiversity as an Earth filled with pulp versions of DC heroes, among them Doc Fate (Doc Savage/Dr. Fate), leader of the Society of Superheroes. Immortal Man, Lady Blackhawk, the Mighty Atom, and ah, the demonic (Abin Sur?) Green Lantern (so that's where he's from) are also members. We won't have to wait long to make a visit because they're in the very first issue of Multiversity, under the full title "The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World". Counter-World? Yes, according to solicitation copy, they'll be fighting denizens of Earth-40, led by Vandal Savage. That Earth is opposite to 20 diagonally, which may be a clue as to how to read the map, not like a mirror, but always going through the center axis, like a wheel. Then again, there's the similarities between mirrored 3 and 16...
We're well into it now. See you Monday for the next batch!