Multiversal Geography: The Light Side

We're not done! The Earths, vibrating at different frequencies inside the Bleed, are but one small component of the Multiverse. It just happens to be the one we're most interested in. Still, the map shows a lot more. Light side first?
Let's talk generalities. As we know, the Multiverse is divided into quadrants, Light on the right, Dark on the left, Order on top and Chaos on the bottom. Earths and other dimensions fall into this spectrum, a structure very much borrowed from Dungeons & Dragons. The Prime Material Plane (AKA the Orrery of Worlds) is represented by 52 Earths floating in the "Bleed". This sphere is contained inside the Sphere of the Gods where god-like entities live (including the New Gods of the Fourth World) and direct our lives. Beyond that is the Monitor Sphere, suggesting the Monitors who keep an eye on the Earths are even more powerful than the gods of the DC Universe. Or maybe that this is the extent of the Monitors' influence/perception. They drew the map, they get to name it. According to Morrison's liner notes, the Monitor race dwells here, one for each Earth (they used to be countless).

While lines lead from each world in the God Sphere to the Bleed and sometimes beyond even the Monitor Sphere, each sphere is divided from the next by a wall. The Speed Force divides the Bleed from the Gods (so accessible from the Earths; is there a reason it's only marked in the Chaos hemisphere?). The Monitors simply think of it as the Speed of Light. An unnamed green line divides God Sphere and Monitor Sphere, probably permeable (more when we discuss Limbo, below). And the Source Wall stands between the Monitor Sphere and the whiteness around it, marked as both the Source and the Overvoid on the map, and as the "limit of thought" in Morrison's notes. Morrison goes on to say that here lies only Monitor-mind, the Source and the Unknowable. I'm willing to bet we readers are part of that Monitor-mind. We're who monitors even the Monitors.
At the center of the Orrery is a big compass thing, I imagine just for our orientation. There's no physical structure there, unless the "House of Heroes" marked on the map is some kind of Monitor base. All I know is that Multiversity #1's subtitle was/is going to be House of Heroes. More than that, I can't be sure. It also looks like Shazam's Rock of Eternity is floating loose in the center of the Bleed. So is that the mountain acting as a down-pointing arrow, springing from the House (and if so, what's its black opposite?) or is it just symbolic? And if the Rock of Eternity is unique in the Multiverse, does that mean every version of the Marvel Family's Shazam is the same guy?
At the "north" pole or pure Order is Wonderworld, right above a double-vision "unknown world" I surmised may once have been the Fourth World (Apokolips/New Genesis overlapping). I assumed this partly because of primal superheroes of the Theocracy who orbit creation in their Worldquarters here have a connection to the New Gods. The little antennae have a Kirbyesque feel to them too.
Going right up from there into the God Sphere, we have Dream, AKA the Dreaming, where Neil Gaiman's Sandman makes his home and where we all go to at night. Though I get the idea of opposing Dream to Nightmare (we'll get to it tomorrow), I'm surprised Dream's domain would be aligned with Order. According to the notes, the Halls of the Endless, the Courts of Fairie, Gemworld and both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are all incorporated into this dimension, so it represents much more than Morpheus' lands.

Beyond it is Limbo, which Morrison used for the first time in Animal Man, where lost and forgotten characters wind up, "where memory and matter break down". Think of it as a repository for people and things shunted out of the observable DC Universe and from which the forces of creation (creative teams) can snatch elements in the next major or minor reordering of the Multiverse. My big question is why there's a Limbo beyond each God plane. It may be a matter of graphic representation. Limbo is actually the wall between God Sphere and Monitor Sphere, going all around the Multiverse, picking up stray forgotten concepts, drawn as pools to show it's a place, not just a frontier.
The top part of the map has an extra world in the Monitor Sphere which might be the Monitor homeworld. Nil? [Edit: I read "Kil" originally; the World of Nil is references in Final Crisis as the Monitor spawning place.] I've never heard of it. Interestingly, Destiny of the Endless, also a watcher and chronicler of worlds, is shown even above the Monitor Sphere, a hint that readers really are the "Overvoid" (not a void over the rest, but over the void perceived by the rest). After all, there are several Earths that are LIKE ours (Earth-33 most prominently), but that aren't really. We're well above this, able to look at SEVERAL Multiverses from our vantage point (DC's, Marvel's, and any fictional world in any medium's).
Heaven is the Silver City of Sandman fame, the home of the Spectre, and the home of the Hosts as depicted in the Zauriel stories of Morrison's (and others') JLA. It is opposed to Hell on the map, naturally. Why the beam of light piercing even the Source Wall? Well maybe DC's Heaven is also the real world's, and if we're beyond the whiteness, our conception of the place links back there. On the map, any God-world accepted as real by various real-world cultures has that connection to the Overvoid, but highly fictional ones (Dream/Nightmare and Apokolips/New Genesis) do not. It might be wort mentioning here that between each God-World is a lightning bolt going from Source Wall and Speed Wall, which one might take to be readers' access into the stories of the Multiverse. Before calling me too meta, remember we're dealing with Grant Morrison here.
In the New52, New Genesis has gone from planet to its own dimension, making it unique in the Multiverse, except that it is still vulnerable to Earth-shattering Crises. Maybe the New Gods are vulnerable to reboots because they cross over with the Earth(s) so much. The Forever People currently in publication sure aren't the ones from the 70s. Then again, if Earth-51 is a kind of Kirbyverse that includes incarnations of the New Gods made flesh, THESE might be who our heroes constantly do battle with, echoes of an eternal, immutable pantheon of Core New Gods. As for the Pinnacle, it's just a fancy way to mark the Light side of the map, just as the other axis is marked by Order and Chaos, not a place unto itself.
Nestled against the Speed Force Wall, we find KWYZZ, which I realize now I've confused with Zrfff, AKA the Fifth Dimension home to such imps as Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. This is actually the "radio universe" home to KRAKKL the Defender, an imp associated with the Flash in a Grant Morrison-penned Flash story (makes sense of its position). Ah, but the notes refer to this place as "the Frequencies of KWYZZ", so they might encompass a 5th Dimension. If not, where the the heck IS the 5th Dimension? Well, there ARE unnamed dots where other beams pierce the Speed Force, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a better spot for Zrfff than at the crossroads of Light and Chaos. It's either that or it's part of Dream.
If Heaven is the seat of Monotheism, Skyland is where the Pagan Gods reside. Norse, Greek, Chinese, African, alien, whatever. Asgard, Olympus and the rest. I wonder if the name is a reference to the Silver Age Batman story "Murder in Skyland", which takes place in an alien amusement park?

I'd keep circling the Spheres, but we'd be here all day. How about we pick this up on the dark side tomorrow?


SallyP said...

This has been confusing the heck out of me, and thank you for making it all a little bit more coherent!

Anonymous said...

"Wonderworld" is a Uriah Heep album, perched atop the multiverse and emitting the very Music of the Spheres.


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