TALES FROM THE DC DARK MULTIVERSE review
TALES FROM THE DC DARK MULTIVERSE review
AT A GLANCE :
This anthology collects one-shots and the classic issues that inspired them. Both the writing and art are pretty good on the new stuff ; the classic stuff is often great, and it should especially please superhero fans, so I give this anthology collection 4.5 stars all around.
Recommended to fans of straight-up superhero stories, especially the classic stuff.
TALES FROM THE DC DARK MULTIVERSE. Collected hardcover edition ; by various writers, artists et al. Released February 26, 2020. *
As DC Comics describes it :
After the events of Dark Nights: Metal, a gateway into the Dark Multiverse has opened, and its stories are revealed! Journey into twisted and tragic worlds where Bruce Wayne never reclaimed the mantle of the Bat from Azrael, Lois Lane became the Eradicator, and more!
REVIEW in depth
This collection looks back at five pivotal moments in the DC universe, re-imagined to show readers a worst-case scenario / unhappy ending for each. These worst of all possible worlds are only five of the dark, often hopeless worlds that comprise the Dark Multiverse.
These five tales are framed by the philosophical meditations of Tempus Fuginaut, a cosmic watcher at the threshold between the Dark Multiverse and the rest of the possible worlds. He has noticed that these dark worlds are growing in power, and he seeks out heroes to confront this threat.
After these five new stories come the classic issues that inspired them. Each classic issue depicts an important turning point in the history of the DC universe, and each has a happy – or at least, happier – ending. Also included in the collection’s 428 pages are variant covers and a sketchbook.
As I stated above, everything’s in the good-to-excellent range here, but going into individual details would take forever. However, I will say that the color work on the Tempus Fuginaut material is brilliant, both figuratively and literally, i.e., in the use of glowing white and fluorescing neons, which stands out nicely in digital format, backlit as it is (and, things being what they are, I’ve only seen the digital edition).
Some people might say that these days of pandemic aren’t the best for reading stories with unhappy endings. However, the classic issues show us the happier ending in the way that things actually worked out for the DC Universe.
And you what’s strange ? For me, reading this book was actually uplifting. That’s because the unhappy endings made me think, ‘Okay, things are bad right now, but there are always a lot of ways that things could be much worse.’
Besides, the stories show how small choices can have big repercussions, and this is something we all need to keep in mind, as we all navigate a strange new world, where choosing to wear a mask or give fellow strollers a wide berth can literally be a life-or-death decision.
In fact, Tempus Fuginaut focuses much on the interplay of light and darkness, using this as a metaphor for the struggle between good and evil and the conditional victory of life over death. These ruminations might not win any Pulitzers, but they were comforting in their own way.
Two things in these framing monologues stay with me. The first, incidental one is when Tempus Fuginaut riffs off of Led Zeppelin, describing the Dark Multiverse as “What is and what should never be.”
The second, more serious one is when the cosmic watcher says, “Let us cherish the light while we have it.”
In this time of pandemic, I feel like I have no choice but to agree.
* Collects Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Knightfall #1, Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death of Superman #1, Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1, Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis #1, and Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract #1. Plus these inspirational issues : Batman #497, Superman #75, Blackest Night #1, Infinite Crisis #1 and Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3.
I streamed this book from Hoopla Digital, free with my public library card. Check out Hoopla Digital’s collection of comics here.
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