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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Multiversity Map Revisited And Reading Guide

By: Harper Harris and Kyle Pinion

With the release of the Multiversity Guidebook last week, we finally got our answers regarding which Earths were which in Grant Morrison's massive tapestry that basically sets the course for the entire New 52 going forward on a cosmic-level (if DC sticks with it). So the question is, how close did we get?

Thanks to our collective memories, some internet research and estimated guessing, we came up with our big list a few months back. Now below, you'll see just how well we did along with some further analysis. Additionally, just for kicks, we also added a reading guide for anyone who might want to delve further into a specific Earth or the stories that may have inspired the more "pastiche" offerings.

Earth Breakdown
Earth 0 - New 52 Main Earth (Opposite: Earth 33)
The main Earth where all the happenings of the New 52 occur. Such as in Grant Morrison's Action Comics run.

Earth 1 - Earth One (Opposite: Earth 13)
Not where the sporadic series of Earth One graphic novels take place, according to Dan DiDio. Given it's sun-like look, could it potentially be the world of All-Star Superman? Morrison's well-loved Superman tale does seem like the perfect antithesis of the darker Vertigo Earth.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: Despite all clues to the contrary, this Earth has been revealed to be the home of the Earth 1 series of graphic novels, including the forthcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette.

Earth 2 - Earth 2 (Opposite: Earth 3)
Home of the Justice Society of America, where the current Earth 2 series takes place, where Darkseid attacked before Earth 0. Interesting to note that Earth 2 has generally been home to the JSA in the DCU (A certain Morrison/Quitely one-shot excepted)

Earth 3 - Crime Syndicate (Opposite: Earth 2)
Where the evil counterparts Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, etc. come from. The main villains in the recent Forever Evil event, with Superwoman still showing up in the most recent issue of Justice League.

Earth 4 - Charlton Comics (Opposite: Earth 42)
Originally the home of the Charlton characters (the Question, Captain Atom, etc.) that essentially became Watchmen. Where the Pax Americana issues of Multiversity will take place.

Earth 5 - Thunderworld (Opposite: Earth 10)
Where Shazam (or as he may still be referred to on this Earth, Captain Marvel) is the "Superman" of this world. This Captain Marvel was last seen in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond. Interesting to note that this is in a similar location to 4, but is touched by Heaven instead of Hell, perhaps giving it its innocent nature. 

Earth 6 - Just Imagine Stan Lee Creates the DC Universe (Opposite: Earth 51)
Where the bizarre series of comics featuring DC characters being re-imagined by Stan Lee occurs. The closest Earth to Apokolips, and opposite of essentially the Jack Kirby Earth.

Earth 7 - Unknown Elseworlds Earth?
The Ultimate Universe (Opposite: Earth 22)
One of the key mysteries of the map. Pre-New 52 this was home to older versions of Stargirl and Jakeem Thunder, but this version is in the same orbit with the most well-known Elseworlds stories. Could this be the home of The Nail or The Liberty Files, or potentially a new place for The New Frontier rather than Earth 21. Update: This Earth has appeared in the above preview image for The Multiversity's first issue. Is this an Earth that's been ravaged by Solaris, The Tyrant Sun? 

Multiversity #1 Update: After reading the first issue, it's made apparent that this is a streamlined aesthetically, more culturally diverse version of Earth 8. Thus, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that this is, in effect, the "Ultimate" iteration of that world ala The Avengers and The Ultimates. 

Earth 8 - Rampaging Retaliators (Opposite: Earth 44)
Home of pastiches of Marvel characters. (get it? Retaliators/Avengers!) They have also been known as the Champions of Angor. Kind of interesting given the Justice League analogues in current New Avengers comics.

Earth 9 - Tangent Comics (Opposite: Earth 18)
AKA the Jurgens-verse, supposedly an Earth more directly affected by the existence of superheroes than Earth 0. Last seen in Justice League of America #50.


Earth 10 - The Master Men (Opposite: Earth 5)
Where the Nazis won WWII and are fought by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Where the sixth Multiversity story will take place with the Nazi New Reichsman in 1956.

Earth 11 - Matriarchal Earth (Opposite: Earth 46)
Home of gender swapped heroes such as Superwoman, Batwoman, and Wonderman. Worth noting that it is touched by Skyland where the Greek Gods live, so there’s a connection to Wonder Woman there.

Earth 12 - DC Animated Universe (Opposite: Earth 50)
Home of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series, and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. 

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We now know that this is specifically the 'Beyond' versions, as it is stated that it has "a timeline running slightly in advance."

Earth 13 - Vertigo (Opposite: Earth 1)
This dark Earth has historically been home to Constantine, Sandman, and other Vertigo properties. Most of these characters merged with Earth 0 at the end of Flashpoint (along with the Wildstorm Earth) but seems to still exist here. Notably dark and moon-like as opposed to it’s sun-esque opposite in Earth 1.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We were mostly correct, but with just different (new) versions of these Vertigo characters, basically applying a Justice League model to them.

Earth 14 - Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 29)
In old DC continuity, this was home of the New Gods, but now it is one of the universes left by Morrison for other writers to explore. This would be the most orderly universe, the exact opposite of Bizarro World.

Earth 15 - Destroyed Utopian World (Opposite: Earth 17)
Post 52 this was a utopian world where superheroes had solved all the world’s problems, but was then destroyed by Superboy Prime and is now a desolate world with no life. Last seen in Countdown.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We find out here that this is also the current home of the "Cosmic Grail", which looks a lot like a Green Lantern.

Earth 16 - Earth-Me (Opposite: Earth 45)
Home of The Just, the ultra self-absorbed celebrity children of the Justice League, and focus of the third issue of Multiversity.

Earth 17 - Atomic Knights/Monkey Earth (Opposite: Earth 15)
A primarily simian Earth that also features the Atomic Knights. Last seen at the end of 52.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: The monkey aspect seems to be pretty much gone at this point, but the Atomic Knights are still here.

Earth 18 - Justice Riders (Opposite: Earth 9)
Where the Justice League are all cowboys in the wild west, from the Justice Riders one-shot. Mentioned in the solicit for Multiversity, but which issue is not known.

Earth 19 - Gotham by Gaslight (Opposite: Earth 34)
This distinct looking Earth is a Victorian era universe where the famed Gotham by Gaslight graphic novel takes place. 

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: This is now combined with the Amazonia (our guess for Earth 34).

Earth 20 - Society of Superheroes (Opposite: Earth 40)
The focus of the second issue of Multiversity, where DC’s heroes come in the pulp variety, featuring Doc Fate (Doc Savage + Doctor Fate). They’ll be fighting their evil counterparts from Earth 40.  

Society of Superheroes #1 Update: It turns out they are reading the same Ultra Comics issue that appears on Earth 33. This will prove important as we go along.


Earth 21 - New Frontier (Opposite: Earth 48)
Where Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier takes place. Space age and stylish, and led in many ways by Green Lantern Hal Jordan.

Earth 22 - Kingdom Come (Opposite: Earth 7)
One of the key Elseworlds tales falls on this inner orbit (more on that later), where traditional superheroes and the brash next generation clash.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: Interesting to note that now that we can see a closeup version of this Earth, you can see the Gulag.

Earth 23 - President Superman (Opposite: Earth 41)
Home of black versions of the Justice League, where Superman is the president, presumably the same guy that was in the beginning of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. This is where Multiversity #1 starts, as President Superman discovers a threat to the multiverse.


Earth 24 - Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 30)
It’s unknown and will not be covered by Morrison in Multiversity, but this Earth is connected to Hell and may be an Elseworlds story according to our theory below.


Earth 25 - Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 31)
Another left for another writer, but this Earth is connected to Skyland and may be also be an Elseworlds story.

Earth 26 - Captain Carrot - (Opposite: Earth 39)
This planet represents the cartoonish world of Captain Carrot and theAmazing Zoo-Crew. Last officially seen in Final Crisis in the Captain Carrot and the Final Ark one-shot, though he made a New 52 appearance as Captain K-Rot in Keith Giffen's cancelled Threshold series.

Earth 27 - Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 32)
Pre-Crisis, this was a planet with an alternate version of Animal Man and played a pivotal role in the Morrison series. It's now relegated to being fleshed out by another writer as one of the “Seven Unknown Earths”

 Earth 28 - Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 37)

Earth 29 - Bizarro World (Opposite: Earth 14)
The most chaotic of the 52 Earths, this is a world where every superhero is a Bizarro character. Last seen in Geoff Johns and Eric Powell's Escape fromBizarro World story-arc in Action Comics and the Bizarro World limited series.

Earth 30 - Red Son (Opposite: Earth 24)
A world where Superman where discovered by Soviet migrants and raised as the ultimate hero for the USSR. Created in the Superman: Red Son mini-series.

Earth 31- The Dark Knight Batman: Leatherwing (Opposite: Earth 25)
This is the go-to world for Frank Miller's Dark Knight stories (Batman Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, All Star Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and a few tangential tales).

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: Unfortunately, this world that has historically always been home to Miller's Batman creations has been rewritten to be a pirate world based on a Detective Comics Annual that took place in an Elseworlds. It's especially odd considering the art for these characters in the guidebook is a bit Dark Knight-esque.

Earth 32 - In Darkest Knight (Opposite: Earth 27)
A world where Bruce Wayne becomes a member of the Green Lantern Corps instead of Batman. Created in Batman: In Darkest Knight by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We were right about a Green Lantern Batman, but basically makes a whole world based on merged characters (Superman+Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman+Hawkgirl, Aquaman+Flash).

Earth 33 - Earth Prime, aka Our Earth. (Opposite: Earth 0) 
Where Superboy Prime is being held powerless and/or the home of the Superman that appears in Superman: Secret Identity.

Earth 34 – Amazonia Astro City (Opposite: Earth 19)
Originally this earth was reserved for the storyline Wonder Woman: Amazonia. Given the Victorian setting and its mirror opposite, this may still be the case.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: This is now essentially Kurt Busiek's Astro City (Cosmoville here).


Earth 35 – The Super-Americans (Opposite: Earth 47)
Currently unreferenced in previous continuity, but given its neon-colored counterpart, perhaps it's a straight-laced, semi-conservative type earth.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: This is essentially the Supreme universe, here called the Super-Americans team.

Earth 36 – Big Bang Comics (Opposite: Earth 38) 
Currently unreferenced in previous continuity, but there's an odd sort of Pan-Am/Captain Planet logo quality to this Earth's appearance. Morrison has stated this is the home of Red Racer, a gay man who has the powers of The Flash.  

Multiversity #1 Update: Red Racer's partner appears to be the Green Lantern of this world.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We knew Red Racer was here, but now we see that these are versions of the Big Bang Comics characters.

Earth 37 – Chaykin-verse (Opposite: Earth 23)
Pre-New 52, this was the world designated for Howard Chaykin's dawn of the 60's tale, Batman: Thrillkiller.  

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We now know that Earth-37 isn't just Thrillkiller, but also a world centered on all of Chaykin's work including Twilight and Ironwolf. (Thanks to David Mann for the image)


Earth 38 – Superman & Batman: Generations (Opposite: Earth 36)
This was once the home of a version of Captain Atom as the leader of the Atomic Knights. That previous status is currently up in the air. 

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: This is now based on John Byrnes' Generations elseworlds story, with Superman and Batman appearing in the 30's and their children are the current superheroes.

Earth 39 – Wally Wood (Opposite: Earth 26)
Morrison has stated in interviews that this is the world dedicated to the work of Wally Wood and no superheroes exist.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: We were kind of right in that it's Wally Wood-based, but this is based specifically on his T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents characters.

Earth 40 – Society of Supervillains (Opposite: Earth 20)
This is the dark mirror of the pulp world seen on Earth 20, of which this earth, whose villainous team is led by Vandal Savage, is locked in constant battle with. Society of Superheroes #1 Update: It turns out they are reading the same Ultra Comics issue that appears on Earth 33. This will prove important as we go along. 

  Earth 41 – Psuedo-Image (Opposite: Earth 32)
Currently unreferenced in previous continuity.

Multiversity #1 Update: Earth 41 is the home of Dino-Cop and Spore. Dino-Cop is a pastiche of Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, and it's likely that a character identified as "Spore" is probably the DC version of Todd McFarlane's Spawn. Earth 41 looks to be similar to a mid-90s version of Image comics.

Earth 42 – Chibi-Earth (Opposite: Earth 4)
Also unreferenced anywhere at the current time, but what exactly would be the opposite of a Watchmen influenced world? Perhaps the world of the Supreme analogue seen in Final Crisis? Or the World of Top Ten (currently owned by DC)?  

Multiversity #1 Update: This is the Chibi-Earth with child-like versions of the Justice League, where mortality and real evil are unheard of.

Earth 43 – Vampires!! (Opposite: Earth 49)
Home of the Vampire League, first created in the seminal Batman/Dracula: Red Rain.

Earth 44 – Doc Tornado and his Metal Men (Opposite: Earth 8)
This was originally the home of Doc Tornado and his Metal Men (a robotic JLA), and may still be the case.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: It's worth noting that Doc Tornado looks exactly like Grant Morrison here...

Earth 45 – Corporate Earth (Opposite: Earth 16)
First seen in Morrison's run of Action Comics, this is the world of corporate super-heroes, including SuperDoom.

Earth 46 – Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 11)

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: For whatever reason, this is noted as "the second most mysterious of the 7 unknown earths". It gets hit by a beam from Underworld.

Earth 47 – Sunshine Superman (Opposite: Earth 35) 
The aforementioned Neon-colored planet, perhaps Sunshine Superman, a character that appeared in Morrison's run on Animal Man, has his own world?

Earth 48 – Lord Volt and Lady Quark (Opposite: Earth 21)
Once the planet of the Forerunners, created for Countdown to Final Crisis. But, with the triangle logo on the Earth and its status in direct opposition with seemingly the home of the New Frontier Earth, this has likely changed.  

Multiversity #1 Update: With Lord Volt and Lady Quark appearing the background of the gathered heroes scene and Earth 48 being highlighted in that issue, it seems very likely that they hail from here

Earth 49 – Seven Unknown Earths (Opposite: Earth 43)
What stands opposite to a Vampire Earth? An Earth of Angels? 

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: For whatever reason, this is noted as "the most mysterious of the 7 unknown earths". It gets hit by a beam from Skyland. 

Earth 50 – Wildstorm The Justice Lords (Opposite: Earth 12)
This is the Wildstorm Earth, particularly notable for series like Warren Ellis' The Authority and Planetary, and Ed Brubaker's Sleeper.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: This is the planet of the Justice Lords, the tyrannical version of the Justice League. These characters are more-or-less based on The Authority, so it makes sense that they take the place of the Wildstorm characters.

Earth 51 – Kirby World (Opposite: Earth 6)
From the climax of Final Crisis, this is where Jack Kirby's non-Fourth World DC creations are housed (OMAC, Kamandi, etc...)

Theories and Questions
The Sphere of the Gods: 
Each realm within the Sphere of the Gods, other than Dream and Nightmare, is transmitting energy either to or from particular Earths. For example, Heaven's “energy beam”, for lack of a better term, travels through Earth 5, the unknown Earth 48, Earth 20 and Earth 30. Each of these planets (the ones we can identify) represents a sort-of Golden Age take on the Superhero. This is particularly amplified in the fact that Superman represents Zeus in Morrison's conception of the JLA as Greek Gods, with the most direct shot being aimed at the world of “Red Son” Superman. Comparatively, The Underworld is typically associated with the Greek God of Death, Hades. That particular realm fires through the Watchmen inspired Earth 4, Earth 46, Earth 35, and most directly Earth 31, and again with Batman representing Hades in the JLA pantheon. Skyland, the home of the Greek pantheon among other ancient belief systems, fires through Earths 42, 11 (the gender-swapped Earth), 47, and 25. Though only Earth 11 is officially identified, these Earths all seemingly represent a sort of “naturalist” approach. Even Earth 11 could be a nod toward Gaia, the female personification of the Earth in Greek mythology. Wonder Woman as Hera is clearly the touchstone here. Lastly there is Hell, a place of corruption and wickedness, whose gaze falls on Earths 10 (where the Nazis rule the planet), 43 (Vampire world), 40 (the evil counterparts of Earth 20), and the unknown Earth 24.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: Now that Earth 6 is confirmed as the Stan Lee universe, it's worth noting that it is getting hit by a beam from Apokolips and is opposite of the Kirby earth that is being shot by New Genesis. Hell is hitting all evil earths (Nazis, vampires, Society of Superheroes binary Earth 40). Underworld is hitting the darker, more conservative takes on super-heroism (Pax Americana world, Earth 46, the Awesome/Supreme pastiche world, and Pirate Batman). Heaven is centered on somewhat lighter fare turning darker as we move towards the center (Thunderworld, The Society of Superheroes, the Red Son Earth, with the mysterious Earth 49 between the first two), and Skyland fires off at more naturalist approaches (the humorously titled Earth-42 or "420", the gender-swapped Earth, and the Sunshine Superman world). The juxtaposition between the Underworld Earths vs. the Skyland Earths and the Heaven vs Hell Earths is pretty brilliant. There's surely an entire scale that could made here ala roleplaying games: "lawful neutral" etc...

The Center Ring: 
There's a loose relationship between each of the planets on the individual orbital rings, which makes sense given the conceit that what happens on say Earth 5 might be fictional, and the subject of a comic book, on Earth 10 in Morrison's Multiversity concept. The center ring is of particular interest though, as it seems to focus on the most popular Elseworld stories: The Dark Knight Returns (Earth 31), Red Son (Earth 30), and Earth 22 (Kingdom Come) provided that the pre-New 52 listing still holds. The question is then, what is Earth 7? It was once identified as the world of Starwoman, but that's very unlikely here. Is there a slightly darker Elseworlds counterpart to Kingdom Come (as KC is aligned to New Genesis and Earth 7 is nearer to Apokolips)?  

Multiversity #1 Update: As above, if Earth 7 is the DC version of the Ultimate-line, than this theory can still hold, as what Elseworld is truly more popular than Marvel's Ultimate titles?

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: With the Dark Knight Returns out on Earth 31, this one has to be tossed sadly. Unless you think Pirate Batman is a seminal story for the character.

Black, White, Green, and Pink Lines:
Other than the white Orbital lines that connect the four rings of planetary groupings, there are also a set of lines that seem to extend from out of the Speed Force itself? For example, there is a line connecting Earths 29, 43, 37 and 31 before it ends at the Rock of Eternity and the House of Heroes in the center. The Seven Unknown Earths are connected in a similar way. Are these possibly speed force travel-ways? Perhaps if a speedster sought to venture from Earth 43 to Earth 31, he or she would need to go through the Chaykin Batman world first? This could also just be a design choice, but in Morrison projects, little usually goes to waste.

Multiversity Guidebook Correction: Jury is still out on this one and the next question posed below:

Earth 14:
Why is that Earth different than the other Unknown Earths? What could be the orderly counterpart of Bizarro World?

Reading Guide

Earth 0
The first Justice League run is sort of the quintessential read for this earth, but if you want to read something that's much better, try one of the individual hero books.

Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin
Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel
Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood
Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

Earth 1
Superman: Earth One, Vol. 1

Earth 2
Earth 2, Vol. 1: The Gathering

Earth 3
Forever Evil
JLA: Earth Two (no longer in continuity, but really at this point, what is continuity?)

Earth 4
Multiversity: Pax Americana

Earth 5
Multiversity: Thunderworld

Earth 6
Just Imagine...Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe Omnibus

Earth 7
The Ultimates, Vol. 1: Super-Human

Earth 8
Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers, Vol. 1
(Pick any Marvel book, this is a whole universe!)

Earth 9
Tangent Comics, Vol. 1

Earth 10
Multiversity: Mastermen (upcoming)

Earth 11
Superman/Batman Vol. 4: Vengeance

Earth 12
Batman Beyond Season 3
Batman Adventures, Vol. 1

Earth 13
Doom Patrol #53
Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1

Earth 14

Earth 15
It exists in a Countdown book, but do you really want to read that?

Earth 16
Multiversity: The Just

Earth 17
Nothing yet, besides the Multiversity Guidebook itself.

Earth 18
Justice Riders

Earth 19
Gotham by Gaslight
Wonder Woman: Amazonia

Earth 20
Multiversity: Society of Superheroes

Earth 21
The New Frontier Deluxe Edition

Earth 22
Kingdom Come

Earth 23
Action Comics #9

Earth 24

Earth 25

Earth 26
Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew

Earth 27

Earth 28

Earth 29
Tales from the Bizarro World
Superman: Escape from Bizarro World

Earth 30
Superman: Red Son

Earth 31
Detective Comics Annual #7 (out of print)

Earth 32
Batman: In Darkest Knight (out of print)

Earth 33
Multiversity: Ultra Comics (Upcoming)

Earth 34
Astro City: Life in the Big City

Earth 35
Supreme Blue Rose (tpb out July 21st)
Supreme: Story of the Year (out of print)

Earth 36
Your Big Book of Big Bang Comics
New Avengers, Vol. 4: A Perfect World

Earth 37
Thrillkiller (out of print)

Earth 38
Superman & Batman: Generations (out of print)

Earth 39
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents: The Best of Wally Wood

Earth 40
Multiversity: Society of Superheroes

Earth 41
Spawn: Origins
Savage Dragon Archives, Vol. 1

Earth 42
Batman: Li'l Gotham, Vol. 1

Earth 43
Batman: Vampire

Earth 44
Nothing yet.

Earth 45
Action Comics #9

Earth 46

Earth 47
Animal Man, Vol. 3: Deus Ex Machina

Earth 48
Nothing recommended.

Earth 49

Earth 50
Justice League Season Two

Earth 51
Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth Omnibus, Vol. 1 (out of print)
O.M.A.C. Omnibus, Vol. 1
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