Grant Morrison is one of the few writers who truly thrives when he’s taken off the leash and given free reign to do whatever pops into the mad, whirling machine that is his mind. While not everything turns out perfectly, for every THE FILTH we get a WE3, DOOM PATROL and SEVEN SOLDIERS, so he’s on far, far more than he’s off and this final issue in the oddly lucid (at least by his standards) Multiversity stands as a testament to his ability to use pre-existing characters in completely new ways while telling a multilayered story that spans not just time, but universes. Trying to explain exactly what happens this issue would actually take the rest of the review, and beyond, as the minutae is so moment-to-moment that there’s a tremendous amount that occurs both on and off-panel. There's a frantic, breakneck pace to the issue that becomes oddly easier to comprehend as the issue is read faster and faster, particularly the part with 15 Flashes, but now that's getting into plot details and that way lies madness.
Ivan Reis pencils and has to be commended for managing to contain all the weirdness that Morrison has in his script and how absolutely uncontrollable all of it comes off as, while still telling a semi-coherent story that is one of the most epic ever told in the history of the DCUs. Control like that also comes at the hands of some very talented inkers and this issue's got Joe Prado, Eber Ferreira and Jaime Mendoza making sense of what could easily, and sometimes still does, become nonsensical. The colors on this issue match the wild, unchained tone of the overall story and are provided by another trio: Dan Brown, Jason Wright and Blond and they do a phenomenal job of making some insane leaps in both tone and content and yet there's never that "whiplash" feeling that sometimes emerges when there are that many different artists working on one issue.
There's no way around it: comprehensible though it may be, this is still a Grant Morrison-penned title and it still deals in some ludicrous, heady concepts that require the context of previous Multiverse titles AT LEAST, if not some further reading of comics' history AND at least a cursory knowledge of some very esoteric concepts. Morrison rarely writes to be totally accessible, and that's fine, but there are some practical problems that arise as well, mostly in that the action of this issue is sometimes very hard to follow as well as why one thing followed another. It actually doesn't happen TOO often, but when it does it's very, very jarring.
As bizarre and out-there as this issue is, it's strange to say it's one of Morrison's most comprehensible and accessible, though that doesn't make it EASY. It's a book that needs to be read as quickly as possible for the meaning to sink in, then backtracked on and really enjoyed, but the story itself is actually straightforward and it comes to an enormously satisfying, exciting conclusion. It's hard to say why THIS difficult-to-fully-understand title stands out from others, but there's something very, very special about it that makes it the perfect endings to a truly bizarre journey.