As was the case with Trials of The Super Son, Multiplicity—the third volume of Superman set in the DC Comics’ Rebirth reality—is an anthology of Superman stories rather than a single saga. Once again written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, this volume is composed of a similar high level of quality to their previous works on the Superman series.
“Tangled Up In Green“, the first story, sees Superman teamed with the plant elemental Swamp Thing as the two investigate something strange that is killing the plant life around the farms in Superman’s home of Hamilton County. Swamp Thing concludes that the source of the corruption is Superman himself, whose status as a being from another reality is somehow leeching the solar energy from the plant life around him. Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez, the story proves perfectly suited to his style which favors animated character designs and heavy inks.
The second story, “Multiplicity”, sees Superman drawn into a multidimensional conflict. After encountering a version of himself who speaks Russian and wears a Hammer and Sickle rather than the symbol of the House of El (sharp-eyed readers may recognize this as the Superman of the story Superman: Red Son), the two heroes are attacked by alien beings who make reference to “The Lyst”. The Supermen are quickly joined by Justice League Incarnate—a team of heroes drawn from multiple universes to battle those evils that could destroy all of reality. They quickly learn that something is abducting the Supermen of every universe, stealing their powers for some unknown purpose. Rather than react to the kidnappings as they occur, The Superman of New Earth suggests taking the fight to the kidnappers with an alliance of every Superman from every universe who has not been taken!
Multiplicity is suitably epic in scope for a tale spanning reality and teaming multiple Supermen, and a riveting read for those who enjoy stories set on a cosmic scale. Unfortunately, the artwork makes it a little hard to follow, as six different artists contributed to the three-part saga—four artists with completely dissimilar styles working on the middle chapter alone! None of the artwork is bad, yet the visual continuity suffers as a result, which is something of a problem in a story where most of the characters already look the same!
The third and final story, “Dark Harvest”, is a surprising horror tale in which Jonathan Kent and his friend Kathy have a frightful time trying to rescue one of Kathy’s family’s cows from Deadman’s Swamp in the middle of the night. Sebastian Fiumara illustrates this chapter beautifully, with art that evokes the spirit of the classic EC horror comics.
This volume is appropriately rated 12+ for teen audiences. There’s nothing here that most parents, teachers or librarians would find objectionable for an average teenager. There is no foul language, sexual content or nudity. Apart from some superheroic combat—punching, heat-vision blasts and the like—there’s no violent content at all.
Superman: Multiplicity, vol. 3
by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Art by Ivan Reis, Jorge Gleason, and Sebastian Fiumara
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+