Review of Action Comics #14

“When the odds are impossible…do the impossible.”

***Contains Spoilers***

We started hearing about the Multitude in issue #2, but they were not mentioned by name until Braniac 1.0 mentioned them in issue #8. Brainiac said they were an unstoppable force that had destroyed hundreds of worlds. The bottle cities were a means of preserving those worlds. Well, the day has come, the Multitude have arrived.

The issue starts off with a Mars research team fleeing one dome to another. They also catch sight of an extra person? It seems that their mechanical equipment has developed a mind of it’s own, similar to the events of issue #3. Metalek has possessed the machines. Superman arrives and promises to save everyone. At first this seems like a simple enough task. The machines are no match for Superman. He finds no evidence of the mystery person, but he does hear something. During the fight one of the scientists detecting what sounded like singing. Superman remembers that the Metaleks were fleeing from the Multitude and concludes they must be on their way. Superman says his father repelled the Multitude and so would he.

Angels. The Multitude swarm from the sky, they appear to be glowing angels, hell they even have flaming swords. Superman tries to fight them off, even the surviving Metaleks try to fight, but the Multitude are too many. Superman falls back to the compound where the scientists are freaking out. The Multitude are eating everything in sight. They are like space locusts, devouring the metal machines.

Now, usually I like Grant Morrison’s writing, but this next part is where he sort of loses me. Superman somehow knows that the Multitude are from the 5th dimension. Okay, maybe he could know that. I am guessing that in the new 52 he has had experience with the 5th dimension(they just haven’t showed it yet). He then suggests that they modify the terraforming array to generate a scalar field into the 5th dimension(realign the deflector dish to emit a tachyon pulse). Now I have a basic understanding of physics and I can not adequately explain what a scalar field is. They are associated with super string theories and the proposed Higgs Field. The scientist(Chandra) Superman talks to about it says he would have to unify Gravity and Electro magnetism. FYI, if you can figure out how to do that Stephen Hawking will get out of his wheelchair and give you a hearty high five. No one has been able to do this or even adequately explain how it could theoretically work. Chandra says as much(minus the Stephen Hawking part of course). Another scientist points out that the power connection has been severed(yeah, because that is the BIG hurdle here) and they can’t turn on the array. Superman grabs the two ends of the power cable and they run the 10 gigawatts through him(that’s enough to send Marty McFLy back in time 8 times with power to spare). and the Multitude disappears.

So, this guy just happen to think up and implement the Unified Field Theory that has eluded every physicist since Einstein first thought that it couldn’t be done. I know that sometimes when you are in a crisis you think fast, but damn. ANYWAY, they venture out of the dome to inspect the aftermath and discover the 11th scientist. Superman immediately recognizes him as Vyndktvx(Vindictive? seriously who names these villains?) an Imp from the 5th dimension. As revenge for Superman ruining his plan he melts the faces off of the scientists. Seriously, Raiders of the Lost Ark style, he kills them all. He then pops into his “true” form of a three faced demon. More on that fight next month.

In a contrast to the questionable physics of the main story we get a guest appearance by astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson. He is perhaps best known as the man who said Pluto wasn’t a planet(he was also in an episode of Stargate Atlantis with Bill Nye as themselves, awesome episode). Sorry I got sidetracked. Superman is fighting some alien invasion with the Justice League, no big deal, when Batman reminds him that he has somewhere to be. He meets up with Neil at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. Apparently Superman visits the planetarium often to add the advantage of his superior eyesight. Well, as a thank you they have directed telescopes from all over the world on one location, just for Superman. They are looking at Star LHS 2520, or Rao, the sun of Krypton. You see, Superman arrived on Earth via a wormhole, so even though Krypton was destroyed decades ago we can still see the light from it’s sun. Sadly, Krypton is 27 light years from Earth and it was destroyed 27 years ago. Superman gets to see his home world, but in the middle of it’s destruction.

I liked the back story. It was a nice touch and it is always fun to see real life people in comics. It’s a nice way of bridging fantasy and reality. Speaking of fantasy, I know I obsess over small details, but it’s only because I find them important. It would have been better for me if they had made something completely new up or used something that actually existed. They way it happened just seemed dumb to me and I expected better from Morrison.

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