The idea of what could have been always intrigues. It’s literally the basis of fictional storytelling. Those magic words: what if?
What if a stranger visitor from another world came to Earth and our yellow sun granted him amazing abilities far beyond that of normal man? What if a young boy with unlimited funds and resources saw his parents gunned down in front of him and began a never-ending quest for justice? What if a dying alien gifted a young pilot with the most powerful weapon in the galaxy?
These questions gave birth to some of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes—but the questions didn’t stop there. Throughout the years, creators explored other alternatives, other worlds, where Superman landed in Soviet Russian instead of America, where the Justice Society served as a secret government agency instead of public heroes, where Wonder Woman ventured to man’s land during the Victorian Era, and more.
There’s a literal multiverse of possibilities out there, and we love exploring them all.
Earlier this week, DC Comics and WB announced the upcoming Infinite Crisis multiplayer online battle arena game, which features characters from all across the DC Universe—and beyond—venturing into various other Earths including the world of Batman: Vampire and Gotham by Gaslight. The possibilities alone sends our minds reeling from an overdose of awesome, and to help placate ourselves until the game’s release we’re going to take a look at other multiverse tales with 5.2 Reasons We Love the Multiverse!
1. Superman: Red Son
Arguably one of the greatest Elseworlds tales ever written, with a surprise ending that will simply blow your mind, Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son features a Superman raised in Soviet Russia and explores the intrinsic heroism at the heart of the character. More importantly, it also features a Batman in a fuzzy hat complete with Bat-ears. It’s awesome.
2. JSA: The Liberty Files
Starring the Bat, the Clock and the Owl, JSA: The Liberty Files re-imagined the Justice Society members as secret operatives hunting to uncover the mystery behind a German secret weapon codenamed “the Superman.” Perfect for any fan of action, espionage and super heroes, it exemplifies Elseworlds storytelling at its finest.
3. Batman: In Darkest Knight
Batman becomes a Green Lantern. Seriously, what more do you need to know?
4. JLA: The Nail
Written and drawn by Alan Davis and based around the proverbial rhyme “For Want of a Nail,” JLA: The Nail shows the massive and world-changing consequences one simple act can cause. When a nail leads to Jonathan and Martha Kent never discovering the baby Kal-El, it causes a chain reaction that completely alters the course of the DC Universe, creating a world where metahumans are feared and hated.
5. Superman: Secret Identity
An Elseworld of an Elseworld (sort of), Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen follows Clark Kent—a boy named after the world’s most famous comic book super hero. That’s right, Clark’s from “Earth Prime,” the original home of the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS hero Superboy-Prime. Growing up, Clark resented his name and the jokes that came with it. That is until the day he actually developed super powers.
5.1 Kingdom Come
Don't play this game. You know this.
5.2 The Earth One Line
With More Still to Come!
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the multiverse. There’s still a ton of tales out there we didn’t mention, including the current Earth 2 ongoing and the upcoming Multiversity limited series by Grant Morrison. What are some of your favorite other Earth tales? Let us know in the comments!