This review contains minor spoilers.
I’m struggling to find new superlatives to describe Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s sensational Superman series. Every issue’s better than the last, as these talented scribes produce one of the best Man of Steel runs in history. Now, in Superman #16, their Multiverse saga, “Multiplicity,” comes to an epic and dramatic conclusion.
We pick up where the last issue ended off as Clark faces Prophecy, who reveals he’s draining the Supermen’s powers so he can save his own world. Acknowledging him as a Superman but an anomaly of his “lyst,” the big bad drains him of his powers, too. He then chucks Supes into a gravesite with the rest of the drained Supermen.
In the interim, the Justice Incarnate attempt to figure out Clark’s current location. They discover a signal coming from the Ultima Thule – but they require Red Racer’s assistance to travel between universes. As Clark encourages his brethren to keep hope that they’ll be saved, a huge sacrifice is made for the Justice Incarnate to find him and the Supermen. When they finally arrive, the Supermen of the Multiverse work together to overpower Prophecy and take back their powers. The villain escapes via a teleporter field, however, and the heroes return back to their respective Earths.
In Shanghai, Clark and Kenan Kong spend some quality time together, where the senior Superman answers the youngster’s questions. Elsewhere, a mysterious figure speaks to Prophecy, telling him he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” This unknown cloaked figure will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the future, but who is he/she?
Rebirth’s main theme has been hope, and it’s prevalent throughout this issue. When Kenan asks, “what makes you think a place like this stands a chance?” Clark replies “because it’s in places like this that hope burns brightest.” Considering the state of the world right now, the message resonates rather powerfully. Over the years, Superman has been used as a symbol of optimism for periods of turbulence and uncertainty, and this is another one of those instances. It hits you right in the feels, assuring you that everything will be okay.
Emotions aside, Gleason and Tomasi need to be congratulated for their handling of the Multiverse. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to explain Grant Morrison’s Multiverse to a non-comic book reader. It turns into a convoluted discussion where I question if I even know what I’m saying. In “Multiplicity,” though, this multiple universe phenomena won’t have you searching Wikipedia for hours on end. Kudos to the writers for simplifying an often confusing concept.
Bringing in Tony S. Daniel and Clay Mann to do the art for this finale also proves to be a good idea. Daniel and Mann’s distinct styles mesh well together, as they illustrate a cosmic clash of action and emotion. It’s highly detailed and ambitious in its execution; however, it never fails to service the story’s theme. In short, the art’s simply fantastic.
Gleason and Tomasi have done it again with Superman #16. There’s action, sacrifice, heart, and enough mystery to keep you invested in this series. If this run has taught us anything it’s that we won’t be disappointed with what comes next.
Superman #16 is an emotional and powerful end to the "Multiplicity" story arc.