Happy New Year and welcome back to Strange Times & Places! Who watches the Watchmen? Well, I will be soon (now that the first season has ended) and so I’ve been on a Watchmen/Charlton tear of late. Ergo, we’re looking at The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1.
How’s It Different?
Uh…Royale With Cheese? It takes place on an Earth 4 that’s like the Pre-Crisis counterpart (I.E, stars the Charlton Comics superheroes) and the world of Watchmen (initially pitched to DC as starring said Charlton heroes) had a baby. This leads to a world that matches some of Alan Moore’s original Watchmen notes (being as it uses the same characters in similar ways) while telling its own trope-deconstructing story
What’s The Story?
Peacemaker, America’s first costumed agent and the personal bodyguard of the President, has murdered the President of the United States. Likewise, Captain Atom – a genuine superhuman agent – has gone missing. What this means for America’s heroic community remains to be seen…
Best of Differences
- While this story’s Captain Atom is ostensibly Allen Adam, the Silver Age Charlton hero, his power set more closely matches that of Doctor Manhattan. That said, the differences in worldview between an Air Force Technician and a Theoretical Physicist mean he’s still his own character.
- In keeping with the Watchmen influence, Nightshade is implied to be a non-powered costumed agent. However, it is stated that her mother (who is “unwell”) claimed to be from the Shadow Dimension meaning the door’s not entirely shut on her classic origin.
- Steve Ditko is rightly considered a legend in the comics industry. His solo stuff could be, at times, rather wordy and preachy. Seeing Grant Morrison tip his hat to that with a philosophical rant by The Question to a drug dealer that the narrative zones out on (by putting his wall of text speech bubble behind his head) was amusing.
- Golden Age Charlton hero Yellowjacket, not typically included with DC’s Charlton characters, is pulled from the Public Domain as a 70s costumed crusader whose disappearance unintentionally laid the groundwork for the modern age of heroes.
- Speaking of obscure Charlton characters, Silver Age Captain Atom villain Iron-Arms makes a cameo working for the conspiracy against superheroes (murdering Peacemaker’s girlfriend when she comes close to exposing them). He last appeared in 1983’s Americomics Special #1 and not once in the DC era – a solid pull for Earth 4.