Convergence #1. Jeff King & Scott Lobdell- Writers, Carlos Pagulayan- Pencils, Jason Paz- Inks, Aspen MLT’s John Starr with Peter Steigerwald- Colors.
Heroes lost in time and space- that’s where we begin in Convergence #1, and it is the commonality of all the characters who’ve been “collected” on Telos by the master- Brainiac. As we learned in last week’s Convergence #0, the master is a sort of Brainiac Prime with different iterations that have done his bidding throughout the timelines and alternate Earths of the DC Universe. With this issue, the Brainiac that has been formed out of this planet, Telos, sets in motion the classic comic book shop argument- “If the Superman from Earth-Two fought the Captain Marvel from Kingdom Come, who would win?” While we may not see that exact match-up, Telos, both planet and sentient being, is giving us the opportunity to experience such bouts while taking us on a nostalgic trip through DC history, and the prize? Re-admittance to the Multiverse, or so he would have us believe.
The issue opens with the Injustice- Gods Among Us timeline. Superman amok continues as the theme as Batman, Flash, Cyborg and Harley Quinn are unable to convince him that he’s destroying everything to the point he has no one over which to rule. He is then apparently snuffed out by the master. The scene switches to a barren dessert landscape much like the one Earth-0 Superman encountered in the previous issue. Arriving here though are the characters from Earth 2– Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Jay Garrick (The Flash), Val-Zod (Superman), Thomas Wayne (The Batman) and Dick Grayson (Journalist), all recently escaping doom in the final pages of New 52 Earth 2 World’s End. There are a few heated words between Grayson and Wayne as they try to figure out what’s happened. They are interrupted by the appearance of the Earth 2 Avatar of the Red- Yolanda Montez, who unapologetically plants a massive kiss on Grayson, much to his protestations. This incites another argument, but it doesn’t last for long as Telos makes his appearance and he is nearly as surprised as they are.
Apparently, all the cities that have been collected by the Brainiacs and stored on the planet Telos were “saved” at the moment of finality- just as their timelines were ending. However, due to the nature of the events with Earth 2, the people survived while the world did not, and this has created a problem- they are people without a city. It is at this point we learn that the city from Earth 2 was the last that would ever be collected and thus the Convergence begins. It’s a tournament that will result in the winner returning to the DC Universe or I would gather- DC Multiverse.
For a reader like me, the nostalgia factor is off the charts. For a modern reader, I would imagine the event nature of the book makes it a must read. However, within the nostalgia and the spectacle of the event there will be character moments touch us. In this issue, one can’t help but feel for Dick Grayson- the ultimate in relatable characters going back to the impetus for his introduction to the Batman mythos way back in Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #38. In this way, the Earth 2 Dick Grayson functions as the everyman for us despite his rather limited role in the issue. He’s just as out of place as we are as readers in this barren wasteland of an Earth. While this issue is not nearly as meta-textual as the average Grant Morrison book, it flirts with the notion. It is clearly informed by previous Crisis events and quite honest about it. Yolanda Montez had a memorable energy and attitude. The interaction between her and Grayson were simple, but seemed to imply something more that I would enjoy watching develop. This event was promoted as a love letter to the fans and it clearly is that, and in an honest way, that begs us to like it simply for what it is. Lastly, it was enjoyable to see the weekly series that ended feed directly into the continuity of this book.
The in-fighting of the Earth 2 characters feels a bit contrived as does the set up of the concept of Convergence. It runs slightly longer than it should and this issue feels like another set up issue for the concept as did the zero issue. There’s a bit more to the hype than the execution so far.
I think the real sell for this series is directly proportional to how invested one is in the DC Universe in total. It finally feels like DC is making something directed at readers like me. With that said it feels like “Two Thumbs Up!” This could preclude newer DC readers who have only come aboard in the past few years. However, I would remind readers of The Flash (Vol.1) #123 and Justice League of America (Vol. 1) # 21 that looked back at DC’s past and engaged new readers with older characters. With the re-introduction of so many iterations of DC characters, this could happen again with Convergence.