Convergence #1. Jeff King- Writer, Carlo Pagulayan- Pencils, Jason Paz- Inks, Aspen MLT’s John Starr with Peter Steigerwald- Colors.
Weekly series have a unique pace all their own whether they are 52 or 8 weeks long, Convergence is no exception. In one sense this issue feels very uneventful in the grand scheme of the basic premise of city warring against city, but on the other hand, it is deep with character moments for Earth 2 Thomas Wayne and Dick Grayson and pre-Flashpoint Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth.
There are moments of issue 2 that feel very much like Crisis on Infinite Earths especially the accident of convenience that provides Alan Scott some insight into Telos’s weakness- Fear. There is also the sense that the Earth 2 characters are spinning their wheels, which the heroes in Crisis seemed to do often when fighting the Anti-Monitor and his shadow army. Peppered throughout Crisis, though were interludes of character moments that made the book the classic that it is. Jeff King and company certainly get this part right and it is the strongest and most engaging part of this issue.
This issue begins with first person narration by Dick Grayson recalling his last moments on Earth 2 with his son, Tommy and his attempt to get him to safety. He refreshes the reader on the events of his wife, Barbara Gordon’s death in the process and we get drawn in to his all too relatable circumstances. As with last issue, King uses Grayson as the entry point for the reader, and in this case it is not only effective, but truly moving. Dick is pulled out of his memories by Yolanda as Telos tries to get the captured ‘Wonders’ of Earth 2 to fill out his tournament bracket. Much to his chagrin, many of the paired cities are choosing not to fight. With some “coaxing” the cyborg entities of the aborted Future’s End timeline annihilate their pairing rather viciously. The Wonders notice a weakness in Telos and gain escape from their metal prison and take him to task. Green Lantern connects with the planet and thus Telos, discovering that he fears something beneath. GL hits Telos with his own planet stuff and Telos is gone momentarily, only to return to get beat about by Val-Zod, the Earth 2 Superman. Conveniently, Telos decides to disappear and give the Wonders a chance to go off on their own. Batman and Grayson head to a nearby Gotham City while GL and crew head out to find this thing that Telos fears.
The next segment features a truly engaging meeting between Thomas and Dick and Bruce and Alfred. King plays it slightly coy by having the meat of the encounter narrated by Grayson as a first person narrator, so that he doesn’t actually know what passes between multiversal father and son and provides some brief foreshadowing of events to come, indicating that Grayson is narrating this part of the story after it has run its course. Meanwhile, the other group encounters a ruined city littered with massacred bodies of innocents only to stumble onto a lone man trying to escape Telos’s drones- Deimos, from the lost world of the Warlord.
If the best stories are character driven, then this is certainly a great issue. The building relationship between Thomas and Dick is intriguing as well as indicative of what’s certainly going to come next in Earth 2: Society. Using Grayson as the entry point into the story is genius, and obvious all at the same time. Additionally, the meeting between Bruce and Thomas is executed in a manner that leaves one wanting more. Will it ever be revealed in detail? It’s clever how King has chosen to show the meeting and it only serves to make the reader want more. Interestingly, it is neither the Silver Age, “we’re all great friends in the Multiverse” nor is it the confrontational one-on-one between Batman and Kal-L, the original Earth-Two Superman in Infinite Crisis.
The limitations of story pace are present here as with all weekly series, and the aforementioned conveniences stand out. However, a part of me wants to believe that King is recalling these elements on purpose. But it just may be my age and love of DC History talking.
Character trumps story and Convergence #2 is well worth the read. Even if one missed #0 and #1, this book is easy enough to understand, and especially engaging through the focus on character. Nicely done, Mr. King. This issue was a bit of a step up from issue #1, give it 4 and 1/2.