After a week’s break, we’re back with a double dose of Convergence coverage for you, covering week’s three and four of DC Comics 2015 mega-event.

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Convergence Week Three

Convergence #3 by Jeff King and Stephen Segovia

The third issue of the main Convergence series begins with the (New 52) Earth 2 JSA coming to the aid of Deimos in a ruined city. Before they can find out if he knows where the entrance to the planet’s core (where there’s a way to destroy Telos, as Alan Scott learned last issue) they’re attacked by a group of Telos’ scout robots. The battle goes poorly for the heroes, with the robots even managing to capture Superman. Just as things look their bleakest, Earth 2 Batman (Thomas Wayne) and Dick Grayson (who had sought the aid of Pre-Flashpoint Gotham’s Batman last issue) arrive in a flying Batmobile and annihilate the robots. In the meantime, Telos travels to the captured Kryptonian city of Pre-Crisis Kandor to find out why they’re refusing to fight in his battles. He’s confronted by Nightwing and Flambird, the heroes of the city, who tell him they won’t fight to do his bidding. Telos responds by killing them and destroying the Kandor, all the while that they as a city of Kryptonians would have had an advantage in his competition. Gallery_CONV_Cv3_552fe09e0a4588.06108518 The reunion between Batman and the JSA is short-lived, as he tells the tells the team to go on ahead with Deimos and find the entrance to the planet’s core, while he and Grayson stay behind to deal with something. The party travels underground, and discovers a medieval underground city which is identified as Skartaris from DC’s Warlord comic, the same franchise Deimos is a part of. On the surface, it turns out what Batman and Grayson are dealing with is a group of Bat-Villains from pre-Flashpoint Gotham who’ve followed them. The group, including The Riddler, Man-Bat, Doctor Hurt, Flamingo, and Victor Zsasz is able to corner Thomas, but before they can kill him and Grayson, he blows himself up. Wayne’s sacrifice is quickly nullified when the Joker appears and shoots Dick, seemingly paralyzing him just as he did his universe’s Barbara Gordon. Before the Joker is able to finish the job his neck is snapped by Telos. Grayson questions why he would spare his life, which Telos responds to by asking where Grayson’s friends are, ending the issue. Convergence #3 is the worst of the first four (counting the zero issue) issues of the main Convergence mini-series. The series continues to move at a languid pace, with this issue featuring almost zero progression of the plot. The Justice Society’s battle with Telos’ minions comes off as filler, with no story purpose other than to see another fight where they’re almost defeated only to escape by the skin of their teeth. Telos’ destruction of Kandor attempts to reinforce his status as an all-powerful villain, but it’s the same “display of power” trick we’ve seen in the last two issues, making it feel incredibly repetitive. We still haven’t be given any concrete motivation for why Telos does what he does, or really any insight into the character at all, making him a boring and bland antagonist, despite his power. The battle between Earth 2 Batman, Grayson, and the Pre-Flashpoint villains could have been a major highlight of the issue, however it’s failed  by King’s writing. The overdramatic and expository narration from Dick Grayson is back, overwhelming the moment of Batman’s sacrifice. Of course, the sudden appearance of The Joker followed by Telos completely nullifies said sacrifice anyway. While I wasn’t a fan of Carlo Pagulayan’s work in the previous issues of the series, they look spectacular compared to the artistic train-wreck that is this issue. Stephan Segovia’s pencils look sloppy and rushed throughout, with no sense of model continuity for the characters or locations. Because of this, the art is unable to elevate any of the books could-be good scenes, such as the destruction of Kandor or the death of Earth 2 Batman, above their hackneyed writing and repetitiveness. The fourth issue of Convergence is a weak chapter in Convergence, a series that quickly seems to be crystalizing as a weak comic book event.

Convergence #3: D

Week three’s Convergence mini-series are centered around a version of Gotham City taken from just before 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earth event and include:

  • Convergence: The Adventures of Superman #1 by Marv Wolfman and Roberto Viacava
  • Convergence: Batman and The Outsiders #1 by Mark Andreyko and Carlos D’anda
  • Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1 by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis Check out our review here and check out our exclusive interview with the creators here.
  • Convergence: Hawkman #1 by Jeff Parker and Tim Truman
  • Convergence: New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott (Check out our review here.)
  • Convergence: Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Stuart Moore and Gus Storms
  • Convergence: Swamp Thing #1 by Len Wein and Kelley Jones
  • Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 by Larry Hamma and Josh Middleton

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Convergence Week Four

Convergence #4 by Jeff King and Stephen Segovia

Convergence #4 begins right where the previous issue left off, with Telos confronted Earth 2’s Dick Grayson, who was just crippled by a gunshot from The Joker. Telos uses his powers to  create a liquid metal shell around Grayson’s spine allowing to walk again, all the while explaing to him that he did not bring anyone to the planet to hurt them, but rather to be a god to the winning city. The scene shifts to the Earth 2 JSA along with Deimos storming the castle of Skartaris. While they initially trusted him in their quest, the heroes begin to become suspicious of Deimos as he talks of slaughtering the castle’s inhabitants. Meanwhile we learn that Warlord, the king, is not in the castle, though he rushes back once he learns it’s under attack. Deimos eventually makes his way inside, relieving his true nature to Yolanda who the JSA has assigned to tail him. His actual goal is to steal the powers of prisoners known as the Time Masters held in the castle’s dungeon. The JSA arrive, but they’re too late to stop him. Absorbing the Time Masters’ powers, Deimos is apparently able to see through the entire history of the multiverse. For example, he makes a comment to the New 52 Earth 2 version of Jay Garrick that Garrick was the first to breach the multiverse “many lifetimes ago”, which is a reference to the classic Flash of Two Worlds story from the 60’s. While the siege and castle battle are occurring, Telos is traveling across the planet with Dick Grayson in tow. Dick attempts to convince him to put an end to his competition because all life from all universes is valuable. Telos replies that he must obey Brainiac’s programming, and that the winning society will be allowed to control the planet. Before the two can continue, Telos senses something happening at the planets core and transports them to the dungeon just in time to see Deimos gain the Time Masters’ powers and use them to summon Brainiac, who promises to give Deimos anything he wants if he’ll free Brainiac from his prison. Convergence #4 is a vast improvement over the previous issue, though that’s not much to harp about since Convergence #3 was such a nadir for the series. Said improvement can mostly be traced to the story’s plotting, which is much tighter than the previous three issues, especially in regards to Telos. While Telos’ early narration and  seeming shift in personality from cold-blooded evil tyrant to still evil  somewhat misguided servant of Brainiac feels a bit out of left field, it’s at least some kind of character development, which he’s been severely lacking so far. My interest was especially piqued by his statement that the “winning” city will gain control of the planet, making me wonder if that’s how DC may keep some popular Pre-New 52 characters and concepts around. The JSA’s battle in Skartaris and Deimos’ betrayal isn’t nearly as interesting as the Telos/Grayson plot, but it is better than watching the Earth 2 heroes aimlessly walking around the dessert. The use of Deimos as a major villain and the heavy presence of Warlord also intrigues me, as it’s certainly way down the list of known DC-franchises. While the issue was certainly better than what came before, it still was had numerous problems. While the plotting was improved, Jeff King’s dialogue did not. All the character seem to speak with the same stilted voice, with no feeling behind their words other than moving the plot along. The art continues to be a black mark on the book, though I can’t blame that all on artist Stephen Segovia. While all the problems from last issue are still here, they’re compounded by the fact that this issues uses no less than nine inkers leading to a total lack of internal consistency. Character and background designs seem to change on panel to panel basis, and detract from the slightly improved plot.

Convergence #4 is better than the last issue, and it’s plot turns actually have me slightly intrigued about what’s coming next in the series, but it’s bad dialogue and sometimes incomprehensible art still make it a weak comic.

Convergence #4: C

The tie in issues for Week Four of the Convergence event are centered around the Metropolis of Pre-Crisis Earth 2, and include:

  • Convergence: Action Comics #1 by Justin Gray and Claude St-Aubin
  • Convergence: Blue Beetle #1 by Scott Lobdell and Yishan Lee
  • Convergence: Booster Gold #1 by Dan Jurgens and Alvaro Martinez
  • Convergence: Crime Syndicate #1 by Brian Buccellato and Phil Winslade
  • Convergence: Detective Comics #1 by Len Wein and Denys Cowan
  • Convergence: Infinity Inc. #1 by Jerry Ordway and Ben Caldwell
  • Convergence: Justice Society of America #1 by Dan Abnett and Tom Derenick
  • Convergence: Plastic Man and The Freedom Fighters #1 by Simon Oliver and John Mccrea
  • Convergence: Shazam #1 by Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner
  • Convergence: World’s Finest #1 by Paul Levitz and Jim Fern

With the first month of DC Comics Convergence event in the books, the most that can be said about is that it’s underwhelming at best. The main series has mostly been a disappointment. The lack of plot momentum, stilted dialogue, and mostly substandard art have made what should be the event’s crown jewel into a mess of a series with an antagonist whose motives haven’t even really been explored four (five counting #0) issues in. The tie-in min series have fared better, with the best of them being as good as anything DC has published in years. However, even those good ones have fallen victim to the repetitiveness of the “hero is depowered under dome-hero is depressed-dome falls-hero gets powers back-hero goes off to fight their Telos-chosen opponent” plot structure. In fact, the Convergence elements have been the weakest part of every tie-in I’ve read, taking away from the nostalgia that’s made most of them fun to read in the first place. I hope for DC’s sake they’re able to turn this ship around in a hurry, or their big 2015 event is going to go down as a major bust.

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