Convergence #5 is filled with twists and turns – but do they improve the event?

Convergence #5 by Jeff King and Andy Kubert

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Convergence #5 kicks off with a game-changing revelation for the series. Deimos, having just absorbed the powers of the imprisoned time-masters, has summoned Brainiac in front of Telos and the Earth 2 Justice Society in the dungeon of Skartaris. However instead of freeing Brainiac, Deimos begins tells Telos of his true origin, much to Brainiac’s dismay. Deimos reveals that Telos is not the living embodiment of the planet created to serve Brainiac as Telos had believed, but rather was a warrior on a planet Brainiac took over. Brainiac offered him the safety of his family and planet in exchange for his eternal servitude, having his memory erased and becoming Telos.

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Telos goes into catatonic shock upon learning the truth about his past, meanwhile the JSA begins battling Deimos after he brutally murders Skataris resident Machiste. Their attack is useless however, as Deimos simply swats them aside like flies. Down to their last resort the heroes briefly consider freeing Brainiac to help them, but Deimos closes the portal he used to bring him forth, re-banishing him. Just then, an enraged Warlord, driven to near-madness after witnessing the death of his queen Tara, bursts in riding a triceratops. Deimos is unfazed, and kills his mortal enemy by rapidly aging Warlord to dust. The castle begins to collapse due to the battle, and the members of the JSA except Yolanda barely escape. The heroes attempt to collect themselves, and vow to defeat Deimos by assembling the defenders of the various cities trapped on the planet. Unbeknownst to them, Deimos with Yolanda as his captive is watching their every move. To metaphorically cut them off at the pass, Deimos announces to all the cities that he has defeated Telos and saved their lives, and that he’ll protect them all for a price, ominously ending the issue.

Convergence #5 takes the series storyline and turns it on it’s head. After months of (admittedly badly) building Telos as a large scale threat, he’s reduced to a cheap knock-off of Marvel’s Silver Surfer while Deimos has taken over as the main antagonist for the series. However I can’t help but feel that Deimos is a place-holder villain, filling time until Brainiac is finally freed. One positive aspect of the switch is that the issue’s end implies that Deimos will be involving the heroes from other cities trapped on the planet, something the main series desperately needs.

Structurally, the issue suffers from many of the same flaws that have plagued the series from the start. From a plot standpoint, the issue holds together well enough, though as said above the Telos/Brainiac origin is a blatant rip-off of the classic Marvel introduction of the Silver Surfer and Galactus. The deaths of the Warlord characters also feel particularly gratuitous and fall flat since they’re characters haven’t really been established in the series.

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King’s writing is still too heavy on narration and clichéd dialogue for it’s own good, and it ruins several moments of the issue that could be strong. For example, there’s a scene in the issues final pages where Earth 2 Dick Grayson sketches a bat-symbol on his shirt, symbolizing that he’s taking on the mantle after Earth 2 Batman’s sacrifice several issues earlier. The symbolism alone could easily carry the scene and convey it to readers, however King’s narration literally spells out what happens in each panel and drags the scene down considerably.

The issue does feature a notable improvement in the art department, as Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope take over. While previous issues were filled with spotty artwork and fluctuating character models, Kubert and Hope bring a streamlined style that stabilizes the book. There are several stand out pages, including the full-page of Warlord bursting through the castle wall while riding a triceratops, or the double page spread of various characters listening to Deimos’ announcement in the final pages. Not so coincidentally, both those pages feature little to no dialogue or narration from King.

Convergence #5 changes the direction of the series, but does so with a twist that feels like a temporary hold until the “real” villain appears. Also, the issue still can’t overcome the cliched and overblown writing, though the art improves significantly.

Convergence #5: C+

The fifth week of Convergence tie-ins brings us the first batch of second issues, capping off the ten two-issue mini series that were set in the Pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. Each issue also features an 8-page preview of one of the “relaunched” DC books being released in June. The Week Five Slate includes:

  • Convergence: The Atom #2 by Tom Peyer and Steve Yeowell
  • Convergence: Batgirl #2 by Alisa Kwitney and Rick Leonardi
  • Convergence: Batman #2 and Robin By Ron Marz and Dennis Cowan
  • Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 by Steve Pugh and Phil Winslade
  • Convergence: Justice League #2 by Frank Tieri and Vincente Cifuentes
  • Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #2 by Gail Simone and Jan Duursema
  • Convergence: The Question #2 by Greg Ruck and Cully Hammer
  • Convergence: Speed Force #2 by Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett
  • Convergence: Superman #2 by Dan Jurgens
  • Convergence: Titans #2 by Fabian Nicieza and Ron Wagner

Convergence #5’s villain switch and general change in direction may feel a bit rushed, but it does set up some interesting possible developments in Issue #6, especially in regards to seeing which champions will side with the Earth 2 JSA and which will side with Deimos. However, it’s yet to be seen if that jolt will be enough to rescue the series. Week Six’s tie-in mini series will be feature the second issues of the 90’s focused Zero Hour era characters. As the Week 2 books focused on these characters produced some of the best material to come out of the whole Convergence event, I’m greatly looking forward to Week Six. In the meantime readers, let us know on social media what you think of Convergence so far.

 

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