Comic Review – Convergence #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week saw the start of DC’s ‘Convergence’ event, a collection of several tie-ins or mini-series taking place around a main 8-issue story. The event has been touted all over the internet as effectively a stop-gap series taking place while DC Comics moved their head offices from New York to Burbank in California, with regular comics pausing mid-story until June.  Some of the main titles will continue, some will not, and a few new books will start up too. Convergence #1 was written by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell, with pencils by Carlos Pagulayan, inks from Jason Paz, colours by Aspen MLT’s John Starr and Peter Steigerwald, with lettering from Travis Lanham.

Convergence opens in an alternate Gotham City, looking like the Injustice: Gods Among Us Gotham, as the surviving heroes face down a newly released Superman, the despotic madman who took control of the whole planet. As they try to get him to see reason, the city tears itself apart, erupting into a volcano that claims Batman, Harley Quinn, Flash and Cyborg, while Superman tries to fly away – until the earth forms a giant hand that crushes him. As the city falls, a voice pronounces it a failed experiment.

Above a desert wasteland, Earth 2 versions of Batman (Dr. Thomas Wayne), Dick Grayson (a journalist), The Flash  (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott, magic GL), Yolanda Montez (the Red Avatar of Earth) and Superman (Val-Zod) all appear ripped from their final stand against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips. Their Earth was moments from destruction, and yet they now find themselves on a strange planet. Metal constructs turn up and try to contain the heroes in a dome, before Telos, a new antagonist appears and asks why they have not appeared with a city. After incapacitating everyone, he tells them that he is working for his master, Brainiac, and has been collecting cities from various realities on the exact moment that they were on the brink of destruction, containing them in domes on this planet. Telos is the planet, they are one in the same. But Telos has now decided that the inhabitants of all the cities must now fight, competing until only one is left standing.  In his transmission to all the cities, he references Flashpoint, Infinite Crisis, Zero Hour and Kingdom Come, amongst whatever other Elseworlds realities and continuities that have cities on Telos. The Convergence will result in one world being returned to the universe.

Full disclosure: I did not read the whole of the Earth 2: World’s End weekly series that finished last week, or the monthly Earth 2 series, and it looks like at least the end of the weekly series may have led straight into this. It doesn’t seem completely necessary for the story, and I doubt that it would make the Convergence event any clearer. The #0 issue that came out last week may help to understand who Telos is, but not really why he is doing this. In that issue, Superman (from the current DCU) found his way to Telos after his fight with Brainiac during the Doomed storyline. That issue seemed to indicate that the events of Convergence would have a wider effect on the DC universe, but issue #1 doesn’t seem to indicate what that would be. King and Lobdell write well here in this first issue, with the character dialogue being solid and while Telos drones on and on, it seems like it would be fitting for a living planet who has gone a little bit off the rails. The art from Pagulayan and Paz is very decent superhero fare, with some nice looking action that is brightened by the colour work of Starr and Steigerwald (especially compared to the darker pallets of the normal ‘New 52’ DC Universe). The web of reaction shots of the different worlds behind Telos as a screen looks pretty crazy and interesting too.

Convergence #1 works fine as a set up issue, but I’m not sure how relevant or interesting the actual event looks at this point. Decent art and writing make this a worthwhile read, but if you’re not particularly invested in the DCU you may not care that much, and even if you are and want to see how it will shake up the status quo at this point I can’t really see how it will. The huge number of tie-in series is daunting, and potentially ruinous to the wallet, but may provide access to areas of DC history that many may be missing and want to catch up with. My experience with tie ins of this nature is that they are often a bit hit or miss, or aren’t at all necessary to the story (which is probably a good thing), so if you are thinking of picking any up just go for your favourite creators and characters over trying to complete the story (I’ll be grabbing Nightwing/Oracle by Gail Simone personally). If you want to check out Convergence, pick it up from your LCS or digitally.

Score: 6.5 Domed Cities out of 10

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