We at the DC3 have been through a lot together – we’ve seen villains take over our beloved books, we read a month’s worth of “Five Years Later” stories, and we’ve tackled a year of weekly titles, and we’ve come through it all stronger. But here we are, at our most challenging time as a unit: “Convergence.” Calling ourselves the DC3 just wouldn’t cut it anymore. We needed a new name, one that transforms us from boys into men, from civilians into soldiers, from sidekicks into superheroes. For the next two months, the DC3 are no more: long live the Convergents!
Written by Jeff King
Illustrated by Andy Kubert
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
The weekly “Convergence” series started out slow and its focus on the Earth 2 characters made it seem less like the backbone to huge crossover and more of an unwanted continuation of “Earth 2: World’s End.” However, the book has grown into an extremely bizarre smattering of DC history that, in the opinion of this reviewer, is poised to outshine the two weekly books that preceded it.
This issue delves into the secret history of Telos, which in truth is very derivative of one Norrin Radd, while also throwing a major wrench into the Brainac/Telos/Deimos power struggle. While this ultimately amounts to a lot of conversation and exposition amongst the characters, there’s a noticeable increase in quality in King’s scripting compared to earlier issues. The dialogue flows much more naturally, making for a more enjoyable read overall.
“Convergence” gains a very high profile artist this week in the form of Andy Kubert, the artist who illustrated DC’s most recent multiversal reset. While Kubert’s name does lend the sort of “top shelf” talent one expects from these sorts of events, his work doesn’t necessarily outshine that of Stephen Segovia or Carlo Pagulayan, artists who have delivered some truly impressive work on “Convergence.” Comparatively, Kubert’s work here feels much looser than usual, lacking somewhat in detail. Of course, it’s by no means an unattractive comic, especially considering the fine contributions by inker Sandra Hope and colorist Brad Anderson.
Wrapping things up with a major game-changer from Deimos, “Convergence” #5 shifts the event on it head, ascending above the knock-off “Countdown Arena” premise into something that is much more “Crisis”-esque. There’s literally no telling what might happen in the next three issues, which is a pleasant surprise in its own right.
Final Verdict: 7.7 – “Convergence,” while flawed, continues to subvert expectation and tell a genuinely interesting tale of DC history colliding.
Convergence: The Atom #2
Written by Tom Peyer
Illustrated by Steve Yeowell & Andy Owens
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
Last month, I praised the structure of “Convergence: The Atom” for navigating the necessary plot devices in a streamlined, yet complete fashion. That continues to be the case here in issue #2, but ever the professional, Tom Peyer also comes full circle and allays any remaining fears I had about where the plot was going, and what it might leave behind. When we last left our hero, Ray Palmer, he was reunited with his protege Atom, Ryan Choi. If “Convergence” partially exists to tie up loose ends (and Ryan Choi’s fate certainly felt like one), Tom Peyer definitely takes care of that here. After making quick work of Barracuda (from the Extremists), “The Atom” gets to taking care of those dangling threads. You might recall that last month I was worried that the true meat of “The Atom”, the conflict with Deathstroke, would not be returned to. That was by far the most fascinating aspect of the first issue, yet it would have been easy to peel away from it and go wherever “Convergence” was taking Ray Palmer. Instead, Peyer makes sure to return to Slade Wilson in a thoroughly satisfying way, and even ends the issue on a joke that sort of pokes fun at the whole idea behind “Convergence” in the first place. It’s terribly satisfying. Steve Yeowell’s art is as bounding and expressive as it was last month, and it occurs to me that he’s one of a smaller group of “Convergence” artists that are making the battles as fun to read as the historical aspects or the character work.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.0 – A thoroughly satisfying conclusion, told with good humor and expressive art.
Convergence: Batgirl #2
Written by Alisa Kwitney
Illustrated by Rick Leonardi & Mark Pennington
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
“Convergence: Batgirl” continues Alisa Kwitney’s strong grasp on the characters, and Rick Leonardi’s inconsistent renderings. In some ways, most notably in the emotional arcs of Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake, this is a stronger issue than its predecessor. But on the other hand, the stand-off against Grodd gets in the way of the more fascinating aspects of the plot. In fact, this is perhaps the “Convergence” title that would have benefitted most from being separated from the event and allowed to exist on its own. Not only because the battle felt so anticlimactic, but because the relationship between Steph and Tim deserved a lot more than some scant pages in a two issue tie-in book. There’s potential depth there that Kwitney had to rush through (though she does so in impeccable fashion) to get to the conclusion. It really really works conceptually (the final pages of the issue are nothing short of magical), but it ends up feeling confined by the event.
While I ragged on Leonardi a bit for being inconsistent on this two-parter, he really does bring some magic of his own to the issue’s final moments. There’s a warmth and a romanticism to the story, and Leonardi brings it out through poignant framing and careful intimacy. Steve Buccellato’s colors play a major role in setting this touching scene too. It’s actually worth the price of the comic, and getting through the more generic dust-up battle scenes.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – Ends on a button that will leave pre-Flashpoint Batgirl fans wanting even more.
Convergence: Batman & Robin #2
Written by Ron Marz
Illustrated by Denys Cowan & Klaus Janson
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
In my “Harley Quinn” review, you’ll see that I remarked at how well Captain Carrot and Harley Quinn blend as characters faced off against one another, regardless of the “Convergence”-based contrivances for doing so. While the Extremists certainly look and feel like they could be street-level Batman villains, the pairing feels more like an arbitrary function of the plot, and an afterthought. On the flip side, the interactions between the principle heroes are more successful in this particular issue. Bruce, Jason Todd, and Damian make relatively quick work of the Extremists, leaving plenty of time for Ron Marz to tie up some of the emotional threads that he introduced last month – these all being extensions of themes explored in the pre-Flashpoint “Batman and Robin” title. In an event like this, Marz wouldn’t have had to have taken the time to explore Batman’s fatherhood role as much as he does, but it’s certainly welcome – and makes for a stronger issue. It’s issues like this that, while not existing as great works of art, elevate “Convergence” to something that’s at least above the level of something like DC’s “Countdown: Arena” event. It’s not exactly subtle, and a group hug is probably something you wouldn’t see Batman do much of in the Morrison era, but it’s a welcome bit of warmth to a character that has become increasingly mired in darkness.
Denys Cowan’s art does an adequate job with the major fight sequence, particularly in depicting the crumbling environment that the principal characters are facing off in. But where he actually shines is in the emotional beats, where he imbues Batman with a warmer physicality that we don’t often see. A scene with a rooftop visit from Superman serves the same purpose, and is a reflective moment that you don’t always get in an event and with these characters.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – “Batman and Robin” is a rough approximation of what pre-Flashpoint “Batman” felt like, but it’s a worthy effort from a couple of smart creators.
Convergence: Harley Quinn #2
Written by Steve Pugh
Illustrated by Phil Winslade & John Dell
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
Last month, “Harley Quinn” got off to one of the best starts of all the “Convergence” tie-ins by performing as a period accurate extension of “Gotham City Sirens” and boasting dynamic art from the continually underrated Phil Winslade. The second half of the two-parter is even better, moving away from its “Gotham City Sirens”-style opening and into the “Convergence” battle in earnest. What follows is possibly the most well-staged battle of the week, thanks to Winslade’s detailed carnival environment and his ability to convey action in a clear and impactful manner. Here, it doesn’t matter that “Convergence” is just an excuse to get mismatched characters to fight (something that cannot be said for all of the tie-ins), because the fight takes on physics and humor that would be a fit in either a “Harley Quinn” or a “Captain Carrot” comic book.Continued below
Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew are as cartoony as DC Comics gets right now, but so is Harley, and they pair well together here. Writer Steve Pugh smartly writes a plot that allows the sprawling fight to take up the vast majority of the page count, incorporating elements of their animal natures into the fight. The biggest nod to how cartoony the creators are willing to play it comes when Carrot discovers “Rabbit Season” painted by Harley in big bold letters that also serve as the subtitle of the issue itself – Harley is playing the role of Elmer Fudd to Captain Carrot’s Bugs Bunny, depicted with perfect tone by the incomparable Phil Winslade.
The only weakness in the story is in the quick shoe-horning in of a Gotham cop who has taken up with Harley after getting to know the un-costumed Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This piece of the story doesn’t match the tone of everything else that’s going on, which I suppose is the point, but rather than coming off as tragicomic, it puts a damper on what was an erstwhile romp of a story. What it does serve to do is to reunite the “Gotham City Sirens” as they ride on to their next adventure (or maybe just to the donut shop), letting all of us know that this doesn’t have to be the end.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – a clever blending of Captain Carrot and Harley Quinn that plays up its spiritual links to another Warner Bros Property, “Harley Quinn” is among the most successful of “Convergence” titles from beginning to end.
Convergence: Justice League #2
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Vicente Cifuentes
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
No matter the event, there are always the tie-ins that simply exist. They don’t innovate artistically or tell a particularly interesting story. Sure they might feature characters you are interested in, but it’s not in anyway that is ultimately meaningful. “Convergence: Justice League” falls into this category. The series presented with a particularly strong premise, but issue #2 squanders it in a grim and generic super-heroic brawl. Several plot contrivances, such a Kryptonite Trident or the fact that everyone can talk underwater, stretch the required suspension of disbelief to unhealthy limits. I always try to look for some redeeming factor in a comic, but this issue exemplifies the lowest common denominator.
Final Verdict: 4.5 – A passable tie-in that fails to innovate on the premise of “Convergence” whatsoever.
Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #2
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Jan Duursema
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
One thing I really didn’t expect from “Convergence” was to see all the titular characters win, as that just seems too easy, right? I mean, we all know that, in the end, Batman will defeat the Joker, but if the Joker doesn’t get a win now and then, what’s the point? This mini seems like the perfect example of one where a team, maybe, wouldn’t win so handily.
I mean, Thangarians are super strong, winged creatures with maces. Here, they are up against a woman who isn’t particularly skilled at combat and an acrobatic hand to hand combat expert. Seeing them fighting as equals was a little unusual, and then seeing Nightwing and Oracle win (albeit with the help of their tech and Black Canary) seemed to be so predictable that it was almost unexpected.
The art, by Jan Duursema, sometimes errs a bit too heavily on the side of muscles and agro-faces, but overall is solid. My favorite part about his work on the issue is the layouts, which used insets and smaller panels to great use, and really break up the (sometimes) monotonous action sequences with really well placed detail shots.
In a way this, much like “The Question,” was a creator (in this case, Gail Simone) returning to an era and a character that is heavily associated with them, and allowing them to get the closure that the New 52 ripped away from them. From that perspective, this issue works in spades, but it also gives the book a sort of fan fiction-y vibe, which is a shame, as all parties involved deserve better than that.Continued below
Final Verdict: 6.6 – A nice capstone on the Babs as Oracle era, but is too predictable to be great
Convergence: The Question #2
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Cully Hamner
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
This issue gets off to a rocky start, with a clunky internal narration that interferes with the story at hand. Thankfully, the issue catches its stride about halfway through. Cully Hamner delivers a show-stopping two-page sequence that is packed with action, style and substance.
The Two-Face conflict, on which much of the issue focuses could have used a lot more fleshing out, a problem seems to plague a lot of these second issues. The “other” Harvey makes for an intriguing foil to the already dichotic villain, but ultimately plays little role other than progressing the plot to its necessary climax.
With a little more time to expand and explore on the issue’s complex ideas and emotional beats, this could stand as a truly definitive Rucka “Question” story. While it doesn’t quite rise to that height, “Convergence: The Question” is a terrific return to these characters, one that any fan of Rucka’s work can gladly hang their hat on. And let’s face it, this is still on the of the only “must-read” “Convergence” tie-ins.
Final Verdict: 8.2 – Rucka and Hamner’s triumphant return to “The Question” gives some much needed closure to the fan favorite character.
Convergence: Speed Force #2
Written by Tony Bedard
Illustrated by Tom Grummett
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
This, of all the books so far, has the most fun with heroes from various universes working or fighting together – to see Fastback, illustrated in all of his Zoo Crew glory, alongside the Flashpoint Wonder Woman, right there with the West family, it seemed to be the promise of “Convergence” in one issue.
Bedard, admittedly not my favorite writer, does a really nice job here, allowing each character to be true to themselves – Wally is the perfect father, Fastback is pure heroism, Diana is all Amazonian, without the softness of her more ‘in touch with humanity’ dopplegangers from other realities.
A lot of the credit here belongs to Grummett, who manages to capture fun in a pencil, and then spill it all over this book. There are moments of tension that don’t get diminished by the lightness of tone that Grummett brings to the book, but there are many small moments of joy and fun that are amplified 100x by his overall dedication to not making the bulk a brooding bore.
This issue, tone wise, is a huge improvement from last issue, where Wally seemed too morose and distracted to be the two things that totally define him: hero and father.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – The dream of pre-Flashpoint is alive in “Speed Force.” Also, someone give Tom Grummett a monthly assignment ASAP.
Convergence: Superman #2
Written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
The follow-up to last month’s enjoyable return to the pre-New 52 Superman and serendipitous “Flashpoint” follow-up, “Convergence: Superman” #2 has a few missteps as it crosses over the finish line. The issue sadly loses artist Lee Weeks, who has been delivering some truly wonderful Superman art of late. Instead, writer Dan Jurgens takes over art duties as well. Jurgens on Superman is something we’ve all seen before, and while his work is both classic and technically strong, it doesn’t quite capture the heart and emotion of the story as well as Weeks did last month.
Likewise, the story progression undermines a lot of the emotional beats established last month involving several of the Flashpoint characters. Thomas Wayne is not reunited with his lost son, but rather discusses him with Superman, the same sort of “relationship by proxy” that we saw in “Flashpoint.” Furthermore, Subject One’s conflicted attachment to Lois Lane is undermined and dismissed through off-panel fisticuffs. However, the story’s primary emotional touchstone, the birth of Clark and Lois’ child, is given a rushed but appreciated focus, allowing for a truly fitting close to these character’s stories.Continued below
Final Verdict: 7.0 – While not quite delivering on the promise of the terrific first issue, Jurgens delivers a touching “happily ever after” for the best couple in comics.
Convergence: The Titans #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Illustrated by Ron Wagner
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
This issue really swings for the fences in some weird ways – but, if these snapshots of dead worlds isn’t the place to get weird, than where is? We see Lian Harper, a dead girl, brought back to life, sucked back into protoplasm, and then made real again, and yet, it works. The love and dedication of Roy to his family is something that is well placed, and well received, in this book.
Look, the New 52 is totally bereft of heroes that are old enough to go to their tenth high school reunion, so seeing Roy as a grown up, willing to do anything to possibly catch the ghost of his daughter, that’s emotional and heart wrenching stuff, and stuff that, as DC fans, we just don’t see that often. Outside of Jim Gordon, I can’t think of one parent in the New 52 – why is that? Oh yeah, because 25 (the age that Green Arrow professes to be in the sneak peak this month) is supposedly the perfect superhero age? I’m not bitter because I’m in my thirties, I swear…
Anyway, Ron Wagner gives this issue a fun vibe, somewhere between the ultra clean lines of the old DCAU and the post-Zero Hour/pre-Final Crisis DCU. The action is ramped up to perfectly cromulent comic book levels, and all the victories are presented as hard earned and well fought. Wagner takes Fabian Nicieza’s script and adds both levity and gravity to it, in different places.
Interestingly, this issue has no real ending, just saying to get next week’s “Convergence.” This is the first tie in, outside of “Booster Gold,” to really factor into the main series in any real way. I wonder why this, of all series, was chosen to bridge that gap? Could it be because this is a way to get the real Donna Troy in a DC comic?
Final Verdict: 7.75 – An odd, but satisfying, Harper family tale.
The verdict, for me, is in. “Convergence” is an uneven event, but I can’t think of the last major comic book “event” that I didn’t use that same word to describe. It’s the nature of the beast, and by now we should know to live with it. That doesn’t excuse the faults of “Convergence”: repetition, writer/artist anachronisms, inconsistent characterization on some of the older eras depicted – no, those are all very real faults and have made some tie-ins more of a chore to read than others. But this is, by far, the most satisfying event that DC has put out since “Blackest Night”, for my money. I realize that there’s some bias there, because I’m eating up the fact that we’re revisiting some golden eras that I love. Even if they aren’t blowing us away with essential stories, I’m simply enjoying spending a little more time in these worlds.
What has been the most sneaky impressive aspects of “Convergence”, however, is the conclusions that the writers have been allowed to give some of these characters. They actually get to move past the superficial conceit of “Convergence” and get to tell the real stories behind these characters. They very easily could have left these threads dangling again, with a tease of a plot that some other writer would have to pick up eventually. Marvel and DC Comics are never-ending. Nothing is truly lost forever. Dead is not ever dead. Ever. So it would have been easy for DC to mandate that each of these stories resolve some past conflicts or explore themes from the past while also leaving a clear door open for more stories to come. It doesn’t feel like the writers had to do that. But that doesn’t mean that these characters are dying off or are never to be seen again. It really doesn’t feel like that, either.Continued below
For example, Alisa Kwitney ends “Convergence: Batgirl” on such a perfect note, that it could be the end of the story of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. There’s nothing there that is technically left “unfinished.” Yet, you could imagine reading (and fans of Steph will probably want to) an entirely new ongoing series that spins out from that seemingly perfect ending.
And while Kwitney pulls it off better than anyone else this week, it’s not exclusive to her. By and large, these titles are ending on notes that could be the definitive final issue of a story – or lead to something completely new and different if a writer is allowed to pick up on it again someday in “Convergence 2: This Time Every Story Really Does Matter.”
This week was interesting, as we’ve now seen how (at least some of) the stories end, the purpose of the event, or at least the tie-ins, becomes a little more clear. This is nothing more than a love letter to these bygone eras. That DC is even acknowledging these past iterations is a big deal, let alone celebrating them. If the series had been pitched this way straight up, I would have been absolutely thrilled with it.
So why am I feeling a little disappointed about the whole thing?
Well, part of it is just the predictability of it. Except for in “Justice League of America,” not one pre-Flashpoint character had so much as a permanent scar received during this event – I know no one wanted to see Ryan Choi die again, or The Montoya Question wind up defeated, but there are ways for the characters to lose without losing what makes them special.
But the real reason for my disappointment is far simpler: I just prefer these characters to their New 52 iterations. Sure, there are good books DC is still putting out, but for me, the legacy and history of the characters pre-Flashpoint is a large part of my enjoyment. “Titans,” for instance, has so much history stacked upon it – the friendships of the teammates, the history of Roy’s falls and rehabilitations, even the underlying purpose of the Teen Titans are all more present in this two issue mini than in the entirety of the New 52.
Sure, the New 52 might’ve given new fans an easy entry point, but that also insults the intelligence of the readers by presuming they’d be unable to find their way into a more complex continuity easily. Very few people started comics with a #1, and not all #1s are a clean entry point. This event has done a great job of reminding me what made DC the publisher that got me into comics some 30 years ago, and the publisher that brought me back in the late aughts.
And, maybe foolishly, this gives me hope for what is to come.
This week marked the first time I enjoyed the main “Convergence” series more than any one of the tie-ins. “Convergence” #5 took the story into some genuinely interesting places, directions I never really expected the story. The tie-ins, on the other hand, are mostly rather predictable. Even the ones I enjoyed most fail to fully realize their potential. Furthermore, “Convergence” #5 seems to undermine most of the conflicts established in last month’s tie-ins, making several of the tie-ins moot before they even hit the shelves.
As it stands, my interest in the tie-ins is at all time low, with my excitement for the main series rising at an inversely proportional rate.