• Cyborg Divergence Sneak Peek Columns 

    The DC3 Presents: Divergence 8 Page Previews, Week 4!

    By , and | June 1st, 2015
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    While all of us at Multiversity are fans of a wide spectrum of comics, there are a few of us that tend to self-identify as “DC guys.” We’ve cried for justice; we’ve been through the blackest nights and the brightest days. And now, we’ve been culled together for a new column to focus on some of the bigger goings on in the world of Detective Comics Comics. If you’re wondering who is going to stand up and discuss what is happening at DC – don’t worry:

    For the next few weeks, we will be doing recaps of the previews found at the end of the “Convergence” tie-ins for DC’s June relaunch books. Let us know which books look the best/are most headed for a landfill in the comments!

    Batgirl Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
    Illustrated by Babs Tarr
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    “Divergence,” as a line, is probably due more to the success of “Batgirl” as anything else, and so it is fitting that this book raises the stakes of these previews and provides something absolutely fun.

    Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr put Batgirl in a living video game, and it is as great as you’d hope it would be. Sort of a combination of a side scroller and something out of Tron, the game requires Barbara Gordon to be physically and intellectually superior, which is great – all too often since losing her Oracle persona, Barbara has relied more on her physicality than her intelligence. The character works best when acknowledged as the smartest person in the room.

    Tarr continues her absolute owning of this property. Her Babs (no pun intended) is having more fun than anyone else is comics, and the fun is contagious. She manages to blend the superheroics with the video game world in a near Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World style. In fact, not only is the Pilgrim film a touchstone, in terms of feel, but “Batgirl” might be the superhero comic most like the Scott Pilgrim comic series, too.

    Final Verdict: 8.8 – Welcome back, “Batgirl.”

    Black Canary Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Brenden Fletcher
    Illustrated by Annie Wu
    Review by Vince J Ostrowski

    Color me surprised that I didn’t enjoy this preview more, because an alt-rock “Black Canary” written by the writer of “Gotham Academy” & “Batgirl” and drawn by Annie Wu should have been 100% USDA-certified “my shit.” I think the lack of context in the sneak peek had more to do with my ever-so-slight feeling of ennui. “Black Canary” is funny enough (a sly joke about injuring drummers carries with it some clever history in the music biz), the art looks great (Wu’s punky sensibilities are a perfect match to the concept), and the momentum of the sneak peek builds over its 8 pages to a structurally textbook tease. I’m normally not a continuity nut (like, at all), but the sneak peek throws a lot of fictional history of Dinah’s band at you all at once, that we haven’t experienced yet. It places her in the middle of a tenuous interaction with a band that opened for them in the past – a past that feels entirely foreign to us. I’m probably spending too much time griping on what was a really nice preview for a book with a really original direction, but it didn’t blow my socks off the way the “Batgirl” relaunch originally did.

    Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Black Canary” looks extremely promising, but its longer #1 issue will surely provide better context for the events of the comic.

    Constantine: The Hellblazer Divergence Sneak Peak
    Written by Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV
    Illustrated by Riley Rossmo
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    Now that’s more like, eh luv? That “Hellblazer” moniker isn’t just there for show, this new take on a PG-13 John Constantine feels decided closer to his Vertigo roots. Doyle and Tynion go for broke with a plot begins innocently enough but soon devolve into a risqué web of demonic rituals, moral grays and crushing betrayals. While it’s still startling to see such a young, handsome Constantine, Riley Rossmo makes up for it with a suitable layer of grit. His use of Ben-Day-esque dots in lieu of cross-hatching is an interesting choice, giving the book a distinct visual flair.

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    Right out of the gate, this team shows no desire to pull punches, even with the limitations inherent with placing Constantine square in the center of the DCU. If it can carry on at this level, “Constantine: The Hellblazer” looks to sidestep several issues that plagued the previous volume.

    Final Verdict: 7.4 – A promising re-reboot for our favorite anti-hero mage.

    Cyborg Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by David F. Walker
    Illustrated by Ivan Reis
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    One of the characters that has benefited the most in the New 52, in terms of importance, is Cyborg. From Teen Titan to Justice League co-founder, it is sort of shocking that DC waited as long as it did to give Vic Stone his own book.

    The preview itself is actually the answer to the question: “can you summarize the best parts of the New 52’s aesthetic in 8 pages?” Ivan Reis, more than any other artist, captures the look of the past four years of DC comics, and here he does what he does best: bombastic action mixed with genuine emotion. Because of the type of story this is, it feels a little slight, story wise, but when you’ve got Reis doing his thing, you can forgive a little bit more action.

    I’m not very familiar with David Walker, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about his “Shaft” comic. Here, he takes Vic and, specifically, the New 52 Vic, and highlights all of his attributes: his leadership, his compassion, and his teamwork. It also highlights his friendship with Shazam, which is one of my favorite adjustments in the Justice League dynamic. This preview works to change the status quo around Cyborg’s tech, and it is smart to focus on that aspect of the character. Between that, and the youthful friendship with Shazam, it allows Cyborg to be in the Justice League, but shows what made him such a great member of the Teen Titans, too.

    Final Verdict: 7.8 – A somewhat padded story that, nonetheless, shows great potential.

    Earth 2: Society Divergence Sneak Peak
    Written by Daniel H. Wilson
    Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    We at the DC3 have been quite explicit regarding the issues we had with “Earth 2: World’s End.” However, to reiterate, the series was undermined by both problematic pace and a general inability to engage readers on an emotional/intellectual level. Frankly, it lacked any sort of relevant hook.

    So it was that I tackled this preview with some trepidation. Much to my surprise and enjoyment, Earth 2: Society marks a rather thorough return to form for the extra-universal team of heroes.

    Chalk it up to experience, a more direct level of control, or a departure from the rigors of the weekly format, but this 8-page preview feels like a completely different beast than its predecessor. Wilson shows a greater level of confidence in his scripting, both in dialogue and pacing. One year after the end of “Convergence,” the new “Earth 2” is bizarre and unfamiliar. Characters we once knew well have either abdicated their former roles or inherited new ones. There’s a distinct “Civil War” divide between the heroes, but as we are thrown in without explanation, it’s unclear which party holds the moral high ground. It’s exactly this level of mystery and intrigue that “World’s End” lacked.

    For all the problems of “World’s End,” the art was rarely one of them. Jorge Jimenez stood out as one of the best artists on the book, and his work on “Society” is just as enjoyable. Here he gets to flex his creative muscle more thoroughly, freed from the ruins of post-apocalyptic Chicago to new and alien vistas.

    Wilson and Jimenez pack a lot into these eight pages, with the tantalizing promise of more to come. Success here doesn’t necessarily guarantee success from month to month, but as a proof of concept the preview should give readers more than enough reason to check out “Earth 2: Society.”

    Final Verdict: 7.7 – A return to form for “Earth 2.”

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    The Flash Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Van Jensen
    Illustrated by Brett Booth
    Review by Vince J Ostrowski

    I know this might be an unpopular opinion, given the high praise that Manapul & Buccellato’s “Flash” run has traditionally received, but I think Barry Allen’s Flash has been one of the more botched aspects of the ‘New 52’. I found the early run, while at times among the most visually stunning “Flash” comics I’ve ever read, to be rather boring from a plot perspective. Small, but significant changes to Barry’s everyday life have seemed ill-fitting for a man who used to have the most complex extended family (next to Batman) before “Flashpoint” hit. Now it feels like they’re struggling to give Barry a different kind of life outside of the costume. Nothing is quite sticking, but they spend an awful lot of time trying. That’s why the sneak peek of the upcoming arc was so disappointing to me. It feels like Barry is starting over again. Here’s where he lives. Here’s where he works. Here’s what happened to his mom. Here’s where his dad is now. They’re probably trying to catch new readers up to speed or give them a jumping-on point (something the best Divergence previews did not have to do so ham-handedly), but from the start of Geoff John’s “Flash: Rebirth” through “Flashpoint”, it’s felt like Barry has been in a cycle of false starts. This felt like one too.

    I’ve never been a Brett Booth detractor. There are books that he’s been on that he wasn’t the greatest fit for, but I think his style is dynamic and he fits a speedster well. Even if he’s not your style (and his style is a rather specific one that maybe doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes), you have to admit that he keeps things light and fun. I have more of a problem with the way the colors clash with his art here. Booth uses a thin line, and the warm, washed out colors overpower that line. Take a look at the panel of Barry’s dad in his prison cell – it’s as if someone is shining on spotlight (or the red hot sun) directly onto his face. At least he’s getting a great tan in there.

    Final Verdict: 5.0 – “The Flash” isn’t going to be a terrible book, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and that’s an understatement.

    Harley Quinn Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
    Illustrated by Chad Hardin
    Review by Vince J Ostrowski

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that “Harley Quinn” exists to be DC Comics’ ubiquitous savior from the grim and gritty, but I’m starting to think she’s just not my type. This is one of a handful of these Divergence previews that features no creative change and therefore feels exactly the same as the book you may or may not have already been reading. Checking back in with “Harley Quinn” now, I found a book that was free to spend entirely too much time on a joke while sacrificing the plot (a concept I actually appreciate in theory, but didn’t appreciate in execution in this particular sneak peek). To be more specific, the sneak preview consisted entirely of Harley’s efforts to organize and name her devoted followers – giving each and every one some sort of cutesy nickname, usually a pun of the Harley Quinn name to begin with. The character synopses and nicknames range from mildly tolerable to weirdly stereotypical. “Harley Quinn”, much like Deadpool (a comparison that I am only beginning to appreciate now), is a comic of flop-sweat comedy, throwing everything to the wall, with very little sticking. Harley has to get her final word in edgewise in service of a joke in seemingly every panel that features her. If you’re not tired of her yet (and believe me, her presence will only magnify in the months leading up to Suicide Squad), then by all means, this could be the comic for you.

    After all, Chad Hardin’s art looks great. I mean, if Amanda Conner isn’t going to actually draw the interiors, Hardin is a damn fine choice for a similar artist sensibility – not so much in style, but in his penchant for visual humor and light tone. If the gags don’t land in the script, at least they’re fun to look at in the art. Each new character gives Hardin a new ballpark to play in. It’s a lively book, for sure, but that’s more to do with the way Hardin brings life into Harley’s den – even as the script bounces between a few genuine laughs and a bunch of groaners. Maybe this preview wasn’t a good indicator of what to expect from the ongoing title, as it was stuck in a weird “Who’s Who” format that it couldn’t get out of.

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    Final Verdict: 5.0 – Like the “Bat-Mite” preview earlier in the month, your enjoyment will largely come from whether you can tolerate the central character.

    Justice League United Divergence Sneak Peak
    Written by Jeff Parker
    Illustrated by Travel Foreman
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    It’s a Justice League World.

    Having just blazed through a chunk of Hickman’s “Avengers”/“New Avengers” run, that was the first thought that crossed my mind upon finishing the preview for the post-Lemire incarnation of “Justice League United.” While Lemire’s run on the title was enjoyable, it never quite had a strong foundation or sense of purpose, other than as a vehicle for his favorite characters and Canadian patriotism.

    Conversely, under Parker and Foreman’s oversight, “United” becomes one of the most compelling books in DC’s publishing lines, and arguably more relevant even than Johns’ “Justice League.” Tapping directly into the precedent set by the animated Justice League Unlimited and Hickman’s more recent “Avengers,” Parker’s core team of Stargirl, Alana Strange, Animal Man and Equinox is joined by a veritable Who’s Who of the DCU. Spinning out of the events of “Convergence,” “Justice League United” looks to be among the first books to explore the implications of the new multiversal order.

    Admittedly, Travel Foreman is a surprising choice for a headlining super hero team book. His style is far from mainstream, and his exaggerated presentation doesn’t work as well with some characters. While those of the supernatural and alien ilk, i.e. Etrigan, Swamp Thing and Sinestro, fair well, the more typical heroes and heroines look particular odd at times. The second page, featuring Stargirl, Batgirl, and Zatana is perhaps the best example of this. Still, Foreman hits far more than he misses, and it’s exciting to see him tackle something outside of his traditional DC wheelhouse.

    As we prepare to enter “Unknown Theoretical Territory,” the potential for this book is essentially infinite. Carrying on my comparison to “Avengers,” the core “United” team feels akin to Marvel’s “Illuminati;” holding secret knowledge and orchestrating arrangements deals with unsavory figures, all with the good of the universe in mind. It feels rather against-type for a DC book, and perhaps that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting.

    Final Verdict: 8.8 – Truly one of DC’s must read books.

    Sinestro Divergence Sneak Peak
    Written by Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by Brad Walker
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    Though not ground breaking, the Divergence preview for “Sinestro” does an admirable job of introducing readers to Bunn and Walker’s take on the characters. Bunn succinctly introduces the diverse ensemble cast, featuring a slew of newer faces and old favorites. It’s particularly fun to see Soranik Natu, an important figure in the DC books over the last decade, forced to play off-type. The set up is reminiscent of Guy Gardner’s most recent tenure as Red Lantern, though it feels slightly more organic to the character’s development.

    Bunn also introduces the driving conflict for the book moving forward; a traitor in the midst of Sinestro’s inner circle. Again, this is hardly anything new for an anti-heroic team book, but Bunn does a reasonable job of giving readers reason to invest in the book.

    Brad Walker was a revelation on the “Green Lantern” books when he landed on “New Guardians” a few years back, and he continues to deliver fantastic work on “Sinestro.” His is some of the finest work in terms of straight up cape comics, and his long tenure on cosmic-tinged books makes “Sinestro” a fit like a glove. It’s not the most compelling of the Divergence Sneak Peak, but “Sinestro” remains a worthy option for your whetting your DC cosmic appetite.

    Final Verdict: 6.8 – Anti-hero books are still a dime a dozen at DC, but “Sinestro” stands out under Bunn and Walker’s oversight.

    Superman/Wonder Woman Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Peter Tomasi
    Illustrated by Paolo Siqueira
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    There is no single book out of all of these previews that flies more in the face of the New 52 than “Superman/Wonder Woman.” By having Clark say that he doesn’t love Diana anymore, it opens the doors for things like Steve Trevor’s re-emergence as Wonder Woman’s beau and, more importantly, Lois and Clark’s eventual reuniting.

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    I just wish that the rest of the comic was better.

    Superman sucker punching the Flash is as New 52 as anything in the previews, so this issue is truly a contradiction. I don’t fully understand what “Truth” is really all about yet, so it is a little hard to judge, but this book is trying a little too hard to walk a line between what was and what is coming.

    Siqueira is saddled with new costumes for all three heroes shown here, and I don’t think any of them are great, but he makes due with what he has to work with. The best visual sequences are the silent ones, where Clark’s truly broken down body is on display. This is not something we are used to seeing in a comic that didn’t feature Doomsday or some other giant monster kicking the shit out of Superman for 20 pages.

    The book could still be a success, it just needs to lay off some of the more ‘brutal’ characterizations of Superman and, instead, allow the dynamic between Clark and Diana, especially if they are falling out of love, drive a book. I can’t remember a book about that topic – especially not a superhero book – and I would love to read one that handled it well.

    Final Verdict: 6.1 – A muddled book with a possibly revolutionary concept.

    We Are Robin Divergence Sneak Peek
    Written by Lee Bermejo
    Illustrated by Jorge Corona
    Review by Vince J Ostrowski

    “We Are Robin” was reportedly the pitch that blew everyone away when DC Comics asked for “blue sky pitches” post-Convergence. It’s easy to see why, as the concept is fascinating. Who are these activists? Why did they choose Robin as their symbol? What will the Bat Family do about this, if anything? There’s so many avenues that this story could take – I’m genuinely interested. However, the sneak peek doesn’t do much to convince me that the book has deeper aims than just being about a street gang of Robin acolytes. As of right now, it’s a dynamic looking preview (Jorge Corona’s art is loose, youthful, and expressive – think Humberto Ramos) that manages to tell its story through a social media facade that comes off as authentic and doesn’t get annoying. This is a book to-watch, even if it hasn’t totally convinced me yet. I need to see more.

    Final Verdict: 7.5 – A solid premise and art that fits like a glove, but the preview was a little thin for me to go all-in on it yet.


    Zach’s Picks:

    Best New Book: Black Canary

    Best Returning Book: Justice League United

    Biggest Surprise: Earth 2: Society

    Biggest Disappointment: The Flash

    Vince’s Picks:

    Best New Book: Constantine: The Hellblazer

    Best Returning Book: Batgirl

    Biggest Surprise: Justice League United

    Biggest Disappointment: The Flash

    Brian’s Picks:

    Best New Book: Black Canary

    Best Returning Book: Justice League United

    Biggest Surprise: Earth 2: Society

    Biggest Disappointment: The Flash

    //TAGS | The DC3

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).


    Vince Ostrowski

    Dr. Steve Brule once called him "A typical hunk who thinks he knows everything about comics." Twitter: @VJ_Ostrowski


    Zach Wilkerson

    Zach "The Mercenary" Wilkerson may sometimes act like he hates comics, but he generally enjoys them, mostly. Ask him about his encyclopedic knowledge of the Kingdom Hearts series and follow him on twitter @wilkerfox.


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