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 Stephen Segovia
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
Well, now we’re getting somewhere.
“Convergence” #3 is collection of DC universe deep cuts. Featuring an astonishing number of obscure characters, this is likely an issue that only the most hardcore of DC fans will be able to fully appreciate. King pulls from all nooks and crannies of DC’s massive vaults and throws it all in the pot. Who would have imagined a mainline DC event that prominently featured the Kandorian Nightwing and Flamebird, a number of one-off villains from the post-Morrison pre-New 52 “Batman and Robin,” and elements from Mike Grell’s “Warlord” sharing pages with one another? And you all thought “Final Crisis” was bad!
Admittedly, this issue isn’t totally inaccessible. King balances his Degatons and Vanishing Points with a heaping helping of Batman, in what actually becomes a fairly powerful and definitive moment for the “Earth 2” Thomas Wayne.
The rest of the “Earth 2” characters, however, continue to be low point for the series. Not only is their story-line the least compelling thread of “Convergence,” but they also seem to give King the most trouble from a scripting perspective. The bantering dialogue Flash, Yolanda and company is so stilted and corny as to be unbearable, littered with painful one-liners and expository statements.
The issue is further marred by a number of technical and editorial issues, particularly a few glaring typos. When a misspelling of the primary antagonist’s name makes it past the editor, there’s a bit of a problem. Chalk it up to the big move?
Segovia’s artwork continues to be one of “Convergence’s” defining high points. He delivers the kind of clean, cinematic, Ivan Reis style super heroics that have characterized some of DC’s most enjoyable modern events. While some of this characters occasionally appear slightly off (his Thomas Wayne seems to be the most troublesome), his work is strong overall.
Overall, “Convergence” #3 gives me hope that there’s a legitimate and worthwhile endgame for the series outside of the initial “Countdown: Arena-esque” premise.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – A strong foot forward for this event’s center point.
Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1
Written by Marv Wolfman
Illustrated by Roberto Viacava
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
This is the epitome of a mixed bag. On one hand, this issue featured some very appropriate Bronze Age weirdness and fun; on the other, it also tossed out, more or less, the entire premise of the event, as most of the issue took place outside of the cities trapped on Telos.
Marv Wolfman, seemingly because he could, set the majority of this issue in the Phantom Zone. This was, in one way, a nice change of pace from the 9 other tie-ins this week but, then again, I also like my tie-ins to feel like they’re in the same universe as the main book. This is essentially the Eli Cash moment of the event, where everyone knows people can’t leave their domes but, this issue presupposes, maybe they can?
Praise needs to be given to Argentinian artist Roberto Viacava who, perhaps better than anyone else this week, really captures the feel of the pre-Crisis books with his artwork. His attention to detail is extremely time period specific, as he refuses to bend, too much, to the conventions of the 21st century: his panels are framed in a perfectly retro way, and he never once slips in his tone.Continued below
Final Verdict: 6.2 – If you can forgive the blatant dismissal of the central conceit of the event, this has everything you’d want in a Bronze Age super team-up.
Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1
Written by Marc Andreyko
Illustrated by Carlos D’Anda
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
This issue offers an enjoyable slice of life style overview of Batman and his Outsider’s new life under the dome. Much like last week’s “Parallax/Green Lantern,” Andreyko uses the dome to explore his characters in unique and compelling ways. Black Lightning continues to play the part of colorful superhero, even without his powers. Katana attends to a comatose Halo. Rex Mason, free of his curse, lives the life he’s always dreamed of, at the cost of “the nightmares of millions,” as Bruce so elegantly puts it. While the issue has a lot going for it, its biggest weakness is one of its greatest strengths.
Carlos D’Anda is a very solid artist and he delivers some truly enjoyable art in this issue. However, his style is nowhere near true to the era in which this story is based. There’s a tonal and visual dissonance that occurs while reading this issue, jarring the reader out of the illusion of a pre-Crisis DC story. It’s a shame, as D’Anda would have been a terrific fit on most any pre-Flashpoint era book. His bright, glossy style is just the wrong fit for this kind of story, especially compared to the slightly more true to time Kubert cover.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – A strong script paired with an equally strong artist that ultimately just doesn’t mesh.
Convergence: The Flash #1
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Federico Dallocchio
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
Dan Abnett’s approach to telling a Barry Allen story might be as fitting as any you could imagine for the character, despite the end result not being terribly compelling. In truth, this issue was “Convergence” at its most laid back and introspective. In a lot of ways, that’s refreshing, and it made for an enjoyable read, even if it was the equivalent of watching an episode of Mad Men where we watch Don Draper curiously watch foreign black & white cinema for entirely too long. A lot of references are made to “crises”, which is a word that holds a very specific meaning in the DC canon – they are a perpetual solution at DC Comics for cleaning up or reshaping (or even rebooting, sorta) continuity. Barry Allen is the king of the crisis, having played the tragic role in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and the catalyst for “Flashpoint.” Thematically, it’s satisfying to watch him slowly move through a world that is in the middle of another sort of “crisis” (although DC has never called “Convergence” that). He ruminates on what it means to lose an entire world – a world you were comfortable, happy, and familiar in. He has high tea with a Mr. Wayne to try to break through the sense of despondency. Of course, event comics being what they are, eventually he’s pitted against a superpower in another nonsensical “Convergence” battle for the ages, but until that happens, “The Flash” is a pleasantly slow-moving, beautiful to look at comic book.
Federico Dallocchio breathes full life into the story, making the aforementioned easy pace that much more satisfying. The empty, unfamiliar world that Allen inhabits somehow feels barren from his point of view, while looking rich and lived-in in actuality. Dallocchio depicts Allen as extremely melancholy in both body language and demeanor. That is, until his “Convergence” battle kicks into gear. One of the strongest artistic efforts of “Convergence”, and a great match for the tone of the script.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Abnett has a knack for getting under the skin of superhero tropes, and Dallocchio’s art is as pretty as “The Flash” has looked since Francis Manapul got done with him.
Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1
Written by David Gallaher
Illustrated by Steve Ellis
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Far too few of these books give the readers any credit whatsoever – everything is spoon fed to the readers, presuming that all of us coming in are blank slates, incapable of anything other than reading the most simple and straightforward stories. “Convergence: Green Lantern Corps,” gladly, doesn’t do that. Instead, this book plays off of the most basic of GL knowledge, filling in all the details elegantly and subtly.Continued below
This book also has a distinct advantage over many of the other books in this event: this creative team has worked together before. Creative team David Gallher and Steve Ellis, co-creators of Zuda’s “High Moon” and the webcomic “The Only Living Boy,” tackle this issue, and do so with a comfort level that is unparalleled anywhere else this week. The opening page, showcasing the various Justice League members’ symbology, was one of the best single pages of this event thus far. This story has many layers, some of which are clear as day, and others are hidden below the surface.
The main focus here is Guy Gardner, but his story is also the most straightforward (though I will say, I’m surprised no one else tackled the psychological torment that heroes must have gone through when suddenly powerless in such a straightfoward way). John Stewart, for instance, is feeling guilt over the dome coming down, foreshadowing his “Cosmic Odyssey” actions; Hal Jordan’s obsession and lack of common sense hints towards his becoming Parallax a decade of stories later. Ellis’s style, while not quite a play on the era, nonetheless feels perfectly in place for this story, remaining just expressive enough to look a little out of place in the current DC universe.
Final Verdict: 9.1 – A home run in a game of singles.
Convergence: Hawkman #1
Written by Jeff Parker
Illustrated by Tim Truman & Enrique Alcatena
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
If DC Comics is looking for something to do with Hawkman after “Convergence” is all over, they could surely launch a new series with Jeff Parker as the writer and Tim Truman (if he’s willing) as the artist. The highest compliment I can pay “Convergence: Hawkman” is that it actually made you remember (or realize for the first time) why Hawkman and Hawkwoman/Hawkgirl were ever considered a worthwhile characters to begin with. Parker makes the most out of his 20 pages by stripping the Hawk characters down to their basics – no convoluted re-telling of their multi-headed origin needed. In fact, Parker doesn’t even really hint at it or try to justify the mess that is the Hawkman canon (a mistake that writers make nearly every time, even when they’ve had a chance to completely retool the character). Instead, he takes the opportunity to write Hawkman and Hawkwoman as teachers, heroes, and inspirations in a world that has lost a lot of them. I’m not sure how commercially successful a “Hawkman” book is ever going to be, but an approach that simplifies them and makes them heroic, honorable, and globally-minded would certainly be a critical success. Here, the Hawk team polices the streets of Gotham while leading double-lives as archaeologists at the local museum. The way Parker weaves their alter egos into the story is a thematically satisfying touch. As all the most popular heroes have been lost, Hawkman and Hawkwoman stand as highly public figures for hope, justice, and survival. In other words, by not dwelling on the property’s past too much, and making the principal characters into proactive heroes, Jeff Parker has the beginnings of the most satisfying Hawkman story in a while.
Tim Truman’s art is a classic fit, especially given that he’s worked on the character before. Katar and Shayera look like the iconic version of the character – no frills necessary. Truman looks like the ideal Hawkman artist, considering his renderings of the characters and their similarly beaked and winged villains are so apt. Truman is good with action – something he gets to show off on a number of occasions in this issue – but he’s also adept at taking readers on a journey through the characters’ everyday lives. Something that Hawkman has been missing just as much as a strong writer is an artist that appears enthusiastic about these characters and depicts them without unnecessary attempts to aggrandize them.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – In blending a period-correct feel with a robust story, this was easily one of the best “Convergence” issues so far.
Convergence: Justice League of America #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Illustrated by ChrisCross
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Up until now, Fabian Nicieza has been one of the more consistent creators in the entire event, but this issue is one of the most tonedeaf issues produced thus far. The Justice League Detroit never had this much over the top gravitas on top of it – in fact, that’s sort of what made it charming. It didn’t quite know it was a joke, but it wasn’t too far removed from that. Here, the team is handled as if they are an elite strike force, misunderstood by three decades of readers. I love this team, but that is bullshit.
Worst of all, ChrisCross draws this issue like it is a Avatar title, all faux-movie poses and lens flare. This issue lacks grace in just about every corner. This team is made up of some of the most iconic DC characters of the era, as well as Vibe and Steel, and yet the book focuses on the three characters that aren’t limited to this era, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Zatanna.
One of the two highlights of this issue is the presence of Ralph and Sue Dibny, the best couple DC ever had. Nicieza does a nice job of showing the reader how in love they are, but even the Dibnys come out of this looking a little odd – for instance, if Gingold is what gives Ralph his abilities, then why didn’t he just drink Gingold when the dome was up?
The best part of this issue, however, is that it is completely devoid of the dome. This issue begins once the dome is already down, and we see the heroes back in fighting mode instantly. Sure, there is a little flashback, but it’s not the main focus of the issue. Of course, if this is the only tie-in you’re picking up, this is going to read incredibly awkwardly. As this was the 23rd tie-in I had read, it was a relief to not have to deal with yet another presence of the Telos font.
Final Verdict: 3.2 – A missed opportunity to focus the spotlight on a neglected bit of DC history.
Convergence: New Teen Titans #1
Written by Marv Wolfman
Illustrated by Nicola Scott
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Where have you gone, Marv Wolfman of old? “Convergence” turns its lonely eyes to you!
In other words: what happened to the man who wrote “New Teen Titans” with such ease for all those years? Because this sure as shit isn’t anywhere close to those books.
This is a ham-fisted, lazy attempt to bring one of DC’s most celebrated books back to the forefront for 20 pages. The female characters are so wooden that you can practically see splinters forming. Each one is defined solely by their relationship with a man, and each one is, essentially, incapable of adult actions because of the failure/strain of said relationship. The most egregious of these is Donna Troy, who fans have been clamoring for since the dawn of the New 52, who rips the subtext from the page and speaks character motivation in an utterly ridiculious way (aided by a totally unironic single tear drop).
The extra shame of this is that he has Nicola Scott on pencils, one of the most talented artists in DC’s stable. Her clean line is a nice upgrade on the typical George Perez pencils – she draws in HD, his classic work on this property was, essentially, standard definition. Scott manages to nail the look of every character, even if the look is a little stock at times. Scott’s pencils should have helped this book be one of the best of the event – iconic characters, paired with their most identifiable writer and a superstar artist. Instead, this just feels like yet another example of why going home to an old favorite almost never works out.
Final Verdict: 5.0 – Visually astounding; narratively stilted.Continued below
Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Written by Stuart Moore
Illustrated by Gus Storms
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
The “Legion of Super-Heroes,” known for its large cast of absurdly named of lads and lasses, its convoluted continuity, and its general inaccessibility. However, there was a time when the Legion reigned, and its peak was arguably the 80’s stories from Levitz and Giffen. It’s to this golden era that Stuart Moore and Gus Storms return, and manage to tell a story that even the most uninitiated fan can enjoy.
Moore wisely focuses on a few characters, primarily Superboy, Lightning Lass, and Brainiac 5. Moore catches readers up on the things they need to know and quickly wraps us up in the dramatic going-ons of these teenage heroes. The rest of the Legion mostly makes for fun color, but there are a number of nods to hardcore Legion history, such as the Legion Espionage Squad and the deaths of Ferro Lad and Karate Kid.
Unfortunately, Storms’ art falls prey to the same issue as D’Anda in “Batman and the Outsiders;” it just doesn’t fit this era of comics. However Storm’s work is a perfect fit for the Legion in general, capturing the light all-ages tone that lies at the heart of the property. His take on the Legion, paired with Pat Brosseau’s bright colors, is an absolute delight, something I’d love to see more of in the future.
Most interestingly, this issue presents a potentially unique tie to the main “Covergence” event; this is (presumably) the only domed city to contain a Brainiac inside. That would be, of course, Brainiac’s benevolent great-great grandson Brainiac 5. Given the restructuring of Brainic and his various incarnations in the scope of the DC cosmology, it’s unclear exactly how 5 relates to the “god Brainiac,” but it’s definitely something that should be explored.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – One of the best “Legion” stories we’ve seen in years.
Convergence: Swamp Thing #1
Written by Len Wein
Illustrated by Kelley Jones
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
I’m of two minds about this issue. On one hand, the issue is a solid distillation of the pre-Crisis Wein/Moore Swamp Thing. That’s a run that, as for many, is very special to me. Kelley Jones is a fantastic match for the issue, capturing that dark supernatural tone perfected by the likes of Bernie Wrightson and John Totleben However, part of the reason it feels so true to tone is because half the issue is essentially a recap of events. We get Swamp Thing’s origin, “Anatomy Lesson,” and some hints at the aftermath. Wein even ties in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in his set up for getting Swampy under the dome.
Once the story gets past acquainting the reader with this version of Swampy, the plot fails to find legs. Cut off from the Green, Swamp Thing goes into a state of hibernation and takes the story with him. While I have to credit Wein and Jones for so succinctly transporting readers back to mid-80’s “Swamp Thing,” I wish they had been a bit more bold in the telling.
Final Verdict: 5.5 – A “Swamp Thing” story that sticks to its roots, somewhat to its detriment.
Written by Larry Hama
Illustrated by Josh Middleton
Review by Vince J. Ostrowski
Larry Hama had a somewhat unenviable task with the era of “Wonder Woman” that is being revisited in “Convergence: Wonder Woman.” It’s not a particularly well-regarded era for the character, though it has its fans and the feel of the era is somewhat fun in a kitschy sort of way (how about that for a ringing endorsement?). All things considered, I think Hama does a good job of telling a Diana vs. religious cult story that feels like something the character could have gotten wrapped up in back in the 1970’s (by that I mean, it’s a little goofy and definitely over-the-top), but also ties into “Convergence” in one of the most satisfying ways that any tie-in issue has yet. The cult story so seamlessly folds into the Wonder Woman vs. Red Rain characters aspect that it’s clear that Hama actually thought this concept through. That’s more than can be said for a lot of these “Convergence” tie-ins. But it’s not enough that Hama navigate the plot as deftly as he does, he also has to nail the characters. I think he does a good job here too, by pitting Diana against a cult whose religious proclivities cause her to make some definitive personal statements about her character. Wonder Woman is always clear and confident in her convictions, and this take on here – even plucked out from the ’70s – feels correct.Continued below
Joshua Middleton’s art is a loose, pop art style take on the character that also shows a winning design sense for the period. Wonder Woman has never looked better in that white jumpsuit, and the rest of the fashion and decor follows suit. But most impressive about Middleton’s turn is how the art changes once the Red Rain villains show up. Middleton’s color palette completely changes to invite the darkness. It goes beyond just using a darker set of colors to change the mood of the story though – these are apt decisions made that completely and intentionally change the look of Middleton’s art. Middleton seems to adapt his linework to allow for a more frightening, feral feel. The book doesn’t just get darker – it becomes eerie and otherworldly.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – Hama does a solid, if not a little goofy riff on ’70s “Wonder Woman” and Middleton’s art shows plenty of range.
This week wasn’t all that different from past weeks, except in two distinct areas, one good and one bad. On one hand, this week had the most diversity in the types of stories told: “Wonder Woman” looked at the spiritual implications of the dome, “Green Lantern Corps” dealt with the sense of loss heroes must have felt; “Adventures of Superman” tossed convention out all together.
However, this week also had the least era accurate artwork, and that is nearly inexcusable. There are many Bronze Age artists still working today – DC couldn’t have reached out to ten of them to take care of these issues? I can understand next week, where the books sometimes draw back to eras where the original artists are retired or shuffled off this mortal coil. But DC has a number of folks who either are doing current work for them, or who recently have, that could’ve been huge assets for these books: George Perez, Neal Adams, Keith Giffen, John Romita Jr, Howard Chaykin, Jim Starlin, Walt Simonson,and Jerry Ordway all are more than capable of handling the work and have partnered with DC relatively recently, not to mention folks like John Byrne, Mike Grell, and Bernie Wrightson, all of whom would have been welcome additions to this event. If Greg Rucka could put his past slights with DC behind him, why couldn’t DC bury the hatchet with some of these classic talents?
That’s not to say that there wasn’t some fine work this week, but even the best of the work would have been easily forgotten if some of those artists were able to go back to their golden eras.
It is almost like DC wants to entice old fans with the titles, but not have the books seem dated or of a time – but if that is the case, why even bother with an event like this? The whole idea is to revisit classic times. Why go halfway?
Some stronger creative teams made for a more enjoyable week of “Convergence” titles when compared to last week’s wayward effort. Again, a fair bit of the weekly quality of “Convergence” is going to stem from personal preference regarding the eras and elseworlds the creative teams are pulling from. But while last week it felt like the creatives were re-visiting a few storylines out of obligation, this week it felt more like writers and artists were relishing their chance to visit eras that are so far out of time that they haven’t really even been referenced in a while.
There was a real feeling of nostalgia that last week couldn’t capture for me, for some reason. The “Pre-Flashpoint” DC Universe was so recent (and so regrettably lost) that returning to it felt like a grand wish being fulfilled in some small way. Last week, there were several stories that just didn’t really warrant returning to. These stories felt more like products of their time without anything new to say or any stones left unturned, nor a potent enough nostalgic removal from them to make returning to them very satisfying. On the flip side, this week it felt worthwhile to return to the Pre-Crisis DCU and tell some stories in them for nostalgia’s sake. Some of these issues felt “new and different” by returning to an age of comics that has long passed. I suspect that next week will double down even further on the classic nostalgia and create a similar feeling. Week 2 feels like it’s going to be the dud.Continued below
I even think these creative teams even navigated the conceit of “Convergence” more smoothly than they have in the last couple of weeks, though that may have just been an all-around fluke.
This week did lend further credence to the idea that these worlds are “going away”, however. Books like “Hawkman” directly spoke of cities dying in the aftermath. But I put “going away” in quotes because we know that this is comics and that no story ever “goes away.” After all, a year ago did we ever imagine that we would see Stan Lee’s “Just Imagine” line in a major DCU event? The answer is most certainly “no.” If anything, “Convergence” itself is undeniable proof that every story does matter, even if worlds, and stories, and eras do end up dying.
Week 3 of “Convergence” is arguably the strongest week thus far, with both the main series and the tie-ins feeling a bit more fresh and worthwhile. As the other guys have mentioned, the books this week seemed to break the formulaic approach seen in previous weeks, if only slightly. There were also a lot of interesting implications dropped along the way like so many tantalizing bread crumbs. I already discussed the Brainiac-connection in “Legion of Super-Heroes,” while other books like “Hawkman” hinted at the greater implications of “Convergence.” This sort of thing goes a long way to giving the event a modicum of much needed depth.
Never Tell Me the Odds
Pre-Crisis Earth-One Gotham City – 1:10 – A strong favorite, but if “Convergence: Hawkman” is any indication, things don’t look so hot for Pre-Crisis Earth-One.
New York City, Earth-A.D. – 1:3 – Kirby is king.
Gotham City, Red Rain Universe 1:20 – Could this be DC’s new answer to “Marvel Zombies?” Does DC really even need an answer to “Marvel Zombies?” Aren’t vampires so 5 years ago?
Central City, Tangent Universe 1:10 – This thoroughly interesting, oft forgotten reimagining of the DCU has survived Crises both Infinite and Final, as well as a Flashpoint. Don’t count out this underdog.
Durvale – 1:40 – Giant dalmatians are great and all, but they can only get you so far.
Pre-Crisis 30th Century Metropolis – 1:1 – A true wild card, this city sneaks its way into week 3 with a possible unfair advantage; Brainiac’s great-great grandson is on the case.