• Convergence 6 cover Columns 

    The DC3 Presents: The Convergents, Week 6!

    By , and | May 15th, 2015
    Posted in Columns | 2 Comments

    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!

    Convergence #6
    Written by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell
    Illustrated by Ed Benes and Eduardo Pansica
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    After a few weeks solo, Jeff King has Scott Lobdell back in his corner for this issue of “Convergence” and, I must say, this is probably the most I’ve ever enjoyed a Lobdell comic. Seriously.

    This issue put a few things on the table that may seem to some to be a cop out, but sees the best possible outcome of the series laid out before us: the restoration of all the alternate worlds. Of course, that begs a ton of questions, sort of destroys the concept of the 52 Earth Multiverse, and probably doesn’t really change anything month in and month out, but it is still an extraordinarily appealing concept.

    Benes and Pansica do a really great job of blending classic and modern characters – their Superman is pure 1986 but Telos looks the same as he did last week. This issue, more than any other, really feels like it touches on the entirety of DC’s history, visually. That aids the (sometimes) less than logical elements of the series go down a whole lot smoother. I really like the idea of Superman and Dick Grayson both being the consistent rocks of the Multiverse, never letting down the citizens of their world. I’ve said this in the past: Dick Grayson as Batman is the dream of DC Comics come to life, and DC refused to see it through, so it is nice to see him getting his due here.

    That said, this issue also tries to shoehorn in the New 52 heroes, “The Multiversity,” and somehow tease “The Darkseid War” at the same time, and does none of it especially gracefully. Oh wait, there is the Lobdell we all know and loathe!

    Final Verdict: 7.8 – The strongest issue of this mini thus far.

    Convergence: Aquaman #2
    Written by Tony Bedard
    Illustrated by Cliff Richards
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    Unfortunately, Bedard and Richard’s close to the “Convergence: Aquaman” doesn’t leave me with much to say that I didn’t already say in my review of the first issue. The conclusion suffers the same problems that were found in the first, primarily the stiff and flat art. Bedard plays Deathblow’s attack on Aquaman and his companions in an almost survival horror, Alien– esque fashion, at least in the very short time it takes for him to track his prey. The battle between these two warriors is about as bloody and vicious as one might expect. Bedard leans on the most well-worn weaknesses of Aquaman to provide dramatic tension, but the way he resolves the conflict is both thematically appropriate and downright disgusting. The finale is somewhat anti-climactic, directing readers to follow this hook-handed Aquaman into “Convergence” #7. While this mini-series wasn’t a total bust, perhaps the main “Convergence” series will provide a more definitive send off for arguably the most popular incarnation of the King of the Seven Seas.

    Final Verdict: 6.0 – On a scale of the best and worst “Convergence” titles, “Aquaman,” doesn’t veer far from the median.

    Convergence: Batman: Shadow of the Bat #2
    Written by Larry Hama
    Illustrated by Rick Leonardi
    Reviewed by Vince J Ostrowski

    “Shadow of the Bat” was perhaps the most successful of the “Convergence” tie-ins this week in replicating what the books last week did so well. Batman and Azrael teamed up against the sewer-rat Wetworks team. It’s no surprise that this plays to Larry Hama’s strengths, considering that Batman might as well be taking on a squad of “G.I. Joe” villains. He also continues to mold the bond between Azrael and Bruce on their way to trying to save not just their own city, but both cities involved in the “Convergence” event. That’s another strength of the issue: Batman never loses sight of the ultimate goal – saving everyone and not just his own. This plays into Azrael’s values, as well, and makes for an ending that – unlike other titles this week, is satisfying and sets a strong tone, but leaves room open for something to come after. Hama rounds off his own story, sends our heroes out of this book and off to stop “Convergence”, and leaves this version of Gotham City to ether again. Rick Leonardi fairs much better here than he did on “Batgirl”, turning out a much smoother, more well-defined product here. Perhaps it’s the era he’s drawing from, or the fact that he seems more suited to drawing the older Batman characters than the youths. Whatever the case, “Shadow of the Bat” was the Leonardi that I remember enjoying in bat family stories past.

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    Final Verdict: 7.5 – A solid story, told by a true comic scripting professional, with an ending that does all of the characters justice.

    Convergence: Catwoman #2
    Written by Justin Gray
    Illustrated by Ron Randall
    Reviewed by Vince J Ostrowski

    Catwoman takes a back seat to “Kingdom Come” Batman in her own title, which is a little strange. Perhaps this is a nod to a bygone era where Catwoman wasn’t as integral to Gotham City and wasn’t the fresh and empowered character that we know she would become later. Whatever the case, she spends the issue tussling with Batman and trying to win him over (destiny, or something like that) before ultimately taking a bullet for him and leaving the dirty work up to him. I don’t want to use the word “fridging”, but it definitely felt like a weird story choice to sacrifice Catwoman so that the aged Batman could attempt to save the day on his own. As a Catwoman fan, it felt kind of like a waste of her character, and a means to an end in achieving “closure.” As I alluded to in my “Shadow of the Bat” review, several books took this route this week, and the stories feel less inspired because of it – something I’ll speak more to in my closing statements on this column. Ron Randall turns in great work, just as he did last month. In fact, with the disappointing ending still leaving a bad taste in my mouth, his art was the clear highlight. Randall’s renditions of the classic costumes of our heroes are fun aspects of the book, and the ratcheting tension toward the end (as Batman gets his now trademark bare hairy chest exposed) is due in no small part to Randall’s ability to stage a fight sequence.

    Final Verdict: 4.0 – A disappointing ending to a character that we know has gone on to bigger and better things from here.

    Convergence: Green Arrow #2
    Written by Christy Marx
    Illustrated by Rags Morales
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    This issue is a rare instance in this crossover, where it is the intruding characters that make the issue worth reading. As established last month, Marx continues her DC career of being extraordinarily tone-deaf to the characters she is called on to write, but at least having the dueling parent/child combinations adds something we haven’t seen much of in this event: empathy.

    The kids, Olivia and Connor, don’t want to fight – they want to celebrate their half/multiversial siblings, and don’t see the point of fighting. In fact, no one here is really ready to take out their foes and – like so many other pairings this week – try to find alternatives to fighting. Here, however, the more cynical and cold “Kingdom Come” characters eventually get the upper hand, and move on from Metropolis.

    Rags Morales does as well as he can here, but this script remains stilted and has very little to work with. Morales deserves better than this, as do the characters in the story.

    Final Verdict: 5.7 – Better than part one of the mini, but not very good.

    Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #2
    Written by Tony Bedard
    Illustrated by Ron Wagner
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    “Green Lantern/Parallax” #2 is fun capes comic, with twists, turns, and great character beats. Bedard returns to an era of “Green Lantern” history that is greatly overshadowed by the bevy of multicolored corps that parades the DCU, focusing on the relationship between two beloved characters at iconic points in their careers. Wagner’s sketchy, frantic pencils are reminiscent of the house style that defined the DC animated universe comic adaptations. It’s a really a gorgeous book, not in a “Saga” or “Sandman: Overture,” kind of way, but in its ability to capture the child-like wonder inherent in super-heroics.

    All of this considered, this issue would have stood among my favorite tie-ins thus far. However, this book commits a cardinal sin among event tie-ins, the “non-ending.” The entire crux of the book’s climax takes place off panel, directing readers to the main “Convergence” series to discover just what became of Parallax. Kyle receives a small bit of resolution, but considering this mini-series is centered on the relationship between the two Lanterns, it feels disingenuous to essentially write one character out of the issue with only pages to go.

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    Final Verdict: 7.5 – A terrific showcase of fun super-hero comics, marred only by its disappointing finale.

    Convergence: Justice League International #2
    Written by Ron Marz
    Illustrated by Mike Manley
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    After a lackluster first issue, Marz and Manley take a dazzling turn in their second act. Capturing the spirit of the original, “Convergence: Justice League International” is fun, subversive, and heartwarming. The issue continues its focus on Ted Kord, or should I say, Ted Kords. The team up between Blue Beetles is a blast thanks to Marz’s witty scripting. The Beetles’ pacifistic attitudes are a nice contrast to the core underpinnings of “Convergence,” and the conflict resolution feels equally divergent. The finale, however, takes the cake as one of the most disparate moments of any “Convergence” title. Unsurprisingly, it’s also one of my favorites. For anyone who has ever bwa-ha-ha’d, this issue is for you.

    Final Verdict: 8.5 – An inspired and uniquely upbeat tie-in that deserves your attention

    Convergence: Suicide Squad #2
    Written by Frank Tieri
    Illustrated by Tom Mandrake
    Reviewed by Vince J Ostrowski

    I’m not sure whether it’s fitting or regrettable that “Convergence: Suicide Squad” becomes a double-triple-crossing bloody mess of a massacre by the end of it, but the end result is an action-packed affair that somehow ends up feeling increasingly hollow the more the carnage gets piled on. The “Convergence” event is essentially Suicide Squad vs. Kingdom Come Green Lantern in another battle of two sets of characters that have no business being in one another’s comic. Actually, this makes for a cool set-piece for the Suicide Squad to invade, but there’s nothing to tether the events of their story to whatever is going on with Green Lantern. Perhaps that’s why the bloody conclusion felt so hollow to me. The star of the show is Amanda Waller, who is naturally depicted in her classic physicality and personality (which is the more important of the two, if you ask me). Tieri writes Waller as the kind of person that legitimately could keep this group under her thumb (and there’s a fantastic comedic moment that highlights this). In the end though, this is another “Convergence – Week 2” story that means to bring its characters to a conclusion, and in an event where the stakes have nothing to do with the classic Suicide Squad as we know it, it doesn’t have the impact. It just comes off feeling a little cheap. Tom Mandrake continues his exceedingly loose artistic turn, finding the success with certain characters more than others. The way he depicts Waller adds to her personality and enhances my desire to get The Wall we know and love back into the DCU. A solid, if unconventional artistic turn.

    Final Verdict: 6.5 – “Convergence: Suicide Squad” seems like a perfectly fitting “ending” for these characters on paper, but the execution is too haphazard to be truly great.

    Convergence: Superboy #2
    Written by Fabian Nicieza
    Illustrated by Karl Moline
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    “Superboy” was one of my favorite books from last month, and while this issue slips a little bit off that pace, it still maintains a lot of the elements – mainly Karl Moline’s art – that made #1 so fun.

    My main issue with it actually comes from the final few panels of the book, where “Kingdom Come” Superman, essentially, says that anyone named Superman is instantly better than anyone not-named Superman. While that is a pretty “Kingdom Come” thing to say, it isn’t presented as a position that is inherently wrong or problematic, we are supposed to accept it. In fact, the whole issue is Nicieza saying that because older Superman is older, he is morally superior to Superboy. Again, this is a problematic stance to take.

    When the issue is free of moralizing youth, it is quite good. Superboy attempts to hurt Superman, but manages to hurt Lois Lane instead. That is the sole moment in the issue that felt appropriately judgmental of Superboy. A big part of that is Moline’s art, which does a great job at making the various characters recognize and appreciate the Metropolis relationships, even across the multiverse.

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    It is a shame that Nicieza chooses to forget that “Kingdom Come” was a cautionary tale, and instead treats it as if the characters are the ideal versions of the various incarnations. The Flash and Red Robin walk around like the lackey T.A. from Good Will Hunting, just telling people that they should listen to Superman because he’s Superman.

    That said, there are some nice moments in here that do feel true and earned, but a book called “Superboy” should seem to have the writer rooting against its titular character, should it?

    Final Verdict: 6.9 – A little less support for “Kingdom Come” and this would’ve been far more entertaining.

    Convergence: Supergirl: Matrix #2
    Written by Keith Giffen
    Illustrated by Timothy Green II
    Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson

    There are two kinds of people in this world: those that like Giffen’s Ambush Bug and those that don’t. I’m in former camp, and this review is reflective of this fact.

    Guys, AMBUSH BUG.

    Seriously, 10/10, would read again.

    Oh, you wanted legitimate critical insight into “Convergence: Supergirl: Matrix” #2?

    In this second issue, Giffen and Green II offer an irreverent romp through various cities, with Ambush Bug as tour guide. Along for the ride are the titular Supergirl and Lady Quark, who essentially become straight women for Bug’s fourth-wall breaking shenanigans. This can easily be off-putting for Supergirl fans, for the character to be relegated to second fiddle in her own book. Supergirl does get some resolution to her arc, particular her conflicted resolution with her lion-maned Luthor, albeit in a thoroughly cartoon style. Ultimately, this issue is the comic book equivalent of Looney Tunes, and in a time when most readers are begging DC to lighten up and have fun, that’s a welcome change.

    Final Verdict: 8.0 – While far from a definitive Supergirl story, Giffen and Green’s stealth Ambush Bug vehicle is an enjoyably humorous jaunt through the DCU

    Convergence: Superman: Man of Steel #2
    Written by Louise Simonson
    Illustrated by June Brigman
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    This issue looks and feels the most of the time period of anything released this week. Brigman’s art steps through a time machine, coming out in 1993, with all the wonderful and regrettable parts of that era’s linework (although, to be fair, she does the time period great justice – but there is a reason that art has evolved in the past 20 years). Similarly, Simonson never lets go of the era’s Steel and his team, allowing the book to be as authentic as possible.

    It doesn’t hurt that the WildC.A.T.S. are as ‘93 as can be, and so the issue plays exactly into this event’s strengths, and the quality of the creative team means that it doesn’t fall short, either. Simonson takes a cast of characters that most modern readers have totally forgotten about and made them relevant and enjoyable. So many of the other books have tried to do similar things, but have failed for one reason or another.

    Ultimately, the book succeeds based on the conviction of the creative team more than the story itself, which is pretty standard for “Convergence” fair. The issue also has none of the characterization issues, nor the short-sighted problems, of so many other tie-ins, so the book also succeeds because of the faults of others, which isn’t really fair, but is true.

    FInal Verdict: 8.2 – A fun trip down memory lane

    Brian’s Thoughts:

    This week was the most mixed bag of the event thus far, and featured some really fun stuff, and some absolute dreck. This week, the rules also appeared to be more in flux than ever before – does a win mean that you disappear, like Black Canary and Olivia Queen do, or, like WildC.A.T.S., do you sometimes just disappear because?

    This week also needed recap pages or, like last month, at least a reminder of what worlds were in play. Maybe because I’ve read every single tie-in I’m more easily confused, but it seems to me like this week it took me a few pages to get back in the swing of the story.

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    As usual, the moments that hit the best were the ones that felt earned, and hit on actual emotion: “Kingdom Come” Clark caring about “Zero Hour” Lois, the Booster/Beetle birthday party, Kyle Rayner’s embrace by the citizens of Metropolis. But overall, this week seemed less about leaving the characters in good places, for the inevitable next event/crossover, as it did about serving this temporary event. The other weeks all seemed to be more about celebrating the characters and era; this one seemed more about just moving along.

    Vince’s Thoughts:

    Last week, I praised the creative teams and their decision making. As far as the books I read goes, each story seemed to end on a nice little button, but left open the potential for all of the pre-Flashpoint characters to have something on the horizon someday. Nothing felt final. I wish I could say the same for the titles I read this week. I felt like week 2 was dominated by stories that more or less definitively “ended” the stories of so many of these characters – sometimes using cheap shock value to do so. “Convergence” is, for all intents and purposes, a series of elseworlds stories getting jammed together. I’ve no doubt that these tie-in issues won’t amount to the end-all, be-all of anything. Still, it’s disappointing to see some of the choices that were made this week, considering last week was such a solid showing of writers getting around the difficulties of telling their own story, navigating the event itself, and leaving hope for some intangible future. This week felt like the writers were just trying to cause some chaos, leaving fictional bodies in their wake. This week, more than any other, reminded me of the dreaded “Countdown: Arena” – a fear we expressed at the outset, but something the event thankfully did not stoop to.

    Killing off “Kingdom Come” characters doesn’t mean we’ll never see the “Kingdom Come” characters again, but that’s why the turn some of the tie-ins took this week was so disappointing. We know this won’t be the last time we ever see them – why treat it like it will be? Instead of the hope and heroism of last week, we got brutal fights to some weightless deaths that everyone will instantly move on from. On paper, the ability to do whatever you want with an event that sits outside of the main continuity is alluring, but so often the creative choice made is “let’s kill this character that we won’t see for another 5-10 years.” The “Pre-Flashpoint” titles I reviewed last week made some memorable moments without having to be shocking. I’ll remember Tim and Stephanie’s final scene in “Convergence: Batgirl” long after I’ve forgotten that one of the old versions of Catwoman died taking a bullet for Kingdom Come Bruce Wayne, of all people.

    Zach’s Thoughts:

    How on earths did “Convergence” get so fun all of a sudden?

    “Convergence” proper finally sheds its icky “World’s End” sequel status, going into full on “Crisis” mode in the best way. King delivers some fantastic story beats, particularly between the pre-New 52 Superman and Earth-2 Dick Grayson. Grayson, the de facto lead of “Convergence,” begins to come into his own a bit more, although I still don’t know how the suit that Telos gave him suddenly sprouted a bat logo. Speaking of Telos, he is officially been usurped by Deimos as the true villain of this piece. Like Telos before him, Deimos is fairly one dimensional, but I suppose his multidimensional cohorts make up for that (insert cymbal rimshot).

    King smartly incorporates the New 52 universe heroes into the story, adding a layer of immediacy and importance to the proceedings. I’m extremely impressed that he waited this long to tie “Convergence” into the main DCU, but in doing so he makes the connection even more powerful. There are definitely a few moments that arouse the cynic in me, such as the unnecessary and bizarre ties to “The Multiversity” and “Darkseid War,” along with some truly bizarre cast choices (characters from “The Hunted”? Really?). However, I think this will go down as the week that really cemented my enjoyment of the series and I sincerely cannot wait for the next two issues.

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    On the tie-in front, I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed some of these issues. Several, such as “Supergirl” and “Justice League International,” left me smiling with the goofiest of grins. Granted, there were several books with problems such as the unfortunate “Catwoman” issue. However, as someone with very little ties to 90’s DC comics, this week left a strong impression on me.


    //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).

    EMAIL | ARTICLES

    Vince Ostrowski

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

    EMAIL | ARTICLES

    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.

    EMAIL | ARTICLES



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