(Dan Jurgens/ Jeff King / Ethan Van Sciver / Marcelo Maiolo / Travis Lanham; DC Comics)
Jason Sacks: Is Convergence real or just a fever dream?
Yesterday I ate something that gave me food poisoning (near as I can figure, it was an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel, which makes no sense, really) and led to a painful and surreal day for me, with a spike in fever, chills and occasional blurriness of my thoughts and actions. So I was in a perfect mood to read this absurd, surreal story. In my mindset nothing much made sense: events tumbled one on top of the next without any real explanation of reason, but that made the comic better rather than worse for me. I was in the mood for something in which there were pretty pictures and superhero decadence, and I got that in spades. I loved it because whatever the faults of this comic, it gave me a flash of color and an occasional thrill, and that still makes me happy.
Jamil Scalese: I’m not a big fan of #0 issues, but in the case of a major crossover I guess they have some utility.
The more comics I buy the more I realize I’m a Marvel guy at heart. Of my superhero comic purchases at least three quarters are from the DC’s competition so I’m a tiny bit out of the loop as to the impetus and fiber of Convergence. I can’t say this #0 issue really squared things up for me but it had some decent ideas that will hopefully bloom in subsequent issues.
The story picks up right after Superman’s recent Doomsday crossover thingy that revealed Braniac has been keeping tabs on several long-thought defunct multiverses. Supes flies around this comic even more confused than the readers, running into alternate Braniacs who keep spouting off coded messages about cities, masters and threats. By the end it’s revealed that Braniac (which one I’m not sure) has captured cities from doomed universes for preservation and study and has been keeping outside of space and time. The subservient Braniacs of these worlds do some Voltron thing on the final page that sets off the events of the main series.
This issue tried to concurrently do a recap and set up new ideas but with an majorly uninformed protagonist and a sphinx-villain it’s not a great start to the crossover. I’m curious to see what a more vetted DC fan thought, though.
Kyle Garret: As a vetted DC fan, I thought it was a whole lot of nothing. Sure, Van Sciver’s art is nice to look at, but did we need an entire comic to set up these ideas? It felt so incredibly padded.
And this should be like crack to me. Seeing old versions of these characters should have me bouncing off the walls. But nothing is done with any of it. “You died a lot and here are some pictures of you dying a lot, Superman.” Um, okay. That’s great. What if maybe instead we see Superman suddenly wearing the old costume, suddenly fighting a very different Doomsday, totally confused by what’s happened? What if we actually make these images have a sense of place?
Not that such things can’t work. In fact, the first half of this book felt like an attempt at a Jim Starlin Marvel cosmic comic, but without the insanity or the deep, crazy ass philosophies.
And perhaps that’s what the problem was for me. It reads like they’re trying to turn Convergence into some kind of grand unified theory of the DCU when it just isn’t and, honestly, shouldn’t be. Let it be what it is: a glimpse into the fondly remembered past, a chance for us to see old friends again.
It’s also hard for me to take this current version of Superman as being as essential to the universe as Convergence #0 wants him to be. He hasn’t earned that yet, and he certainly doesn’t act like it.
Jamil: Well I mean he has his memory semi-wiped at the end too. That sound you hear are the wheels spinning.
I did feel like this was trying to ape Grant Morrison on some level. Jim Starlin is a good call too. The concept of Convergence is pretty damn simple, domed cities fighting for survival, but Jurgens and King added a lot of frivolous language to give it ceremony. The issue twisted itself in circles, and Clark seemed fairly incapable of dealing with whatever craziness the Brainiac avatar dudes were talking about. A little too heady for what I thought this would be. I agree with you on your main point, the event should be about nostalgic fun, not utility.
Ethan Van Sciver’s art is the reason to buy this, if anything. The five dollar cover price is a bold move, the material does not justify that at all so I’m wondering where the hell they got that price point from.
So, we pretty much agree this was a hollow effort by DC but I know we’re both going to indulge in the Convergence onslaught over the next two months. What are you most excited for, Kyle? The series isn’t really marketed for readers like me but the books on Shazam, Suicide Squad and the old school Crime Syndicate firmly have my attention.
Kyle: The Question, The Question, The Question! I can all but guarantee you that over the two issues from Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner, you will be hooked and will be forced to track down every appearance by Renee Montoya. It is easily the book I’m most excited about. It is my “if you only read one book this month” book.
I’d also recommend the Batgirl book. albeit with some reservations, as I’m not familiar with Alisa Kwitney’s work as a writer. But it features Stephanie Brown, the current DCU Spoiler, in a role made her extremely popular and made many people hate the New 52 from the start.
And while I’m not a huge fan of Ron Marz’s work, I am of Denys Cowan’s, and it looks like Batman and Robin will feature the unbelievable Dynamic Duo of Dick Grayson as Batman and Damien Wayne as Robin. That might sound insane to anyone who hasn’t read them, but trust me, the Grayson/Wayne combo is probably the second greatest Batman/Robin team in the history of comics. Seriously.
But at the very least you should get The Question book; it could actually make this whole ridiculous thing worth it!