Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Convergence #0

Convergence #0 came out this last week, the opening chapter of DC's spring 2 month block showcasing aspects of DC's prior histories and timelines.

Now there are a number of Convergence mini-series I will be collecting, revisiting times and characters who I miss. But I wasn't thinking of getting the main series. But I thought, at the very least,  I'd grab this zero issue hoping to get enough exposition to understand just what the heck is going on. After all, how did this planet with these domed cities come to be?

Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Ethan Van Sciver bring a very interesting and engaging opening chapter. There was enough here to make me think that I'll be picking up Convergence #1. Not only are there cities representing the multiple versions of the DCU but the 'villain' also shows up in all his forms. Really wonderful for an old-timer like me. Van Sciver has always been a favorite so I enjoyed this issue tremendously.

Readers might remember that at the end of Doomed #2, Superman and Brainiac end up being tossed into a black hole. And Brainiac, within that crushing space phenomenon, sees glimpses of prior timelines and versions of characters. Convergence #0 takes place after that issue.

On to the story ...

Superman awakens in this place 'between time and space' to be confronted by this massive Brainiac-like monster. And Superman is rightly confused. This creature says that he wants to test Superman, to kill him or be killed by him.

What's even weirder is that this things says that Superman killed Vril Dox, that Brainiac. I can't help but think he means it metaphorically. That Vril Dox is 'dead' because this creature, some amalgam of stuff, exists in his place.

But even weirder is that this creature talks about testing Superman for what seems like a prolonged period of time. And we see an image of other Supermans, all from other timelines, all dying ... whether it is by Doomsday, or Luthor in a famous imaginary tale, or Kal-L in Infinite Crisis.

And then this thing attaches Superman to some weird Kirby-esque torture device, trying to test Superman or kill him.

When Superman tries to escape with heat vision, this Brainiac says that Superman has tried that maneuver thirty-two times. Thirty-two times! This has been going on for a bit. Fascinating ...

And then we pull back to see the size of this thing, towering over Superman. And this thing is weird looking, almost like something thrown together with whatever bits could be found.

Informed that this Superman comes from a different Earth (the New 52 one), this Brainiac heads off. We subtly get a clue that Superman has been there for some time just from the stubble.

Weird ...

And then we get some meaty and beautiful exposition.

Finally Superman breaks free from the torture device and lands on a nearby planet where he meets ... Brainiac.

Well, it seems he meets all the Brainiacs and not Brainiac.

This creature seems to be a steward of sort, caring for this planet filled with cities from any number of universes. For example, there are multiple versions of Metropolis.

But for me, the joy was seeing all these Brainiacs ... from the guy in short shorts, the robotic version from the mid-80s, to Pulsar Stargrave (never really revealed as a Brainiac ...but I think hinted at).

But it is all Brainiacs. Here we have the Animated series Brainiac.

We learn more about what is going on. That huge Brainiac beast went to the New 52 Earth to capture a 'city' but he never returned. These care takers are a bit lost without their boss. What happened to that Brainiac?

And it makes me wonder ... what happened to that Brainiac? We have seen subsequent storylines after Doomed. There has been no mention of Brainiac attacking Earth. So what happened??

So there is a decent hook here. I want to learn more. And that is successful story-writing.

And then more exposition. This planet is somewhat malleable. The giant Brainiac came to this place and basically remade it for his purposes. It went from an Eden to something of a repository for these captured cities. And these 'butlers' are also wrenched from this material, created to watch over them, and to judge them.

Judge them?? This is getting interesting.

What seemed to be some lab for the huge Brainiac creature to learn about Superman has become something more like an arena.

And then we get my favorite panel of this book. Without the guidance of Brainiac, this caretaker doesn't understand his purpose. Who is he?

Look at all the Brainiacs there have been.

Love it.

Taking a peek around this place, Superman sees that this planet is dotted with all these cities from other timelines and universes.

Superman is angered by this as it now seems more like a prison. The people in these cities are alive ... trapped.

But it is clear that Superman has no home here. There is no city from his world. And then, reminded that Brainiac was heading to his Earth, Superman takes off/is sent away.

And then we get the actual beginning of the Convergence event. The 'Brainiac' butler reforms himself into a new image, his own image. And he decides to make his own purpose. Instead of just watching these cities, he will pit one against the other, seeing which is worthy of being returned to proper time and space.

When the story ends, we have several pages devoted to defining which cities and histories exist on this world. In that way it is akin to Multiversity. But it also strikes me as simply a fun sort of side event.

I didn't expect to like this issue quite this much. And yet, I turned the pages with some sense of glee. There was a little feeling of nostalgia here. Like any good opening issue to a big miniseries, there were hooks here to keep me interested, wanting more. For a long time reader, there is the promise of seeing older characters again. And it is visually beautiful. I felt like a young reader again ... and that is always a good sign.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Brainiac went to the the Futures End time period (why not current day New 52 DC as we know it is a mystery) to try and bottle New York City. He's defeated there however by that Superman and shrunk and captured by Ray Palmer. That's why he never returned to Telos.

Anj said...

Thanks! Valuable info!

Jay said...

No problem! That was me by the way, forgot to add my name, haha.

Anj said...

Thanks Jay!