Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Convergence #8

Convergence as an event initially sounded like a two month layover, a way to allow DC to continue to publish comics while the company moved coasts, leaving New York and heading to California.

Somewhere along the way, it became something more. It became another universe redefining event, a way for DC to reset things, a mere 3 years removed from the New 52 upheaval. I have certainly had my issues with the company's approach to their characters in the New 52 DCU but soft rebooting that hard reboot has something of a whiff of desperation.

But I can't have it both ways as a fan, can I? I can't sit back and complain about the New 52 and then complain when DC tries to reshape things away from that harsh new continuity.

And so we get Convergence #8, a book which gives DC readers back a multiverse (which I thought we might already have), folding in some of the Multiversity Earths as being legitimately in canon. But I don't necessarily know if I feel like anything is necessarily different. And I don't know if I 100% understand what happened here. And I wonder of Scott Lobdell had the audacity to rewrite the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the granddaddy of all crossover events and really the gold standard of these sort of books. I know Crisis. I am friends with Crisis. And Convergence, you are no Crisis.

Writers Jeff King and Scott Lobdell do their best to explain things here. Things in the DCU are very different at the end. But I also feel like the first 7 issues were just biding time. Many of the plots and subplots of this series aren't crucial to this ending.

Art is done by a whole stable of artists (Stephen Segovia, Carlo Pagulayan, Eddie Pansica, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Paz, Scott Hanna, and Trevor Scott). I guess it is too much to ask that a universe-redefining issue gets done by one artist?

Last issue, we had a great moment where Parallax incinerates Deimos, an evil sorceror from the Warlord series who was hoping to rule the universe.

Unfortunately, all the time-traveling chronal energy Deimos had absorbed is now being taken into the Convergence planet, making it unstable.

And since the Convergence planet exists outside the space/time continuum of the multiverse, this planetary destruction will destroy everything.

Now I suppose that since there are cities from all continuities on this planet, it has a sort of finger into all those realities. So maybe this makes sense?

Telos, who name drops both Zero Hour and Countdown, knows that the temporal energy needs to be absorbed by something other than the planet itself.

Initially there is hope that Booster Gold and Waverider could take it in. But it is too much for them to do alone. In fact, the only one who can take it all in is Brainiac.

Brainiac, the villain who started all this, who has imprisoned these people, has suddenly become a needed ally.

We finally learn a bit about this version of Brainiac.

When he survived the Flashpoint event, he went beyond the Source, existing outside reality, and witnessing everything. He saw the Crisis and multiple versions of himself, us reading comics, Infinity Crisis, Countdown, and even the birth of the New 52.

In a moment of clarity, he asks for help, hoping to return to his original form and not this 'cancerous' monster warped by all the continuity-changing events he has witnessed.

So Brainiac living outside time and witnessing all these events is an interesting concept. He is, in essence, the stand-in for long time readers who also have lived through all these reboots and has come out angry and deformed. Maybe Brainiac begging to return to somewhere else, somewhen else is Lobdell and King acknowledging the fans?

Remember all the maneuvering of the New 52 heroes outside the Convergence planet the last 2 weeks? Well that also seems completely superfluous. Because once the planet manifests itself in the Earth 0 universe and nears destruction, those characters all turn tail and run, returning home to 'say goodbye'. Only Superman and Supergirl stay behind to watch.

You would think that Superman and Supergirl being there together, holding hands and hoping, would be a good moment. But for me, this was a horrible moment.

First off, how terrible is it that with the universe, heck all reality, about to be snuffed out, the heroes of the New 52 left. Did they really exhaust all their options? Did they try to save everyone? Nope. They left to say goodbye to their loved ones. I would think the heroes would be trying anything to save everyone.

Brainiac absorbs the temporal energy and promises to return the occupants of the cities to whatever universe they desire.

His plan goes awry when the 'First Crisis' is too strong to send everyone back. If that crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, is not 'changed' the DCU will become a universe again, rather than a multiverse as where all can exist.

Brainiac sends Supergirl and the Flash back to that Crisis to meet their fates. But then, oddly, Parallax and the Pre-Flashpoint Superman (with Lois and his newborn son in tow) also head there to try to help.

Of course, this Flash and Supergirl are heroes willing to sacrifice themselves to save everyone. But their mission isn't to save the universe. Their mission is to prevent the collapse of the multiverse.

I don't know how to read this. Are they trying to change the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths? Stop the creation of a Universe? Altering that story?

Or is it that they simply  need to relive the ending of the Crisis, create a universe, so that all the subsequent event comics can unfold as they did?

I am sooooo confused.

Because if the Crisis ended differently, did Supergirl live? Is Superman/Lois/Baby Jon out there somewhere? Inside Alex Luthor in Paradise (we know how that goes)?

And who would dare to try to change that book? 

And then we get to see that they were 'successful'. There is now a multiverse.

We see multiple Earths again.

But you see how behind each Earth is a 'shadow' of characters. The pre-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint trinity are behind the New 52 characters. We see worlds from the Multiverse sourcebook.

And we hear that each world has evolved.

We don't get an old school Earth 2, we get the New 52 Earth 2. We don't get the pre-Crisis heroes, we get the 'evolved' New 52.

So do we have all the continuities in play? Or not?

Meanwhile, the Convergence planet survives, is reinvigorated by Alan Scott, and becomes the new Earth 2.

Why is Dick Grayson so important? Unknown.
What is Telos' real name and why was that crucial? Unknown.

Is there really anything that different about this DCU now than there was before this? Didn't Multiversity give us these worlds anyways?

And is what about Crisis on Infinite Earths? Undone? Changed? Redone? If it is changed, I have a doozy of a Supergirl prediction.

As for Convergence, it is no Crisis. It is just another event on the pile.

Overall grade: C+


Dr. Thinker said...

According to one of DC Comics writer, the multiverse is Infinite again!

Martin Gray said...

Indeed, it's confusion on infinite earths. The book seems pretty clear that the original earths evolved into the New 52 stuff, then you read an interview with Jeff King at Newsarama pretty much saying that all the original Earths are around too ... once again, DC seems unclear about the aftermath of an event. Why don't they, just once, sit down for an extra day or two and chart out the consequences. Who lives, who dies?

Now. About this Supergirl theory of yours. Do you think that in the autumn a TV-ish Kara will pop up? I really want to see the continuation of the current Supergirl before then - an interim story, flashback if necessary, telling us what happened with Silver Banshee and Blaze, what was up with Kara's power loss and so on.

AndNowInStereo said...

I'm glad I didn't try to read this. It doesn't sound like it made any sense even within its own internal logic. Also it doesn't seem to have had any theme or meaning behind it either. A 9-issue story should really have a point to its existence beyond simply rearranging the pieces on the board or filling time, and this seems to have been mostly filling time. What a rip-off. I knew as soon as I found out Lobdell was involved that I'd be wasting my money if I bought this. DC should never have given it to King, a newcomer to comics writing, and Lobdell, a man who is a terrible plotter, poor storyteller and has seemingly little knowledge of the continuity of the characters he is handling.

AndNowInStereo said...

P.S. If New52 Kara disappears I will be angry about it. She is the version of the character I have spent two years getting to know and I don't want her replaced, rebooted or otherwise. She is 'my' Supergirl and the fact that I like the TV version isn't going to change that. Kara is a highly versatile character, she can be used in a lot of contexts, light, dark, funny, sad, fluffy or gritty that she doesn't need to be messed with by any grand cosmic deus ex machina to be used in a different context. The multiple conflicting origin stories over the years are far more of a burden to introducing new audiences to her than the specific circumstances of any one of them are on their own. The New52 character works. Leave her be.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the early comments.

1) I don't want the Crisis death to go away for Supergirl as that is a major legacy point for the character and marks her as willing to do everything it takes to do what's right.

2) I don't want the New 52 Supergirl to disappear either, especially as she finally is the sort of character I want to read.

3) Only Scott Lobdell would dare to rewrite the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the equivalent of me painting a bigger smile on the Mona Lisa.

4) My Supergirl theory will be posted early next week!

Doug said...

It is, indeed, an event on the pile. I tried to explain this to my lovely, non-comics-reading wife, and the best I could come up with is DC said, "Well, here's everything. We didn't change it all, unless we did, but the old stories are still there. Unless you didn't like them." Then I decided no, that's not it at all. DC simply shrugged and took a pass. Wallets lived and finances died. Dedicated readers shelled out close to $50 for a non-answer and a non-event.

Anonymous said...

What was that comment from Supergirl's history? Comics, Everyone!

That being said, what does TPTB at DC have in mind now? And that seems to be the million dollar question.

While I'd love it if DC continued with the New 52 issue #40 version of Supergirl after all this -- and I heartily 2nd that this is FINALLY
the comics version I love and want to read -- something tells me some sales drone in head office is saying "you can't do that!!" And with
the TV series about to start in October / November, that makes another arguement for DC not continuing with her -- methinks DC may just
drag this on and do a miniseries / short run of "what happened between X and Y" for the 1st ep of the TV Series.


Anonymous said...

This seems to be DC singing "Everything Is Awesome" in a loud off key voice...quite literally telling the readership "Everything is in Play except where otherwise Prohibited". In practice I think it means more latitude for writers but then again that could mean a spate of nonviable books "Brother Power The Geek v. 2.0" etc.
And that in turn is a huge confusion generator, but then DC lives by confusion at this point.
As for me I suppose It Is Too Much To Ask that somewhere there is a universe where the Bronze Age Kara survives the Crisis and goes on to Be The Heroine Supreme She Was Meant to Be....because overcoming death itself is in important part of that narrative in comic book terms.
My own Supergirl theory is that DC is clearly hoping for a "Kara Breakthrough" this fall, (I give them good odds on this) at which point the "New Supergirl" will pretty much be as closely aligned to the TV property as common decency will allow. Is is an abandonment of N 52 SG hell yes...but the dark hallmark of the character is that plotlines & continuities get dropped at a moment's notice. I mean literally she is still suffering from on-off super-powers, Dick Malverne wants back into her life, she is wandering around as a ghost and is thinking about going to college .... I mean why stop now with the contradictions and unanswered questions?


Anonymous said...

From what I've read and heard, Pre-Crisis Kara never died as a result of the Crisis not happening. While that puts a big damper on her legacy, it does mean that she didn't suffer. If Flashpoint wouldn't have happened, she may still be the Supergirl we would be reading about. However, it also seems that every era's Supergirl, Batman, and so on have an earth, just like how they appeared during Convergence - then again Giffen made it clear Convergence was a final farewell to Matrix (justice for Kara, in my eyes). However, DiDio has stated that with the events of Convergence with their new motto of "Story trumps continuity", "all of these characters are open for writers to use." So, in theory, if there was enough demand, or rather, an editor allowed a writer to do so, we could have a one shot, mini or ongoing featuring the original Kara Zor-El.
What I think is confusing then is why show only Morrison's dictated earths and show more classic ones as well. In addition, I don't understand why Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl is considered the home of the gender bent earth, when there was clearly a make Flash, Wonder Woman, and so on shown in that book, and Kara and Barbara were not that world's version of Kal and Bruce, though Batgirl's origin was essentially Batman. The gender bent earth was first seen in Superman/ Batman where it seemed a magical creation of Joker but was actually seen in Countdown. Of course, this is DC, who after 30 years still can't create a cohesive multiverse/ universe. While I'm happy in the sense Convergence has opened up the original multiverse and allowed Kara to live, it leaves me upset that the New 52 is still given to us as if it's the better universe, perhaps even more grimdark, with Superman's Girl Friend Wonder Woman, still the ambassador of war. Earth-2 may have some more hopeful stories, with Grayson most likely becoming the new Batman, and Power Girl continues to wear the S-Shield but I won't be surprised if the fine is still dark as the heroes have help the survivors deal with the aftermath of their own world dying.
As my brother suggested, it would have been nice if they revealed at the end that a quarterly or once a year comic was made, 100 pages maybe, with stories featuring Pre-Flashpoint/ Pre-Crisis characters and/ or characters around the multiverse. Something to show that DC isn't all talk.
Still, if DC is trying to reach out to Supergirl fans by undoing Kara's death, which happened but didn't happen, then I'm happy. While I'll still miss her, it feels good to know that she lived/ lives.
By the way, the 52 heroes abandoning the other heroes, to me, shows how much they're lacking compared to the incarnations before them. But, maybe with writers acknowledging the heroism of those before will eventually write their characters as well as those before them. One last thing, how cool is it that we've had Pre-Crisis Kara featured in stories and covers of today's comics, not to mention Barry, and we have versions of them on TV!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Regarding the new multiverse, those familiar with the Multivrsity Guidebook should note that we do see Earths change, but all are reflected in the guidebook. Look at Earth-17 (the Atomic Knights). It was changed considerably. As was whatever Earth Bruce Wayne became Green Lantern, as Morrison added all those other heroes. So I still see 52 Earths, not an infinite number.

Aside from Earth-0 being nu52 and Earth 2 having been destroyed by Darkseid, we see the old version of Earth-3's Crime Syndicate become the more violent nu52 version. And in its own weird way, the ending of (the horrible) Convergence seems to precede MULTIVERSITY. We saw that woman looking at the map of worlds, but metatextually, that map came out BEFORE the comic.

Myself, I accept that COIE ended the way it did in 1986, and Parallax poofed out of existence somehow, even though that would mean no Hal Jordan. Is the Superman Family the analogues for the old Earth-2 Superman and Lois and (maybe) an eventually grown up Superboy-Prime? S-P is referenced on the Multiversity map, and I have to wonder if there was editorial edict to have Morrison HAVE to keep Earth-15 as one destroyed by S-P.

That is a tough call, but easier to explain than Parallax being there. (Would Parallax be an analogue for Alex Luthor?) So...did ZERO HOUR happen? Without a Superman and Lois and S-P, INFINITE CRISIS wouldn't have happened, and probably the 52 weekly series that followed. It is like 2011 all over again, DC unsure of what happened (Batgirl being paralyzed) or what DIDN'T happen (did Superman die fighting Doomsday?)

Anonymous said...

According to the Earth 2: Society sneak preview, things are not going well:Huntress and Green Arrow attempt to remake the New Earth 2 into the old pre-World's End Earth-2 with some secret machine, while Power Girl and the other heroes are trying to stop them to save the survivors of the old Earth-2.

Anj said...

Thanks for continued great dialogue.

Everyone seems to have something of an idea of what happened although they all sound slightly different.

I suppose I should shrug and say 'comics everyone'.

I'll try to collect books I like.

I don't see why a Supergirl book has to be in lock step with the TV show as we didn't see that with Flash, Constantine, Gotham, etc.

Anyways ...

Anj said...

Oh one more thing ...

Making Helena Wayne a super-villain is just an awful idea.

So now I don't get my Helena Bertenelli Huntress. And I get a villain Helena Wayne Huntress.

Tough time to be a Huntress fan.

Jay said...

One one hand, cool to have a situation where it seems like everything's available for use. On the other hand...holy god was this a terrible story. It was completely nonsensical. In fact the explanations from the writers after the fact seem to contradict what's in the story in regards to what happened to the Multiverse. This was just all over the map. Maybe Morrison can coherently explain it in Multiversity if he gets the chance.

Anonymous said...

But, we will still give money to DC as we always have, and DC who have never learned to cohesively re-create anything will continue doing the same thing they have for the past 30 years, or longer if you include what they would be done to the original Golden Age fans, as well as Captain Marvel fans. Not to mention, Supergirl fans will think they'll finally have a series that wraps up nicely and might even get to issue #100. By the way, is anyone teading the Marvel equivalent of Crisis/ Convergence?

Landry Q Walker said...

"I guess it is too much to ask that a universe-redefining issue gets done by one artist?"

Nope! Might cause delays though. ;)

Anj said...

Nope! Might cause delays though. ;)

Some books are worth the wait!