Let the multiversal insanity begin. Spoilers after the break for Convergence #1, Batman and Robin #1, Nightwing Oracle #1, Batgirl #1 and Speed Force #1.
If you are not familiar with the characters and current events from Earth-2 of the now deceased (in name anyway) New 52 universe, you might feel a little lost. But that’s ok, I’m sure there will be a lot of that in this multiverse spanning event. I’ve been reading Earth-2 but I’m sure there will be many characters and universes I will have no idea where they came from, especially since it is all things DC and I’ve mostly been a Marvel Zombie growing up. My friend Cyborg Tom Kelly (CTK) will likely be more comfortable with this whole thing…but probably not reading it. 🙂
Not much happens in this issue as it is mostly set up for the main mini-series and event itself. It almost feels more zero issue than the actual zero issue. Moments ago the heroes of Earth-2 were fighting a losing battle against Darkseid and now suddenly find themselves on a strange barren world. New big bad Telos arrives and is very perplexed that they are their without their city. (Telos takes a Brainiac like human form, but is essentially
Battleworld the planet itself that the heroes now find themselves on. Since they have arrived without a city, Telos takes this as a sign of some prophecy or something that Brainiac said to watch out for. Telos reveals to the heroes that the planet houses cities from across the multiverse and proceeds to name drop almost every DC event over the last 30 years. Crisis, Kingdom Come, Flashpoint, Zero Hour.
The basis of the prophecy is that of all the cities that have been collected, only one can survive and be merged into the new post New 52 universe or something or other that is irrelevant and just an excuse to mash up all these events and timeline and reboots and dead universes together.
(Seriously, can this and Secret Wars be any more similar?)
The issue ends with Telos blaring “Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!” across the domed cities. And all this seems to completely ignore the end of issue zero where Telos has already started dropping the domes between cities because Brainiac has disappeared.
Convergence Batman And Robin #1
Welcome back Pre-Flashpoint DC Universe! Well, Gotham City at least. There’s not much to see here, but it is nice to see the old Batman and Damian Robin back in action against a collection of Batman’s rouge gallery. To be honest though, Batman was one of the least changed characters when the New 52 launched as DC didn’t want to piss off all the fans with all the monies that had been so invested in Batman for years. So seeing Batman and Damian back in action wasn’t all that different. Would have been nice to see Dick Grayson as Batman.
The Pre-Flashpoint Jason Todd shows up in his Red Hood persona and with freaky sidekick Scarlet in tow. This causes some tension between Bruce and Damian as Damian thinks Bruce cares more about former Robin Jason then his current flesh of my flesh Robin.
But they all most learn to get along as we get a retelling over several pages (filler anyone?) of Telos’s announcement that the Convergence has begun. It is interesting that the people of the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City are well aware that they are stuck in a dome (you can see it in the sky) and have been there for about a year.
Batman says he won’t be forced into combat against the heroes of the other cities. “We’ll find another way.” But before they have time to think The Extremists show up, ready for battle. I don’t know who these guys are (Tom Kelly, help!) but near as I can tell, they are also from the Pre-Flashpoint timeline.
Convergence Nightwing Oracle #1
More Pre-Flashpoint goodness..but first, a stop at the world of the Elseworld’s title Justice Riders. I don’t know anything about this either (Tom, are you sensing a pattern here?) but Wikipedia tells me:
The story involves the Justice League of America recast in assorted roles in the Wild West. Wonder Woman is a Marshal, Booster Gold is a Maverick-style gambler, Wally West is an outlaw, wrongly accused for the death of Barry Allen. Ted Kord is an inventor wearing a pair of antennae. Guy Gardner is a Pinkerton detective hunting Flash. Hawkman and Martian Manhunter also appear. There is also a cameo at the end by Clark Kent, as a dime novel writer.
Either way, don’t stress too much about it…Hawkman and Hawkwoman from the Flashpoint universe show up after the domes have been dropped and wipe everybody out.
(And doesn’t this sound an awful lot like the upcoming Secret Wars book 1872 that recasts Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the wild west?)
The story backs up a bit to pre-dome drop as we find the Nightwing-Oracle team taking down Mr. Freeze. It’s interesting that here, same as in Convergence: Batman and Robin 1, Freeze appears depressed and immediately surrenders. Living life under the dome is taking its toll on people. It’s a nice bit of character continuity. Too bad actual continuity doesn’t seem too much of a concern as Freeze’s appearances in both books seem to be concurrent, or within hours of each other. Did the GCPD just feel bad for him and let him go?
So the Nightwing-Oracle team are also the Dick Grayson-Barbara Gordon lovers. And moments before the dome drops Dick wants to make Babs: Barbara Grayson. She says no. Dick is sad. And nothing cheers you up from a proposal rejection like fighting a couple of Thanagarians!
Fresh from their thrashing of the Justice Riders city, the Hawk-people first attack our dynamic duo, but eventually call a truce to propose a deal. They’ll throw the contest and let Flashpoint Gotham be destroyed if Pre-Flashpoint Gotham grants them refuge. The only catch? They will rule Gotham and turn it into Thanagar. Nightwing and Oracle decline, but the Hawks fly away to give them
until issue 2 an hour to think about the offer.
Convergence Batgirl #1
I don’t know a lot about Stephanie Brown (Marvel Zombie, remember?). Her first appearance and trials and tribulations as Spoiler, Robin and Batgirl were during a time when my collecting of funny books was on the wane. (I’m a little more familiar with Cassandra Cain, but not much.) I know the basics, and the uproar from fans when she was stripped of being Batgirl (and of existing in general) in favor of the returning Barbara Gordon with the launch of the New 52. The most of Stephanie’s story I’ve read is in the recent Batman Eternal when DC finally bowed to peer pressure and returned Spoiler to the Bat mythos.
In a move sure to please her fans and puzzle readers of the actual storyline, Stephanie takes center stage as she is chosen as a champion to fight for the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham. In a city full of Bat-folks, if I was a Gothamite, I’d be pretty upset that our fate lies with a Batgirl that’s been retired for about a year since the dome went up.
As the dome drops and Stephanie is whisked away to fight after being out of retirement for about 10 minutes, Black Bat (Cassandra Cain) and Red Robin (Tim Drake) are along for the ride. They are trying to whip Stephanie back into shape, knowing she is rusty. But are the three of them enough to battle Catman and Gorilla Grood from the Flashpoint universe?
Convergence Speed Force #1
I won’t start this blurb with how little I know about Wally West. Outside of him taking over as the Flash from Barry Allen after Barry’s “death” in Crisis, his getting shoved aside unceremoniously when Barry returned for some reason 30 years later, Wally’s initial exclusion from the New 52 and subsequent appearance that completely changed the character at his core. Nope, not going to mention those things.
Instead, I’ll mention that it is a bit odd that only cities have survived these multiverses. I understand it from a storyline/Brainiac point of view. But it seems awfully convenient that at the time of the destruction of the Pre-Flashpoint universe, characters such as The Flash and Superman just happened to be in Gotham.
Another aspect of
Battleworl d Telos that is mentioned briefly in the Bat-books, but has little relevance to them, is that all super beings under the dome when it appeared, immediately lost their powers. It makes sense from a “why doesn’t Superman just fly up and SuperPunch the hell out of the dome and free everybody?” point of view.
So in this issue we find Watson fave Wally West conveniently stuck powerless in Gotham with this kids Iris and Jai. The citizens of Gotham are aware that Wally was the Flash and are taking bets on who has gone the craziest since the dome went up…him or The Atom. Wally is obsessed with escaping the dome to the point of losing all track of time and neglecting his kids. He’s approached Batman and the others that are stuck in Gotham, but they are more concerned with keeping the city safe than escaping.
Enter Telos’s message from Convergence #1. With the dropping of the dome Wally and his kids immediately reconnect with the Speed Force and get their powers back.
Flash’s first order of business? Go help out the world of the Justice Riders that are being attacked by Hawkman and Hawkwoman. I know, I said to forget about those guys, but don’t worry, they don’t even appear here as Flash is too late to save them. The whole sequence is a continuity nightmare. The attack on the Justice Riders is shown on the dome over Gotham before Telos drops it. But…if all the domes dropped at the same time, how can the attack already be happening and then over in minutes as the Flash super speeds his way over to help. Not to mention…on a planet full of cities that the Flash is completely unfamilar with (they didn’t even know they were’t on Earth anymore until the dome dropped) how is Flash able to make a beeline right to the Justice Riders city?
Having failed there, the Flash then sets out to explore all the other cities on Telos. (Hey Jenny and Tom, Phantom Lady has a cameo!) The Flash trio join up with (Tom will love this) Fastback from the Zoo Crew. A turtle with the power of the Speed Force, that is possibly faster than the Flash. Nice. They hatch a plan to find all the speedsters from all the cities and team up against Telos.
But any plans are put on hold when Flashpoint Wonder Woman shows up with her Amazonian army to destroy them. And if you’ve read Flashpoint, you know that this version of Diana is one bad mutha *shut yer mouth!* But I’m talking about Wonder Woman! Then we can dig it.