Welcome to Convergence Week 2. If you read my coverage of week 1 of Convergence you saw that my Pre-Flashpoint DCU knowledge was nothing impressive. Thanks to Tom Kelly for filling in some knowledge gaps and for an extensive comment on the Extremists of Angor.
Hopefully this week is a little more in my wheel house as the main combantants are Metroplis from the pre-Zero Hour universe and the world of Kingdom Come. It’s been awhile but I have read Kingdom Come, and pre-Zero Hour would be right around the time I was actually collecting some DC books with the Death of Superman and Knightfall. One of the side universes in the spotlight this week is the San Diego of Jim Lee’s Wildstorm universe, from which I read a handful of books back in it’s Image Comics days. So things are looking up, time will tell.
Read on for spoilers after break for Convergence #2, Batman Shadow Of The Bat #1, Supergirl Matrix #1, Green Lantern/Parallax #1, and Superboy #1.
As an aside, I understand the different DC timelines being represented on Telos. As one ends another begins. They don’t live on side by side. But the whole concept of the multiverse brings into question why something like Kingdom Come is included here? For that matter, most of the inhabitants of Telos outside of the main DCU timelines are from Earths that still exist in the multiverse. Other examples are the Tangent universe and our ill-fated friends the Justice Riders. Is Convergence saying that these world’s no longer exist in the current multiverse? Somebody better tell
Grant Morrison. (I suppose it could be the Kingdom Come world from the pre-Flashpoint multiverse that was “destroyed and replaced” with a new version in the New 52 multiverse, even though they are identical, or some other jibber jabber.)
I found this a frustrating issue to read. I’ll get to that shortly.
Issue #1 has set the stage for this event with the domes dropping and the cities being pitted against each other. This core issue again focuses on the Earth-2 refugees and their battle for freedom against Telos. When they manage to defeat him (or more acurately, he “gives up” because they aren’t worth his time) they split up and attempt to recruit help from the neighboring cities.
That’s the short version. Here’s the frustrating version…
The issue opens with a retelling of Dick Grayson and his son trying to get on the spacecrafts to evacuate the planet which occurred in Earth 2: World’s End #24. There’s nothing particularly wrong with doing that as I’m sure there will be many readers who have not read World’s End, the problem I had was that the events were completely different. In this version Grayson and his son are alone, while previously they had a companion named Ted. Here we have Grayson trying to use his dead wife’s (Barbara Gordon) police credentials to gain passage to the ship, which isn’t mentioned in the original. In both versions they are denied passage (but for different reasons). Only in the Convergence version do police begin shooting people and all hell breaks loose. In Convergence a woman runs to the gate and pleads with Grayson to give her his son to bring onboard and she will care for him. In World’s End, Grayson approaches two woman who just happen to be walking by and asks them to take his son on board. What we know in that version is that the woman is actually a hiding and escaping Big Barda and she is accompanied by fallen Apokalips fury K’Li. Grayson even asks Barda her name and she tells him. None of this is seen or implied in Convergence.
The spirit of the events is there, but it just bugged me that they didn’t seem to make any attempt to stick to existing continuity. A continuity that was established only a month prior.
Immediately after that the scene shifts to the present and Telos has the Earth-2 heroes trapped and is calming laying out his plans to them. He is excited about Brainiac’s newest acquisition, the Brother Eye dominated world of Future’s End. The first thought is, “but doesn’t that timeline still exist? Isn’t the new Batman Beyond book coming out after Convergence set there?” Yes, that is correct. But, the original future timeline of Future’s End was destroyed by new Batman Beyond Tim Drake, so it’s possible that Brainiac grabbed that version of Earth as it blinked out of existence. The problem is, the last time we saw Brainiac-Prime, he had been captured and detained just the issue before. Did Brainiac escape off panel within hours and manage to steal the city just as Tim destroyed the timeline? Possible I suppose.
And now that I think about it, Brainiac attempting to collect the city in Future’s End is a HUGE ordeal. It takes him forever to get everything set up, activate the dome, raise the city from the surface, attempt to fly away, etc. And it was only the combined might of all the heroes (and mainly Superman) that he did not succeed. All the other cities on Telos seemed to be easily captured with no warning or resistance. Perhaps swooping in and saving a city at the destruction of a timeline is much easier. There is also the possibility that I am misunderstanding how all these things tie together, but in either case, issue’s #0 and #1 of this series on it’s own contradict each other.
By the way, Telos sicks the killer Brother Eye cyborgs from Futures End on the city housing the characters of the “Stan Lee Presents…” universe. The Brother Eyes annihilate them in about three minutes. Read into that what you will.
Getting back to the issue itself, as teased by the cover, we have a meeting of the Bruce Wayne Batman and the Thomas Wayne Batman. Man, this is going to be awesome right? Nope. Guess what happens. Nothing. They meet in Wayne Manor, remove their masks and scowl at each other. That is it. There is a voice over from Dick Grayson (who is narrating from some time in the future for some reason) that let’s us know that he knows what was said between the two Batmen and the eventual outcome was a disaster. So I guess we’ll learn more about this later? Or it will be completely ignored and never mentioned again.
The meeting of the Batmen was frustrating because it was so disappointing. The other frustrating aspect was that on the cover and when the Batmen first meet, Bruce’s suit sports the familiar yellow oval with Bat symbol. On the following page after they have talked and Bruce lends Thomas and Dick the keys to the Batmobile, the entire sequence is drawn with Bruce’s suit now having just the large sprawling black bat on the front with no yellow oval. Weird. But maybe Bruce changed off panel and before they came down to the Batcave? But no, next page is a full splash of a sad Batman watching his “father” leave and sure enough…suit has yellow oval with black bat in it. Grrrr.
The issue ends with the Earth-2 heroes rescuing some dude named Deimos that Tom Kelly probably knows, but I do not. He claims he can get them all off the planet and that their arrival was foretold by “the greatest of seers”, because, you know there has to be a prophecy of some kind to fulfill.
Convergence Batman Shadow Of The Bat #1
Convenience Convergence continues as this issue opens with the pre-Zero Hour Bruce Wayne being tortured in Metropolis by a villain known as Tobias Whale, who just seems like a total rip-off of Marvel’s Kingpin. It’s been a year under the dome and Bruce is “undercover” trying to worm his way into the Metropolis Crime Organizations to bring them down from the inside. The Whale doesn’t trust Wayne and he has a new recruit that he leaves to beat the truth out of him. One Jean Paul Valley. Current Azrael. Former Batman fill in.
When they are alone, Jean Paul says Bruce shouldn’t be there and should be taking it easy until his back completely heals. Which lead me to refresh my memory about the timing of Bane’s breaking of the Bat and Zero Hour. And it does work pretty seamlessly. In fact, the last issues of KnightsEnd take place the month before the Zero Hour tie-ins start and then followed by the finale of Zero Hour itself. And does it make sense that a year later Bruce would still be recovering? Well, this is comic books, but probably. Even the first post-Zero Hour story featured Dick Grayson’s first go round as Batman as Bruce took some time off to heal and catch up on the X-Files. I’m guessing broken backs can take a long time to recover from.
Jean Paul and Bruce agree to team up and take The Whale down. Bruce slips into something a little more comfortable and Jean Paul slips into his old Bat suit. It’s a little surprising that Jean Paul has his version of the Batsuit just kicking around with him in Metropolis. It has been a year, maybe he built a new one? But wouldn’t he have moved on and returned to a more Azreal type of suit? Also, at the conclusion of KnightsEnd, Jean Paul’s Batsuit had morphed into a more red, almost winged version that was even more similar to his Azreal garb. Not the one seen here. In either case, I’m sure Bruce would have confiscated all this stuff when he let Jean Paul go and returned as Batman.
An extensive fight scene on top of some transport trucks follows, with Azreal killing everything in sight. Batman is not impressed and let’s Azreal know it. Azreal responds with something to the effect of “You’re not my dad!”
And then things get especially confusing when the dome drops and Whilce Portacio’s Wetworks show up. Remember them?
Convergence Supergirl Matrix #1
This is my least favorite of the Convergence books I’ve read so far. I was infuriated at long flowing red haired Luthor’s emotional and verbal abuse of Matrix. And Matrix’s spoiled brat/submissive routine got old real fast. And I’ve never heard of this issues “villians” from Electropolis, Lady Quark and Lord Volt, but their constant bickering and ineptitude was incredibly annoying. All this and Ambush Bug shows up at the end.
For fans of writer Keith Giffen, maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did. It is littered throughout with (attempts at) humor. I haven’t read his work on Ambush Bug or (geek blindspot) Justice League International to comment on how this stacks up against them.
The only worthwhile thing that seemed to come out of this issue to me, is that Luthor knows that when the dome first appeared, Metroplois was transported off Earth. It almost seems like an editorial oversight, as everything else I’ve read says matter of factly that no one in these domed cities seem to know what has happened outside of the domes. Unaware they have been transported to Telos. Yet Luthor knows, and just happens to have a device that can track down the source of the technology that transported them there.
Convergence Green Lantern/Parallax #1
I was going to put a rant here about how it made absolutely no sense that Parallax/Hal Jordan would have been in Metropolis, captured and brought to Telos. If Brainiac is swooping in and grabbing these cities instants before they blink out of existence, I think Parallax was a little busy causing the entire Zero Hour event to be in Metropolis. And for that matter, it made no sense for most anyone to be there since they were all off fighting Parallax. And even if that did make sense, Superman was with them at Zero Hour, and one of the main themes of the pre-Zero Hour books is that Superman was not collected. But, I had to let it go, because there are a lot of things with this event that make no sense and I need to move on.
As usual we open after a year under the dome. A depowered Kyle Rayner visits a depowered Hal Jordan at a Metropolis prison. Hal hasn’t been arrested, but has self imprisoned himself for his crimes as Parallax. Kyle visits Hal every day to try to convince him to leave. Using the logic that it wasn’t Hal Jordan that committed those crimes, but Parallax. The power from all the Green Lantern rings he had taken had changed him inside, into someone else. (Keep in mind, this is before the Geoff Johns retro-fit that Parallax is an evil yellow fear entity that possessed Hal and made him do bad things.) Once again Kyle fails and leaves a depressed Hal to rot in his cell.
That is until about two minutes later when the dome drops and Parallax is able to take control again, easily escaping from prison. Since there are no stars in the sky, Parallax cannot tell where in the universe they are. So he flys off towards Electropolis in search of astronomical equipment…or just to start annihilating people.
Kyle also has his Green Lantern powers back and he attempts to stop Parallax. Before he can, they are both attacked by Princess Fern. Kyle is knocked out, but Parallax makes quick work of her and her army. He then heads over to Electropolis with a chip on his shoulder and a hankering for some death and destruction.
Convergence Superboy #1
Now we’re talking Week 2! Finally!
Cadmus Labs is running some tests on the pre-Zero Hour, “I showed up during the Reign of Supermen storyline”, Superboy (Kon-El). Like the others under the dome, he is powerless. They are blasting him with solar radiation to try to restore his powers. They make the observation that his body is absorbing the rays as usual, he just can’t access the power.
Kon decides to go for a walk and ends up in front of the statue that was resurrected in honor of Superman when he died battling Doomsday. While there, the dome comes down and Superboy’s powers return. Luckily (like Superman over in Superman #1) he just happens to have his full Superboy garb on underneath his clothes.
As Kon flies through the city he notices the Flash running past. Well, it looks like the Flash and moves like the Flash, but with a winged bowl on his head. Superboy follows him to a deserted Hell’s Gate Island and realizes too late it is a trap. He is attacked by the Dick Grayson Red Robin and Wally West Flash of the Kingdom Come universe. (They really didn’t waste any time getting there after the dome came down.)
The battle goes back and forth and Superboy is getting the upper hand…until a line is literally drawn in the sand by the heat vision of Kingdom Come Superman.
Superman: Young man, if you want to save two versions of Metropolis, you must surrender without a fight. I know that is a hard choice to make, but it’s one I would make without a second’s hesitation. The question then, is are you Superman or just a child pretending to the mantle?
Superboy: Let’s find out…
I’m a bit behind, but hopefully will get part two to you before Week Three begins.