Written by: Jeff King and Dan Jurgens
Art by: Ethan Van Sciver
I’m not sure how to start with this. Or even finish. I could go on a rant about the questionable revamp that is The New 52, how this comic hardly makes any kind of sense as a crossover, and whatever else. I understand that not everything can be looked at with low expectations, but given how DC has been doing in comics, especially with THIS, then I don’t know. There are good things in New 52, but there are plenty of bad things too. This was actually the first regular DC comic I’ve read since the Futures End one-shots of series I was subscribed to at the time because I stopped subscribing to DC after glancing at Lobo #1, with slim new 52 Lobo cutting off the head of the other Lobo who looks like the biker Lobo from the 90s, as if that wasn’t symbolic or metaphor enough for me as to how DC thinks of people who like pre-New 52 stuff over New 52, the fact that the writer of this series has never written a comic before, and a whole bunch of other problems with New 52. Booster Gold: Futures End did give me some hope for what could happen, and in the end I decided to pick this up along with #1 and #2, to see if it met my expectations, that being a “multiverse shenanigans” story which DC started off doing great with Crisis on Infinite Earths and got into a holding pattern with subsequent stories that kept adding more and more retcons, with hardly any resolution but more confusion, as if they can’t make up their minds.
Basically, the premise of Convergence is that Brainiac has gathered multiple cities from across the multiverse as part of some “grand experiment” for them to interact with each other, basically a gigantic FIGHT SCENE as seen so far in this and the issues I’ve read so far. And this zero issue fails as a beginning/buildup to this story.
I will say that the artwork in the comic is superb, as with Ethan Van Sciver’s other artwork in comics. I love his attention to detail, being meticulous and epic all at once, it’s enjoyable. It’s especially apparent when he draws all the different Brainiacs from the entire character’s history, from his first appearance, his skeletal robot look, TAS, the Brainiac arc, and even the giant colossal one.
The story and writing itself is not so superb. Let me make one thing clear about the writer of this comic, Jeff King: I have no problem with the guy, mostly because I never heard of him before this comic. I looked him up and found out he’s written and/or produced several TV shows like White Collar, Stargate SG-1, Continuum, and others, so he’s got experience. But this is his COMICS DEBUT. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that if someone were to be making their comics debut, it shouldn’t be for an event comic that could decide the fate of a major comic book company’s characters and universe or multiverse. Sure, others like JMS and Kevin Smith got started on major comic characters after doing TV and/or film, but those were either miniseries or ongoings with the characters that weren’t doing so great at the time so they had free reign and then the characters became popular again. I mean, if I started writing comics, I’d want something small first before I get the reigns of something bigger, because I’d want to get myself established first after getting the hang of things and go on to bigger things if I get the chance. Dan Jurgens, a well-known comic book writer/artist, does co-write this issue, I guess to provide some sense of solidarity, but doesn’t make it that much better. This issue, along with the whole series, could be handled by someone who’s done event stories in the past, like Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison, or even someone who’s been rising up at DC, like Scott Snyder or Jeff Lemire.
This whole issue can be summed up as Superman flailing and whining with Brainiac and Telos delivering exposition. New 52 Superman pops up and he is approached by Brainiac, who’s now gone to Galactus or Unicron proportions in terms of size. I’m not gonna lie, the super mega giant Brainiac (yes I called him that, don’t judge me) is actually pretty terrifying. If any of the other Brainiacs were a challenge before, then I don’t know what this one is capable of. It does make me scratch my head about it though. Is this the ORIGINAL Brainiac or just another variation of the character? Because the character, as with other things regarding DC, has been changed so much, it’s hard to keep it all straight. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank managed to at least streamline and make sense out of him, combining all of his appearances and providing explanation for his character and motivation in the Brainiac arc, but then New 52 happened and made things more confusing and now this happens.
Superman, looking like someone too drunk or high to make sense of what’s going on and scruffyish hair on his face to show too, encounters multiple versions of Brainiac while he traverses some planet that exists outside of space and time, allowing for super mega giant Brainiac to conduct his “experiment”. The multiple Brainiacs keep spouting off about the “experiment” and Superman’s existence and whatnot, but all I get from it is that he’s whining about getting the super mega giant Brainiac’s attention, like some little kid wanting attention from mommy or daddy. So then they all merge into this character called Telos and send Superman away, who will have no memory of these events simply because he said so, and prepare for the events to come, making all of this pointless.
This comic isn’t worth its merit or even the $4.99 price. You know what you can get that’s close to that price? Maybe a used copy of Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday Ultimate Collection Volume 1 in a used books section somewhere, because I actually just got that! Sure, that comic has been around for a while, but it’s a graphic novel collection, spanning 12 issues worth of comics, and probably more worthwhile. Or go get something at a fast-food restaurant or even a used video game. And this is going to be EIGHT ISSUES LONG! It’s only worth it for anyone that has morbid curiosity.
Let me compare/contrast this to other buildup comics to past DC events, like Infinite Crisis and Blackest Night. For Infinite Crisis, there were 4 miniseries, plus some tie-ins, that built up to it, and how they all factor into the story. But what kicked it all off was the 80-page (this comic was 30 pages), $1 (this comic was $5), one-shot Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Ted Kord, the 2nd Blue Beetle, was the main character and driving force of it. He didn’t have superpowers, but he did a lot more than Superman. He investigated and witnessed several events that would cause Infinite Crisis to happen, even after almost every hero refused to help him, and Booster Gold, his best friend and only one who helped him, got injured after trying to help him. He knew that things would change after it was over, whether he died or not, and acknowledged that while his time as Blue Beetle could end, he knew that someday someone would take up the mantle (and Jaime Reyes did just that in Infinite Crisis btw). And when confronted by Maxwell Lord after discovering his plan to monitor and eliminate heroes he deemed threatening, he refused to join him, saying “rot in Hell, Max” and was shot in the head. That right there, given with the 80-page worth of content, had more character, story, and buildup than Convergence #0.It also served as a proper, if not brutal, sendoff of the beloved character at the time.
Blackest Night #0 is another good example. It had about the same amount of pages as this comic, but it was distributed during FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, meaning it was FREE, and it contained more than Convergence #0 as well in terms of character, story, and buildup. There was already enough buildup because it was part of a trilogy of events that started with Green Lantern: Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War, but the issue itself was buildup enough anyway due to its recollection of events and the characters that have either died or died and came back, providing a glimpse of the themes and events to come of the series, and the characters Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and Black Hand were the main focus characters of that issue and represented not only Geoff Johns’ work on them, but how far they’ve come as well and how they factor into the story.
I have no idea what the point is of Superman being in this issue, aside from that 2-page spread featuring the various ways he has met his demise in other continuities. I guess it’s to signify how no matter how different the situation, the outcome will be the same. Kinda speaks for what DC has been doing lately, isn’t it?
And it doesn’t get much better in the issues to come of this series. Trust me.