I want to make this very clear, if the title of this post/article wasn’t enough, that this is about the Convergence tie-ins that I read. Now, I didn’t read all of them, and if you read all FORTY of them, good for you. Me, I just read the ones that stood out for me and that’s that. What made them stand out for me were that either they were about characters I liked and they resolved plot threads left hanging before New 52 started, though in that case why didn’t Firestorm get a tie-in that resolved the plot thread from Brightest Day of Ronnie and Jason trying to stop themselves from exploding in 90 days? Or how about a tie-in that was about Hawkman (Carter Hall) trying to find Shiera (I know there was a Hawkman tie-in, but from what I understand it was about a version of him before Crisis on Infinite Earths, so I don’t know what it was about specifically). It’s not so much of a review as it is a general summary of what they’re about, why I like these characters, some of their history, and other things. Here we go:
Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artist(s): Rick Leonardi, Mark Pennington, and Steve Buccellato
Who doesn’t love Stephanie Brown? Well apparently DC doesn’t, or at least certain people at DC don’t love her for some reason, even insulting her fanbase by saying “her fanbase isn’t as strong as it appeared”. The character was pushed off to the side, or perhaps to nothingness, once New 52 started. She couldn’t even be used in Smallville comics, written by Bryan Q. Miller, who was one of the show’s writers and the writer of the Batgirl series depicting Stephanie as Batgirl, for crying out loud. There was also controversy over her supposed death years ago when she became the first in-continuity female Robin and then gets killed off, with editorial saying “she was never really Robin” despite comic creators having it been stated that she was Robin and even having a memorial for her in the Batcave until her resurrection and becoming Batgirl.
I’ve only read the first few issues and “The Lesson” trade paperback of her Batgirl series, but oh my gosh were they awesome. It managed to balance dark, gritty, Bat-styled storytelling, with fun, energy, and youthfulness, which seemed more fitting for Stephanie Brown than say what’s currently being done for Barbara Gordon right now, post-Gail Simone (trust me I’m gonna get to THAT soon). Not to mention her Batgirl costume is AWESOME.
Anyway, Stephanie, Cassandra Cain (Black Bat, formerly Batgirl before Stephanie), and Tim Drake (Red Robin…yum; ok bad joke), are trying to keep the pre-New 52 version of Gotham City safe while it’s under a dome (or in Stephen King’s case, under THE dome; again bad joke). Stephanie is questioning her role as Gotham’s “champion” for Telos’s “experiment”, having a conflict of inner strength and wondering if she’s worthy of being a hero, feeling that the other “kickass Batgirls” Barbara Gordon and Cassandra are more fitting. It takes Cassandra and Tim to realize that no matter what, she is always a hero and she is needed. They work to save people until they are taken by mysterious orbs to the planet’s surface, where they come across the Flashpoint versions of Gorilla Grodd and Catman. With Catman’s help, they’re able to defeat Grodd and return to Gotham, where they have tender, playful moments, with Cass getting annoyed of the romantic tension between Tim and Steph and later Tim and Steph just lying down on a couch, holding each other like nothing else matters.
This was a great return to form for all characters involved, particularly Steph, Tim, and Cass, mostly because it’s great to see these versions of them again instead of what DC is doing to them in New 52. They’re well-rounded, have good chemistry with each other, and despite the overwhelming odds, especially in Stephanie’s case, they rise above them and do what they do best: BEING SUPERHEROES.
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist(s): Steve Yeowell, Andy Owens, and Hi-Fi
Another character controversy with DC was of Ryan Choi. He was a fairly new character introduced nearly a decade ago, the latest to take up the mantle of The Atom following Ray Palmer’s disappearance and continued to do so after his return, and had his own series. He was a high-profile Asian character and was starting to appear in television. Then he was killed off by Deathstroke and his “Titans” during Brightest Day, his shrunken corpse given to his nemesis Dwarfstar in a matchbox (how appropriate), and his death was avenged by Ray and other heroes, later giving him a proper funeral in memory of him. Supposedly his death was retconned for New 52, but he never made an appearance in ANYTHING and had only a reference in Justice League, and the only Atom-like character to appear in New 52 (aside from Ray Palmer) was Rhonda Pineda, who was actually a supervillain named Atomica that came from Earth-3, a parallel world in which the traditional DC heroes were actually villains (though in my opinion almost any supervillain was less of a jerkwad in comparison to the heroes of New 52). Gotta love how DC handles their characters and their legacies, huh?
Ray Palmer has gone a little crazy with the dome being over Gotham, missing Ryan and wanting to go after Deathstroke to settle the score. He hears a voice in his head and fights a fish-like villain named Barracuda. He realizes the voice in his head is Ryan’s because somehow after his death his life essence was in atoms or something, and after some sci-fi mumbo jumbo (I’m having a hard time trying to figure it out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it because Ryan is back), Ryan comes back to life and together, they defeat Deathstroke.
Again, it’s great to see these characters and the chemistry (no pun intended) between them. Despite the dome over them, they try their best to be heroes and work well together to defeat a common foe. Again, THEY’RE BEING SUPERHEROES.
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist(s): Tom Grummett, Sean Parsons, and Rain Beredo
Probably one of my favorite and one of the strongest of the tie-ins was this one. Why? Because it had Wally West. Scratch that, the REAL Wally West (I’ll get to that at some point). Long story short, Wally was one of the few characters that actually grew and while I understand having Barry Allen as The Flash, I was hoping that they could have them together, since at the time before New 52, several characters were operating under the same codenames as one another, depending on the codename (Green Lantern Corps so there’s multiple GLs, Batman Incorporated so there’s multiple Batmen and both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson can be Batman). They had Jay Garrick operating as The Flash too before New 52, so why not Wally as well, alongside Barry? Again, DC has a funny way with their characters lately.
Wally and his kids, Jai and Iris, are trying to protect Gotham City, while also fast-traveling through multiple cities from different universes and timelines that are also imprisoned, in an effort to find out what is going on and to find his wife Linda Park. They come across a cartoonish turtle speedster character named Fastback (he’s from the Zoo Crew, which I don’t know much about exactly but hear good things about them) and they decide to gather other heroes and fight the one responsible for what’s happening. Flashpoint Wonder Woman appears and tries to kill them, since she’s a bloodthirsty warlord. Despite not wanting to fight her and trying to reason with her, Wally and Wonder Woman fight, but it gets problematic when his kids immediately appear whenever he thinks of them and the Amazons have countermeasures for speedsters. When Wonder Woman has Wally tied up in her lasso of truth, he admits he feels he’s failed as a hero, husband, and father, but feels sorry for her because she could never understand with her rage over the supposed betrayal by Aquaman (he didn’t, actually, he was framed) blinding her of love and understanding. He is able to defeat Wonder Woman with the surprise appearance of his kids, his speed and his wit, and saves Fastback from the other Amazons, who retreat as ordered by Wonder Woman. Fastback wishes them farewell, returns to his city of Follywood and the Zoo Crew to help them out, and insists Wally stays and protect his kids and Gotham. The story ends with Wally hopeful that they’ll be reunited with Linda and be a family again.
The story helps illustrate why Wally is one of the greats. He’s a character that grew from teenage sidekick to his own hero that stepped out of his mentor’s shadow and had a life of his own. He’s both a superhero and a family man who cares about his wife and kids as well as the people he protects. And again, the heroes in this story, even Fastback as cartoonish as he may seem, ARE BEING SUPERHEROES.
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist(s): Ron Wagner, Jose Marzan Jr., and Chris Sotomayor
Like Wally West, Roy Harper is another character that actually grew from sidekick to a formidable superhero in his own right. Not only did he outgrow his mentor Green Arrow’s shadow (as well as the animosity between them for Ollie leaving him behind while dealing with a heroin addiction), but also went through several identities like Arsenal (twice) and Red Arrow, had a kid with a supervillain, was a member of several superteams like the Outsiders and Justice League as well as several incarnations of the Titans, and other things. Then DC did Cry for Justice and Rise of Arsenal, killing his daughter Lian, losing his arm in a fight with Prometheus, getting addicted to drugs again, got a prosthetic arm and turned into a 90s-esque antihero, and joined Deathstroke’s Titans only to actually try to redeem the group and turn it into a superhero team again. All of that was erased just so he can be turned into an annoying idiot jokester with a stupid trucker hat in the moronic Red Hood and the Outlaws (that somehow lasted 40 issues, some annuals and specials, while for instance Resurrection Man got 12 issues and a 0 issue) and which is still being used in the equally stupid followup Red Hood/Arsenal, both of which are written by Scott Lobdell, the guy who turned Starfire into a sex object (thankfully she isn’t like that in her new solo series, probably because it’s done by the same people who are doing the Harley Quinn series and NOT Scott Lobdell) and sexually harassed a woman at a convention, and yet DC still gives him work. Also, Starfire and Donna Troy (a character who, while awesome, DC just likes to make more and more confusing retcons for her) are in this tie-in.
Roy is monitoring Gotham CIty while it’s under the dome, protecting it with sentry turrets, until Telos grants everyone their powers back, including his friends Starfire and Donna Troy. The Extremists show up and cause havoc, and when the three heroes arrive to stop them, one of the Extremists offers Roy his daughter back only if he kills Donna and Starfire. He refuses and attacks the Extremists and grabs Lian quickly before she is taken away again. Beast Boy and Cyborg also show up to help them out. Eventually the Extremists are defeated and while Roy offers to help out the other Titans, Donna insists that he stay with Lian and enjoy the time he has with her.
Again, like with Wally West, it’s great to see the REAL version of Roy Harper return, since The New 52 version of him is, ironically like the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws stated, “an idiot”. It’s something that before this tie-in, the best versions of him lately were the Young Justice and Arrow versions, and Young Justice got cancelled for some stupid reason and Colton Haynes, who played Roy Harper in Arrow, left after three seasons (understandable that he pursues other stuff but I really hope he comes back and somehow bring in Lian Harper). Same thing goes with the other Titans characters in this. Like with the other tie-ins, they’re BEING SUPERHEROES.
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist(s): Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, and Chris Sotomayor
Aside from changing Booster Gold from American to Canadian, not a great deal was altered for him in my opinion. He managed to go from being a pompous idiot to a true hero throughout his appearances in New 52, much like the original only in this case a bit quicker, then he disappears after an older version of him from the old DCU showed up and they mysteriously disappeared. One of the strangest things I’ve noticed about Booster Gold in particular is how through him the differences between what came before and what is happening now in the DCU is being addressed. The Booster Gold: Futures End one-shot gave me some hope that the old DCU would return somehow, course with how Convergence itself panned out that didn’t exactly end up being the case. Still, there was that glimmer of hope, and I guess it can be best enjoyed with this tie-in.
After the one-shot, New 52 Booster is freed by Rip Hunter, the son of the other version of Booster. They manage to free the other Booster and his sister Michelle from Brainiac’s prison of time-travellers. It’s revealed that the older Booster Gold is dying from the chronal energy he’s absorbed through after so much time-travel. Deimos shows up with his minions and they escape, though older Booster keeps disappearing and reappearing in different places due to his condition. The three go to Metropolis from the 31st century and encounter Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, while older Booster encounters Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) in another version of Metropolis. Rip and others avoid fighting the Legion for much long by traveling 45 minutes into the future. Eventually everyone meets up in Ted’s Scarab ship and they go to Vanishing Point to restore older Booster. He transforms into the new Waverider and puts Ted and New 52 Booster back in their proper places and timelines, while he has Rip and Michelle hide while he goes to handle Brainiac and Deimos in the main Convergence series.
While there was some silly heroes-fighting-heroes moments, this was a pretty good and one of the strongest tie-ins. It managed to somewhat address all the continuity shenanigans that has been going on with DC, especially in recent times, while also giving some kind of glimpse as to what could happen in the future, possibly with the old DCU returning, some kind of merger between old and new DC stuff, or yet another reboot or whatever.
These tie-ins were great. While I haven’t read all of them, it’s fair to say that they were the strongest things to come out of Convergence, because they understood what made all these characters great for everyone, resolved plotlines and restored things to them that should never have been left hanging in the first place for so long, and address how questionable The New 52 is by these characters simply BEING SUPERHEROES instead of just New 52 portraying a lot of them being unlikable, “grim and gritty”, constantly constipated-looking people that shoot first, ask questions NEVER. I’ll get to addressing the problems The New 52 has had since its inception, even after the brand removal because it didn’t end the continuity just the labelling, and yet there are also some good stuff in New 52 as well. But for right now, I’ll just enjoy the momentary (and hopefully in the future, eventual permanent return) of the heroes I like.