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Mild Mannered Reviews - "Convergence" Comics

Convergence #8 Convergence #8

Convergence #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 27, 2015

Cover date: July 2015

"Last Stand"

Writer: Jeff King & Scott Lobdell
Penciller: Stephan Segovia, Carlo Pagulayan, Eduardo Pansica, Ethan Van Sciver
Inker: Jason Paz, Scott Hanna, Trevor Scott, Stephan Segovia, Ethan Van Sciver
Main Cover: Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson

Reviewed by: Jeremiah Boor

Click to enlarge

Convergence #8 Convergence #8 The temporal energy released upon Deimos' death is building at the planet's core. Once the power reaches critical mass, it will blow. The fallout will destroy the entire multiverse.

To repair the situation, Parallax wants to take every Green Lantern ring and harness all willpower. Telos binds him in liquid metal. After killing Deimos, the heroes no longer trust him.

The Flashes can feel the vibrational frequency accelerating. The countdown has begun.

Waverider, Booster Gold, and Goldstar show up to help. But there is too much harmful energy for anyone to absorb. Anyone, except for Brainiac. Waverider frees the villain from banishment.

The heroes attack. Brainiac vows to destroy them all. But Pre-Flashpoint Superman reasons with the Collector of Worlds. If he destroys the heroes, the temporal crisis will destroy everything, including Brainiac himself.

Logic wins the day. Brainiac has a sudden change of heart. Telos asks him to stabilize the planet and save the multiverse. But Brainiac feels the need to opine first.

He was once Brainiac from Colu. He traveled across the universe to collect knowledge. But when he observed the Flashpoint event and survived, he wanted to become something more. He traveled beyond the Source Wall. He traversed the multiverse and saw other Brainiacs. He wanted to evolve as the Monitors had. He experienced the previous Crisis-level events. It transformed him into what he is now. A powerful being with cancerous growths from exposure to the multiverse. Regretful, he wants to return to what he was before.

Dick has no interest in helping him. But Telos takes the tip of Brainiac's giant finger. He sees past his master's mistakes.

In the depths of Earth 0's solar system, all of the heroes have returned to be with their loved ones, except Superman and Supergirl. They look on the Planet Telos. Superman tells Kara they need to hope that whoever is fighting the good fight down there, wins.

Brainiac severs Telos' connection to the planet. He takes control of the orb himself. He will channel the temporal energy and use it to send everyone home. This should make everything right again.

But Brainiac cannot send everyone home. The original CRISIS is too strong. It prevents him from sending the heroes back. Unless it is changed, the multiverse will collapse into one universe again, as it did before.

Pre-Crisis Supergirl and the Flash must return to the original Crisis and make their ultimate sacrifice. That will allow the others to be sent back. Most will go back to doomed timelines.

But instead of going back to their ill-fated universes, Pre-Flashpoint Superman suggests, that he too, be sent to the original Crisis. There, he can change history and stop the multiverse from being destroyed in the first place. Parallax, Lois, and the baby will go too.

Though not shown on panel, they are sent back to COIE and are successful. Each world still exists, but they have evolved.

Two double page spreads show multiple Earths. Behind each planet, is a faded group of heroes representing old continuity. In front of each planet, is the new updated group that has taken their place. For example, the Pre-Flashpoint trinity are faded in the background, while the New 52 Justice League are vivid, front and center.

Brainiac violently cleanses the planet Telos. He cannot leave a single trace of the cities behind. The Earth 2 heroes have no home to return to. Their planet was destroyed before Convergence began. Therefore they are left to be cleansed with the rest of the planet. Green Lantern protects them in a bubble. Brainiac is pulled back into his reality, Earth 0.

With neither Brainiac nor Telos tied to the planet, the natural biosphere is no longer repressed. Green Lantern can connect to the 'Green.' At his prodding, the planet flourishes.

Communicating to the heroes via sky visage, Telos tells them that the planet has shifted into Earth 2's universe. His memory has been unlocked. He knows his true name. And his name is... (I have no idea; They don't say).

Green Lantern receives a duress signal. The Earth 2 refugees of the battle with Darkseid are alive. Dick Grayson's son is onboard one of the ark ships. The citizens of Earth 2 will rebuild on the thriving planet Telos, their new Earth.

1Story - 1: I must admit, part of me feared the possibility of Jeff King turning in a top notch script to tie up this event. Don't get me wrong, I love a well written story. But the shock to my system would have been dire to my health. Fear not, I am fine. Between trivial time traveler transit, off-panel plot points, and contradictory crisis content, this edition fits right in with the rest of the half-baked, poorly executed dreck, that is Convergence.

As the issue opens, the heroes need to act fast or let all of time and space cease to exist. But typical of characters written by Jeff King, they do nothing. Instead, Waverider and company just... appear. They are seen on only two pages. Just enough time for them to do their only job. Push the plot along, and leave as quickly as they came.

Like so many times before, King misses an opportunity. Appealing to Brainiac for help, should be suggested by one of the heroes already in the story. They could argue among themselves. It would create some genuine conflict and character moments. But the characters are not forced to weight their options or make a difficult decisions. Rather, Waverider hastily releases Brainiac and we are thrown into yet another hollow, short-lived conflict.

The heroes battle in a meaningless fight, empty of consequence. It is over momentarily. Then, Brainiac radically changes his mind in the space of a single panel. Nearly unsolicited, Brainiac's demeanor morphs from all-powerful cosmic despot, to a sniveling, self-absorbed neurotic.

The trick to any story, is knowing what parts not to tell. A concept King has yet to grasp. He presents the boring, but cuts the intriguing. The amount of inactivity in this miniseries is staggering. While the most interesting idea, happens off panel.

I do not support the idea of retconning Crisis on Infinite Earths. But if DC had their hearts set on the revision, they should have at least shown it. Heck, going back to change the events of CRISIS should have been the focus of the entire miniseries.

King should have taken this chance to celebrate the most revered crossover in the industry's history. Take our updated band of heroes, and throw them into the CRISIS. We could have relived the big events of COIE. But redrawn from different angles, with a different perspective and plot objective.

Instead of being treated to a reexamination of a classic, we are blind to the action. They could have said, Oh hey guys, by the way, I just went out and changed the last 30 years of existence, it'll effect the rest of time as well. Just thought I'd let you know. It would have had the same effect.

The decision to keep this story beat entirely off-panel, is stunning. It is now one of the most important and influential moments in DCU history. King boils the it down into two lines of dialogue, assuring us that our heroes have won. Mind blowing.

Simply put, I cannot overstate what a baffling and ill-conceived choice this was.

Ah, but who cares about artistic execution? The question on everyone's mind is - uh- what just happened?? Did DC go out of their way, a second time, to kill the already dead CRISIS to Flashpoint era?

That was my read, the first time through. It looked like DC had wiped the Pre-Flashpoint characters from having ever existed in the first place. I thought, if the Flashpoint event killed the previous continuity, then Convergence took that corpse, chopped it up, dumped it in a vat of acid, and shot the barrel into space.

But I do not think that is the case after all. Keep in mind, this is the most confusing comic I have ever read. But the following, is the only logical way I can reconcile the contradictory information presented. Here is what I think happened.

The chronal energy released upon Deimos' death begins to unravel time. Brainiac absorbs the energy, stopping the destruction of the Multiverse. But in solving that problem, he creates another.

The damage from the released chronal energy is done. As a result, the laws of time and space are thrown into flux. Therefore, in a cosmic attempt to restore order from chaos, the most dominate temporal event takes precedence. Crisis on Infinite Earths. The events of CRISIS are asserting itself on the space-time continuum. But with the Flash and Supergirl absent from the crisis, the Anti-Monitor will not be stopped. He will succeed in destroying the mattered multiverse. This is why Brainiac cannot not send the heroes to their respective universes. Their homes will not exist.

Brainiac's plan is to send Flash and Supergirl back to the crisis. That way the Anti-monitor will be stopped, and everything will go back to normal.

But normal is not good for those belonging to a doomed timeline. Pre-Flashpoint Superman suggests that he be sent back to the original crisis. This way he can change the events of COIE.

This will allow for the possibility of the doomed universes survival. Why? Because there is a difference between the Pre-Convergence multiverse and the Silver Age multiverse. That is, infinite earths versus 52 earths.

After CRISIS, when the multiverse collapses, it soon begins to regrow. But it caps at 52 earths. If Superman can prevent the initial consolidation, the multiverse will once again be infinite. There will be room for all timelines.

Superman and Parallax succeed. A splash page shows the Pre-Flashpoint trinity. They are faded, behind the new 52 characters. The caption says, "They still existed, but evolved."

Changing the ramifications of CRISIS, may make it seem impossible for Post-Crisis (and therefore Pre-Flashpoint) to have existed. Again, that was my first take. But with an infinite number of possibilities, not only is anything possible, everything is possible.

Like a room full of monkeys producing the complete works of Shakespeare, logic dictates that the Pre-Flashpoint universe is nestled into one vibrational plane or another.

So from a positive standpoint, Pre-Flashpoint Superman does what no other hero has ever done. He keeps his universe completely intact during a crisis-level event. Kind of...

As the caption says, they existed, but evolved. They evolved into the new 52. How or why did that happen? One can only speculate. Perhaps the Flashpoint event still happened. But that, insinuates transformation, not evolution. Either way, thats the best sense I can make of it.

I actually feel sorry for Jeff King. Dan Didio talked him into taking the job, not the other way around. He did not have experience as a comic writer. And he is more of a Hollywood producer than a scribe at this point in his career. DC had a responsibility to help and protect him from the perils of comic book creation. It appears they tried, but not enough. There is plenty of blame to go around. From King and Didio to Geoff Johns, Dan Jurgens, Scott Lobdell, the cavalcade of artists, and the series editor, Marie Javins.

I will not say anything rash, and call for people's jobs. But I am convinced that DC needs a new voice in the mix. A more conservative thinker, with an appreciation for story and character. Someone to balance out Didio and Lee's impulsive and intemperate tendencies.

Believe it or not, I do not enjoy tearing down people's hard work. I have tried to look for what worked in these issues, as well as what could have been done better. But after writing almost 10,000 words criticizing this miniseries, I have only one thing left to say. Convergence could have been one of the best events in this company's history. Instead, it is the worst.

3Art - 3: Four of the seven series artists are asked back for the 38 page finale. Each penciler's work is consistent with the pages they have drawn in previous issues.

Van Sciver once again gets the star treatment. He is given major two page splashes to draw.

Segovia has the worst outing. He still cannot draw mouths and overshadows his faces.

Pansica does fine work, but makes Supergirl's skirt just a hint too short.

Pagulayan does the best job. His faces are expressive. His style is light and fun.

At least these guys are consistent. :)

The quartet is not asked to draw anything dynamic. And with the exception of EVS, they do not get the chance to show off. The work produced, is solid. Although, there are slight problems with anatomy. Some characters are oddly posed, in painful and contorted positions.

On occasion, the art in this series gives one reason to take note. But not often enough. On the other hand, it vastly outpaces the writing.

2Cover Art - 2: Andy Kubert chooses the correct characters to feature. For all of the time spent on Earth 2 heroes, these four adventurers had the biggest impact. Even the giant hand they travel in, is Brainiac's.

But I can't say this cover does much for me. Though a good background can make up for a lot, sadly, there is not one here. The original crisis in the background would have helped greatly. Or even the iconic look of multiple earths spread out, like a deck of cards, across the cosmos.

The art itself is clunky and plain. It seems as though Kubert just went with the first idea that came to his head, and got it over with.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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