And so begins the tale henceforth to be known as Convergence…..

This story features Superman and “Brainiac” on a world that houses hundreds of bottled cities captured from different planets, universes, dimensions, and even times.  That sentence pretty much sums up the bare bones of this comic.  If you have read any of the Convergence interviews that preceded this issues release, then you know the contents of this book already.  I can see how someone who kept themselves entirely spoiler free might be awestruck at the story that is about to unfold before them, but if you’re like me and have read the solicitations, you get exactly what you expect (although there are a few minor surprises).  Seeing that this is a #0 issue, I feel like it’s primary job is just to introduce us to the concept of Convergence and send us on our way to the real story that begins next week.  In that sense, it definitely succeeds, but ultimately it could have said what needed to be said in far fewer pages than it ended up being.  It also has a bonus section after the story that amounts to introducing us to the worlds we are about to explore.  For some readers, I can see how this whole issue would be a waste of time.  If you already know what convergence is about and know your DC history, then the whole book ends up being irrelevant information. 

Spoiler
Superman gets his mind wiped at the end, so what Superman “learns” in this book might not be pertinent in the future and only meant for the reader’s benefit. 

For me, the real fun of this book came from basking in the glory of the past.  Every time an image surfaced within the pages that represented a moment from a previous comic, I found myself reliving the experience from when I first read it.  It was so much fun pouring over every little detail to find something else new to think about.  It wasn’t so much that this comic in and of itself was awesome, but it reminded me of other awesome comics, so by association it became somewhat awesome itself.  The other element that made this comic completely worth it was the art.

This issue is brought to us by Ethan Van Sciver, and from what I am seeing here, I surely hope he helms a few more issues of Convergence.  Van Sciver has a phenomenal attention to fine detailing, and I don’t think I can make this point any clearer to you than by giving you a comparison.  On the top we have a panel from this issue and on the bottom we have one from Dan Jurgens, the artist and writer of “The Death of Superman”.  (Incidentally, it is the same Dan Jurgens who wrote this issue.)

Death_of_Superman_01

On my first read through, I did note that Van Sciver was able to fill Lois with a much more gut wrenching reaction, but once I pulled up the original, it truly struck me just how much detail is evident in Van Sciver’s work (in my mind’s eye, it initially didn’t look that much different).  Other than the fact that Lois is completely convulsing with grief, the next thing that jumped out to me as being different was Lois’s hair.  I mean, just look at it…and Superman’s too.  I just feels so much more full of life to me.  The cloth on Superman’s torso and Lois’s Jacket also add an extra hint of realism in the way that they are draped and contoured on their bodies.  This goes beyond doing the original piece justice, and in fact, adds something new to the overall presentation of the original work that improves it.

I also noticed that Van Sciver made a couple attempts to somewhat partial drop his own style and throw in a hint of others artists styles whenever he was representing an image or character from another creator.  It was a nice example of his versatility.  The only real negative thing I could find to point out was that Van Sciver seemed to not be wholly consistent in representing Superman’s face.  An occasional panel would jump out from time to time as being disproportionate from the visage Van Sciver had already established.

Now let’s take a moment to look at the book from a purely technical standpoint.  While it is 4.99, it does offer a 29 page story followed up by 11 pages of bonus material.  Whether or not the content justifies the price is your call, but 40 total pages for 4.99 is actually in line with the precedent that DC has established, so you aren’t getting cheated out of pages here.  I can see how some people might see the “bonus material” as nothing more than an ad for Convergence, but I actually found it highly entertaining and useful.  If you picked up the Multiversity Guidebook, I might liken this to that.  Here is a picture of one of the pages so you can get an idea for yourself.

bonus

Spoiler

BOO!

boo

  • So, Telos is making a representative from each world battle representatives from other worlds with the loser’s world getting destroyed?  It’s Thunder Dome on a multiversal scale!

Interesting Facts:

whoswho_v1_02

  • “Who’s Who in Convergence” is the title that welcomes you once you finish the main story and enter the “bonus material”.  Who’s Who is a tip of the hat to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe”.  It was basically an encyclopedia of the DC characters that was released in comic book form from 1984-1987.  The original volume was 26 issues long and featured alphabetical listings of all the DC characters, picking up where the last issue left off.  It received several updates over the years starting in 87 and wrapping up in 1993.  The main driving force behind this series was to give readers an idea of where the DC Universe stood after Crisis on Infinite Earths.  Keep in mind that this was a good 6 years before the internet became publicly available.  We couldn’t just Google the answers to all our questions, we needed this in order to understand what was going on.  It was basically the character templates that future creators would adhere to.  (Makes me wish DC had released a Who’s Who in 2011 for the New52.  Would have helped with the confusion regarding timelines, and what events did and did not occur.  It’s obvious now that they didn’t do this because they hadn’t even figured it out for themselves yet, let alone us.)
  • Brainiac first appeared in Action Comics #242 (1958)
  • The name Vril Dox was first used in Superman #167 (1964).  Depending on which timeline you are looking at, the name Vril Dox has been associated with the adopted child of Brainiac (the 64 version), Brainiac’s clone, or Brainiac himself.
  • Need help identifying some of the Brainiacs?  Here are a couple to start you off with:

The cover of Action Comics #242 (1958)

brainiac-1Mister black underoos himself, this version was seen in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Brainiac_RobotHere we have the 1980s Brainiac.

animatedThis is the Brainiac from the 90s’ animated Superman series.

AC868Brainiac as depicted in the 2008 story by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.  Creepy…

  • How about a small assist with the various Supermans shown?

all star Superman from All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

Death_of_Superman_01 The death of Superman from “The Death of Superman” (1992)

 InfCriThis is the death of Superman from Infinite Crisis (2006).  This is the Superman from Pre-Crisis Earth 2.  In the DC Universe, Pre-Crisis Earth 2 essentially represents the Golden Age of comics.

Recommended if…

  • You’re like me, and you love picking out little details that you recognize.
  • You want to board the Convergence express.
  • You like your Superman a little rough around the edges.
  • You love Brainiac….or perhaps just a Brainiac like entity.
  • …well, Batman isn’t in this, but you do see the Bat-signal in the distance on the last page.  See, Batman does make everything better!
  • You want some “bonus material” that offers a very clear and helpful guide to identifying the worlds we are going to be visiting.
  • You love Ethan Van Sciver’s pencils.

Overall:

This was an enjoyable read, but most of that enjoyment came from my love of nostalgia.  The absolutely beautiful artwork provided by Ethan Van Sciver also went a long way to making this a memorable and worthwhile issue.  The main purpose of this issue is to introduce readers to the concept of Convergence.  While the information provided is done in a relatively enjoyable narrative fashion, I can see how this whole issue could be a waste of time for some readers.

SCORE: 7 / 10