When I saw the cover, my mind was sent racing as I envisioned the potential scenarios that could play out between Bruce and Thomas.  Unfortunately, the element that I was most looking forward too is completely omitted from the story.

The scene is tremendously tense as Bruce and Thomas walk towards one another in silence.  A building crescendo of questions is built up in your mind as Grayson narrates the scene.  What will they say?  What will they do?  They both pull their masks back and look upon one another.  You get the impression that all this is leading to something, and then… they just skip over their exchange!  We don’t get to see them talk, or embrace, or anything!  Nothing!  While, there is a slight indication that the exchange might be elaborated on in a future issue, I have my doubts.  Initially, I was very disappointed.  While I know they aren’t actually blood related since they are from different universes, this was their chance to say their goodbyes to the one they had lost, to utter the words they never spoke because they always thought they had more time.  Being denied a scene with such potential really knocked the wind out of my sails.  However, after gathering my thoughts, I reconsidered and decided that leaving out the specifics may have been a better choice.  Over the last week, I had already written the scene in my own mind exactly the way I wanted it to unfold.  If it hadn’t lived up to my expectations, I would have been let down.  This way it can still be exactly what I ,or any of us, wanted it to be.

BruceIf I were rating this issue on this panel alone, it would get a 10.

In lieu of the conversation I was hoping for, I was given this heartbreaking shot of Bruce watching Thomas leave the cave.  If ever there was an image that epitomized the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, this would be it: it’s a full page spread without a single word balloon, but is more touching to me than anything I could have read.  The penciller for this issue, Carlo Pagulayan, really captures the depth of turmoil that Bruce is feeling.  The fact that Batman is a character whose entire mission in life was prompted by the loss of his parents, makes the scene even more momentous, as he is forced to watch one of them leave his life yet again.  For me, this one page made the entire issue worth buying.  There are a couple of iconic images of Bruce/Batman that move me no matter how may times I see them: one of them is Batman on a gargoyle covered rooftop with the Gotham cityscape and the batsignal shinning behind him, and the other is Bruce on his knees at his parent’s side beneath a cone of light from a street lamp.  While the above-mentioned isn’t specifically one of those, it does embody the same sentiment as the later.

Grayson serves as the everyman for this issue, and we primarily take part in the story through his eyes.  The first 5 pages are essentially a recap of the last couple issues of World’s End.  For those who hadn’t read it, this serves as a fairly adequate summation of the events that unfolded in that comic.  If you were to have read it, this time, you are presented with a nice narration from Grayson that capitalizes on the loss of his son, which later on nicely ties into his internal monologue regarding Thomas and Bruce.

The story continues with a confounding fight between Telos and the Earth 2 gang.  Why the Earth 2 heroes think that beating up on him should help them in any way is beyond me at the moment.  The way I am looking at this, is that Telos is essentially a planet sized Clayface and their efforts are no more productive than cutting off one of Clayface’s hangnails.  For whatever reason, Telos decides that they aren’t worth his time and he lets them go (somehow I am thinking that this is going to come back and bite him in the butt).  The heroes part ways, with Grayson and Batman heading off to Gotham to find help, while the others investigate a nearby ruined city.

In and of itself, this issue and the last 2 haven’t been bad, but not great either.  The artists are delivering consistently good work and the writer is crafting thought-provoking dialogue, action packed encounters, and genuinely charming character scenes.  I feel like all the ingredients for a stellar read are present, yet something just isn’t adding up.  It’s definitely a simplistic read with a more rudimentary plot, and I’m not pointing that out as necessarily being a bad thing.  It’s more of an observation than anything.  Not every comic should be or needs to be the most groundbreaking or revolutionary thing you’ve ever read, but if Convergence is trying to compete with the other DC universe-altering stories, then they need to step their game up a bit.  While I would tout Convergence as being entertaining comic book fanfare, it’s nothing more at this point.

Spoiler

  • It’s odd that Thomas said he was going to find help, but all he ended up doing was borrowing the Batmobile and some supplies….oh well.
  • Green Lantern determines that the solution to defeating Telos may reside beneath a ruined city that is in the vicinity.  While exploring the city, Green Lantern finds a Court of Owls mask!  Is this just an easter egg or is the Court somehow going to be involved?
  • We get to see the cyborged heroes from Futures End decimate a bunch of heroes from Earth 6.

Random Thoughts:

  • The Flash has always been an instrumental character in all the universe altering stories that have occurred in the past.  It seems highly likely to me that Jay Garrick will serve some profound function within the Convergence storyline for this reason.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earth (1985) established a way for the Golden age Flash, Green Lantern, and other heroes to exist simultaneously with their more modern counterparts.  It is possible that Convergence is planning on doing the same thing by introducing a story which will justify the cast of Earth 2 on New Earth.
  • The rules of Telos’ competition state that each city has a champion, each champion will fight until only one is left, and then the winner and his city will be reintegrated into New Earth.  Considering that May will only be featuring the conclusion of the first rounds of this competition, there won’t be time for us to see things play out in true elimination fashion.  With winners facing off against winners till the end.  There must be something that is going to interfere with the elimination process.  I’m surmising that the Earth 2 heroes defeat Telos before the competition can be completed.
  • I’d like to know why pre-Flashpoint Gotham has been assigned 4 champions.  I understand the reasoning in our world.  The majority of the characters people want to see are in that world, so there are more comics featuring them, but what is the justification in the comic world?

Interesting Facts:

  • Deimos is the arch nemesis of The Warlord.  The Warlord is a comic that ran from the mid 70s to the mid 80s.  It was essentially swords and sorcery, with Deimos being the antagonist sorcerer of the series.

Recommended if…

  • You’re a Batman fan.  Almost half the issue is dedicated to Batman characters.
  • You want to witness an exercise in futility as the Earth 2 heroes square off with Telos.

Overall:

While the story does feature a ton of action and an absorbing commentary as delivered by Grayson, I just feel like the Convergence tie-ins are so much more engaging than the main title at the moment.

SCORE: 7 / 10