Self sacrifice, unrelenting action, and the fate of countless worlds hanging in the balance. This should be the definition of epic, but instead it comes across as being nothing more than a mildly enjoyable diversion.
We are 4 issues in and things are starting to drag for me. As we get closer to the finale, the momentum should increase. We should be presented with fresh material that makes us eager to see the outcome and engages us in the present. Instead, we are treated to a rehashing similar to what every preceding issue has delivered thus far. Our heroes are in a waste land, they fight something, they give it their all, they succeed (or think they do), and then journey on to the next challenge. To be honest, I’m getting tired of seeing meaningless battles in the middle of nowhere. The fighting that occurred in this issue felt like it was generated just to give us something to look at.
Along with the “pretty-looking” fights, we are given a hero’s sacrifice that ends up feeling completely hollow and utterly avoidable. One of our heroes decides to stay behind to give the rest of the party time to escape. It’s the classic: go on without me/I’ll only slow you down/I’ll buy you time to get away. While I felt that the sentiment was in the right place, it just felt overly cliche. I also had a problem with the fact that the threat was not significant enough to warrant a loss of one of the heroes. Flash alone could have easily dealt with the entirety of the threat. It’s almost as if it was decided that someone had to die because we are halfway through the story and this is when something like this is supposed to happen according to the user’s guide to writing an epic.
Another problem I had with this issue was all the cameos that appeared throughout. From my own perspective, I enjoyed seeing all the characters and reminiscing on past stories they had appeared in. But then I got to thinking about all the readers out there who would have no clue who all these people were. I’m not saying you needed to know the backgrounds of these characters in order to follow the story, but not knowing them meant you wouldn’t feel the same level of empathy as someone who did. While the tie-ins have gone to lengths to not only include informational backups, but to also endear the characters to you within the stories themselves, this issue just tosses a bunch of characters your way without giving you a way to identify with them. You’re just watching stuff happen to people, but you’ve got no emotional connection to what is going on. I was actually really excited to see some of those characters, which made it feel like a total tease. Here were some characters that could have contributed something interesting to the story, but they end up being window dressing.
The last major negative I had for this issue was the pacing. The scenes felt very sporadic to me and don’t really seem to flow well into one another. It’s as if they picked a bunch of stuff they wanted to have happen and then just mashed them together in whatever configuration they felt like placing them in.
The only real redeeming thing about this issue is the art delivered by Stephen Segovia. At first I didn’t even realize a new artist had stepped in to take over for Carlo Pagulayan. This is most likely due to the fact that the artists are dropping their own personal styles in lieu of a conforming “House Style”. Essentially, it looks like what you expect standard comic book art to look like, but it lacks any aspect that would set it apart as unique.
- Earth 2 Batman blows himself up to kill a dozen different Batman villains. He couldn’t have done that without blowing himself up? Or perhaps lead them in the opposite direction. Maybe even into the hills where he could pick them off one at a time. You know, something Batman like! Why does he need to buy the team time anyway? Aren’t the villains coming out here to get Batman? If they had killed Batman, would they have even gone after the other heroes? Did they even know they were out there?
- Is Grayson paralyzed? Seriously? The Joker shot him just like he shot Barbara Gordon. I love when writers throw in homages to other works, but what happened here wasn’t a homage. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t an homage.
- I’m glad (not!) Batman spent last issue looking for help only to return with nothing but a Batmobile that gets instantaneously immobilized.
- Telos is way overpowered. In a previous issue we see him decimate the Injustice world, including their Superman, and here he totally trounces Kandor. I know that the heroes will find some “MacGuffin” to take out Telos, because as it stands, he is unstoppable.
- Monarch is a villain from Armageddon 2001 (1991). Monarch is in actuality Hank Hall (Hawk of Hawk and Dove). In the story, Hank becomes a super villain and enslaves the world, so a scientist from the future travels back in time to stop Hank becoming Monarch and thus saving the future.
- The character next to Monarch in the comic is Per Degaton, another time wielding character. He first appeared in 1947 and was a nemesis to The Justice Society of America.
- The two suited characters who take on Telos in Kandor are Nightwing and Flamebird. In pre-crisis continuity, these were the names that Superman and Jimmy Olsen took on in order to remain anonymous while visiting the bottled city of Kandor. Since then, many other characters have taken on the mantles of these two heroes including: Superman & Lois Lane, Supergirl & Power Girl, Chris Kent & Thara Ak-Var, Kandorians Van-Zee & Ak-Var. Nightwing is obviously the superhero name that Dick Grayson later adopted and Flamebird is the name that the original Batgirl, Betty Kane, eventually adopted. I’m guessing that the two in this issue were Van-Zee & Ak-Var.
- As mentioned last time, Deimos is a character from The Warlord comic series and Skartaris is the name of the realm the characters inhabited.
- Ten Batman Villains show up in this issue. I only think 3 of them need to be introduced, but I’m going to name them all just in case. Joker, Riddler, Man-Bat, Mr Zsasz, Professor Pyg, Flamingo, Simon Hurt/The Black Glove, the king looking guy is The Monarch of Menace, the girl with the hole in her head is The Absence, and I think the guy in white is supposed to be Lloyd Ventrix but I might be mistaken on this one (not much there to help identify him). (EDIT: The character with the crown is actually King Cole. Monarch and Cole actually look very similar to one another. The guy in white is The White Knight. Should have realized where they were from as several of the other villains from this issue also appeared in the Batman & Robin series.)
- You like reminiscing on the past.
- You’re collecting all the issues of Convergence.
The headliner of DC’s current company wide event proves this week that the tie-ins are where the real enjoyment of Convergence is to be found. This issue is filled with hollow gestures and meaningless conflict. On top of that, throw in a general lack of empathy for the characters, and I’m finding little worthwhile to recommended where this issue is concerned. The only thing it managed to do was remind me of other stories, that quite frankly, I would rather be reading.
SCORE: 3.5 / 10