DC's Convergence Week 4

Week 4 should have been the template for the entire event. While I admit to getting a thrill out of Week 1 returning some beloved versions of DC's characters from before the Flushpoint, focusing on one Earth/continuity per week (fighting various others which got variable attention), when you have the entire Multiverse to play with, was wasteful. Week has its featured Earth, sure, it's pre-Crisis Earth-2, and half of its 10 books are devoted to it, but the rest each pan the camera to another world and another conflict. Here's the whole list (some spoilers are inevitable):
Couldn't Weeks 1-3 have spread the love a little bit? At least given up two or three books to other worlds each? Closest we got was the Superboy and the Legion issue on Week 3, and various cameos in the core series. If you'll notice, all the cities listed at the back of Convergence #0 HAVE been seen (or will be seen, some of these 2-issue mini-series are rather slow to get to the inter-city conflict). I guess that's truth in advertizing. But what about all the worlds listed at the back of #1? Ok, I'm not entirely sure the Pirate Universe or Dreamworld could sustain a book, but I'd have loved a change of pace like the Morrison-Kirby mash-up of the League of Shadows, or Bob Haney's Super-Sons universe. One thing certainly missing from the conflict is the proper Silver Age (pre-Crisis is Bronze, after all), which New Frontier could have provided. And I can think of others. The 5YL Legion, for example, or several of the worlds used in The Multiversity. And if I'm allowed to dream in color, the Amalgam universe (wouldn't it have been amazing if DC and Marvel could have used chunks of it for Convergence and Secret Wars, since they're doing the same kind of event anyway?).

Not that Week 4 is perfect. I'm a huge Golden Age fan, but never got into Infinity Inc. or later JSA stories. So the Earth-2 of 1985? Not quite the one I love. Still, happy to see the characters, mind you. Earth-X is also populated by Golden Age characters, but I'm not sure the creative team is following the rules when it revamps the Silver Ghost. Aren't universes meant to be "saved" as they were before any retcons? This version of Earth-X isn't quite the one we explored in pre-Crisis continuity, even before the dome went up. This is a comic where Plastic Man sodomizes a Nazi with a foot-long hot dog, after all. Earth-X via Pat Mills, or something. And who thought it was a good idea to give the Charlton heroes to Scott Lobdell? (Or even to give Lobdell a job at all, but that's a fight for another day.) The Blue Beetle book has its moments - Lobdell can occasionally amuse - but the writing is mostly terrible.

But it's certainly not all bad. Week 4 has a better track record than Weeks 2 and 3, I think, with Shazam! coming out as the best (it's the Parker/Shaner/Bellaire team that does Flash Gordon, what do you expect?), strong human moments for the JSA, using Scribbly to tell the 7 Soldiers of Victory story in World's Finest, Dan Jurgens continuing his Booster Gold story, and the first comics to actually make me care about Infinity Inc. and the Crime Syndicate. So I'm pretty sure it'll be the lowest-selling week in the entire event. That tracks.

This time, it was a lot harder keep the list of My 5 Favorite Moments of the Week to five, but let's give it a try anyway:

5. Superwoman's guilt and regret as she sits on death row. The issue paints pre-Crisis Earth-3's villains as criminals on par with the Flash's Rogues, NOT as the psychopaths they've been since the Earth 2 graphic novel, and I, for one, find that refreshing.
4. Superman is (or should be) Superman, no matter the reality. I'm not entirely sure what the Soviet Superman is doing in Detective Comics (he's also in Action, but doesn't play as big a role), but what could have been a villainous portraiture is instead a a heroic figure raised in a fascist society. He wants to maintain order and find peaceful solutions.
3. The Justice Society's last stand. The apocalyptic imagery is on point, as this is to be the JSA's last battle. We know, and they know, they're not walking away from this one. (Read the book to find out why.)
2. Sheldon Meyer's Scribbly is inspired by Superman. Lovely to see the comic strip character as part of the DCU, and I'd love for Scribbly to make it into the core universe after this. An astute cartoonist in a world of Supers, working a smaller paper than the Planet in Metropolis, would be lovely.
1. All of Shazam! Ok, ok, if I can pick just one panel, it would be this one, the epic return of the three main Marvels. So cool. And Mr. Tawky-Tawny and original members of the Monster Society of Evil ain't bad either.
I'm sure you have your own, if only the various reunions of Boosters and Beetles, but I feel like that's DC's go-to "moment" (so how about you make it permanent, DC?).

I'm not sure whether continuing this weekly series of posts is necessary as second issues of each come out in May; I guess it'll depend on their content. But come back tomorrow, Convergence fans and foes, I'll write something about the Convergence aftermath.


Anonymous said...

"Superman is (or should be) Superman, no matter the reality."

I think I was once lamenting this on your blog, how virtually every Superman variant is an a-hole, and why can't there be at least some with Superman's basic decency but under different circumstances. Commie Superman is one of the few where you can see even a smidgen of that, and I'm glad they chose to put it on display here.

As a general rule, every exploration of a-hole Superman comes to the same conclusion: a-hole Superman is an a-hole and we like the original one better. We get it, DC. We don't need to know "but what if Superman was raised to be a half-man-half-liverfluke?" to realize that liverfluke a-hole Superman would be bad.

Siskoid said...

I know you're a fluke fan, and I can guarantee a fluke development in the coming days!

Boosterrific said...

As a Booster Gold fan, I loved the Booster Gold issue. But the best book of the entire CONVERGENCE mess so far was SHAZAM!. That's a book I'd buy every month.

By the way, there are panels in INFINITY INC where the characters are telling us what happened and the artist is showing us NOTHING. That's a fundamental storytelling fail -- show, don't tell -- that I wouldn't have expected from Jerry Ordway, but I wonder if it wasn't a symptom of a rush art job. Many of the CONVERGENCE minis have suffered from sloppy art, especially on later pages in the issues, and I begin to think that DC might not have given artists enough time to finish these books. If that's the case, how bad are the second issues going to look?

Siskoid said...

That Shazam book is a thing of beauty, isn't it?

You probably have a point re: the art and even writing on these comics. A lot of them have seemed ill-thought out, and even contradicted each other. The editorial effort isn't there either (nothing new, of course).


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