Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Red Skies at Night

Convergence: written by Jeff King, Scott Lobdell, and Dan Jurgens; illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Paz, Carlo Pagulayan, Stephen Segovia, Eduardo Pansica, Aaron Lopresti, Ed Benes, Andy Kubert, and many others (2015): As a standalone miniseries, the weekly, 9-issue Convergence is something of a disaster. It did tie into a seemingly endless group of two-issue miniseries focused on various DC heroes from a wide range of 'abandoned' universes, and some of these two-parters were very good (especially Shazam!). The 9000-page Convergence Omnibus edition should be half-killer, half-filler.

However, Convergence is important for company-wide reasons at DC as it establishes a new/old status quo in its final issue. Unfortunately, while we see the build-up to the important, universe-shattering battle in that final issue, and while we see the aftermath, we do not actually see the battle itself. Either that or my copy of Issue 8 (the series begins with Issue Zero, btw) is missing several dozen pages.

In a way, this makes Convergence the perfect capstone to 30 years of universe-shattering, forest-consuming, million-issue crossover events at DC and Marvel. It's a story so big they couldn't fit the story in. Wait for next year's Convergence: Crisis War Blues Explosion mini-maxi-series, I guess.

And while there are moments of interest interspersed throughout the miniseries (most of them in issue zero, illustrated with snap and verve by Ethan Van Sciver) , a lot of space involves fighting, more fighting, and pointlessly and brutally killing off characters from a Warlord comic-book series that most readers probably weren't born to read when last it breathed life on the comic-book racks. I mean seriously: we spend what seems like half the miniseries in the world of Warlord. And we're mainly there to kill off all the characters in terrible, futile situations. Did Warlord creator and writer-artist Mike Grell poop in somebody's punch bowl over at DC recently?

So while the outcome of Convergence is mostly fine by me, the execution of this miniseries is surprisingly dreadful for long stretches. Pick up the beautifully illustrated Issue Zero and Issue 8 and forget the rest of the minieries. Oh, and track down Convergence: Shazam 1-2.  Not recommended in its entirety.

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