In Review: Convergence #1

This does not come anywhere near the hype, with a simple story and average visuals.

The cover: Right out of the gate, I’m stunned that this introductory issue for DC’s mega-crossover series, has only one cover. Thank you, DC comics. What a rarity in the comics’ market! Ivan Reis provides the art, Joe Prado the inks, and Peter Stiegerwald (whose series Zoohunters from Aspen Comics should be must reading for everyone) provides colors. The front of this wraparound cover shows Green Lantern (Alan Scott) raising his fist in rage, with Batman (Dr. Thomas Wayne), Yolanda Montez, and Superman (Val-Zod) watching. Behind them is the infamous forcefield that’s being teased in promo materials. On the back the source of Scott’s wrath is shown–Brainiac. Behind him is the Flash (Jay Garrick) and Dick Grayson, both looking startled. This is not a stunning image. Having the villain more promiently shown, like on the front piece, would have made this more dramatic. As things stand, this illustration makes Scott look like the villain. The inks and colors are fine, but the compostion keeps this from being outstanding, which is what this super-sized series should be. This should not have been a wraparound. Overall grade: B-

The story: I’ve been a religious reader of DC comics since the early Eighties. I remember when Crisis on Infiinite Earths was new. This is a mess of a story for new readers, and even antiques like me. Written by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell, this story opens with a Superman watching his Earth destroyed. The story then moves to an unknown world where the characters on the cover meet up and are discovered by a Brainiac, who provides the premise for this series. The premise reads like Marvel’s Contest of Champions, which came before The Secret Wars, with characters fighting for survival of their Earths. This seems like a Marvel reason for a slugfest, rather than a DC choice. DC megaseries tend to be a little more justifialbe that “Fight!”, but not this time. This was disappointing. I was also frustrated in trying to figure out from which Earth each character originated. If King and Lobdell had done this I would have had a much better grasp on who came from where. For a reader to have buy in, a reader must have a base for the characters. As it stands, these are just variations on the characters I’ve been reading in the New 52 Universe, and I have no buy in with them and their fates. Sadly, the final three pages of the book show some of the many variant worlds that will be encountered in other books. The inclusion of such information comes across as a means to sell collections and an inability of the writers to incorporate this information into their tale. This is not a terrific start. Overall grade: D+

The art: The visuals are provided by Carlo Pagulayan on pencils and Jason Paz on inks. Both do an adequate job, but, again, for such a hyped series, I expected better, but this art is unremarkable. This is standard comic book art. It’s competent, but nothing memorable. The character work is good, with Superman in the opening pages looking good, and Batman and Yolanda looking best in the following pages, but nothing of any character will be remembered in six months. The first five pages show a city under attack, with a double-paged spread on Pages 2 and 3 having a fair amount of detail showing the destruction, but clouds and two panels cover much of the chaos. The final setting, on the mysterious world, is a desert world that could be Vasquez Rocks. It’s a simple setting with few details, which ultimately disappears for close-ups of characters. Pages 28 and 29 feature the most characters, but they come off as sketches more so than fully rendered indivuals. The art ably tells the story, but is nowhere near the level of art found in the last big series, Forever Evil. Overall grade: C

The colors: This is a strong contribution to this book. Aspen MLT’s John Starr with Peter Steigerwald start strongly with excellent tone work on characters’ faces in the opening and spectacular lava work on the double-paged spread. Also impressive is their work on the lettering. Notice how colors identify Superman’s thoughts and Batman’s narration. The sounds are very strong, often going transparent, such as on Page 3, to not overpower the art. Very nicely done. Overall grade: A

The letters: Travis Lanham provides dialogue and narration (the same font), Brainiac’s repeated booming statement, sounds, yells, character identification, story title, and credits. I wanted Brainiac’s speech to be a unique font to separate from others, rather than having the shape and color of his dialogue balloon changed. Still, what’s done looks fine. Overall grade: B

The final line: This does not come anywhere near the hype, with a simple story and average visuals. I expected so much better. Overall grade: C

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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