Convergence Round-Up: Week Eight

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Today, Michael leads a discussion about Convergence 8, Action Comics 2, Blue Beetle 2, Booster Gold 2, Crime Syndicate 2, Detective Comics 2, Infinity Inc. 2, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 2 and World’s Finest 2.

convergence divMichael: When’s the last time you read a true finale from Marvel or DC? I’m talking final word, last story, completion of a hero’s journey, close-the-book-on-it ending. I could probably only count a handful of those types of finales in the past couple of years; maybe. Like any analysis of the Big Two, it can be seen in two ways: cynically or inspiringly. Cynically, there will never be a “final story.” The Coca-Cola and Pepsi of comic books always leave a door open for potential future stories because they want your money. Inspiringly, we are witnessing the sagas of modern mythology: endless heroic epics. These stories will never come to a true end because their legend continues and the heroes never say die. It can be impossibly cheesy, but the end caption “Never the end” always clutches at my heart strings. After eight weeks, 41 books and 89 issues Convergence has finally met its end. I think there is a strong argument for the inspiring read of “Never the End” present in most of these finales. Conversely, Convergence been criticized as a sales stunt, so the more cynical finale read is just as viable. Two months later what have we learned? For one, nostalgia can be expensive. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Seven

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Today, Shane leads a discussion about
Convergence 7, Adventures of Superman 2, Batman & the Outsiders 2, Green Lantern Corps 2, Hawkman 2, Justice League of America 2, Superboy & The Legion 2, Swamp Thing 2, and Wonder Woman 2.

convergence divShane: I’m not saying that it’s easy to write a story, but there’s still a basic structure that, if followed, makes the work a bit simpler. You’re going to set the stage and introduce the characters, before moving on to a rising action to give way to the ultimate conflict. Eventually, you’ll turn everything on its head with the climax of the story and begin to settle various plot points, before eventually drawing up an ending. Convergence is no different, and even though the series has been split into eight main issues, these five have all been strongly represented (so far, at least—we aren’t at the conclusion yet!)—but it’s been equally fascinating to see how each two-issue miniseries uses this story structure, as well. Notably, with this month’s final issues, we’ve seen a lot of titles subvert the classic formula, offering conclusions but still sending their characters onward and back into the main event. It’s been done in some cases better than others (I’m now just as sick of the earthquake as I was Telos’ speech in the first month), but it’s refreshing to see that even if a miniseries is the last time we’ll see a character star, their story has at least the potential to continue. Continue reading

Convergence: The Flash 2

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Convergence: The Flash 2, originally released May 20th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: For the several decades that fell between Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen was DC’s greatest hero. He was also dead, mind you, but that’s the exact reason why Barry became so legendary. The Flash sacrificed his life to save the entire multiverse, and by martyring himself he became this almost mythic figure, inspiring the entire DC universe — fans were even known to call him “Saint Barry.” But when Barry returned to life, he was overwhelmed by the praise. Fame was never something he wanted, and he knew he was far from perfect. Every action he took as the Flash, from stopping a mugger to sacrificing his life to save the universe, was taken with only one thought in mind — helping others. This dichotomy between how others view Barry and how he views himself is one of the central themes of Dan Abnett and Federico Dallocchio’s Convergence: The Flash 2. Continue reading

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 2

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 2, originally released May 13th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Patrick: There’s a scene in every Star Wars movie where the score drops out entirely and the audio landscape is occupied entirely by sound effects. George Lucas, for relying so heavily on the excitement and gravitas of John Williams’ symphonic scores, understood the power of allowing the action itself to dictate the viewer’s sonic experience. Suddenly, Luke and Vader’s lightsaber duel in Cloud City becomes more intimate and immediate, as the viewer no longer has the dramatic distance afforded us by a full orchestra. A silent medium, comic books have a strange relationship to sound effects: do they imply sound? are they fun panel-dressing? are they a reminder of the medium’s limitations? Tony Bedard and Ron Wagner’s conclusion to the Convergence: Green Lantern Parallax mini-series presents an intense sound effects symphony, only, y’know, completely silent. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Six

convergence roundup 6Today, Spencer leads a discussion about Convergence 6, Aquaman 2, Batman: Shadow of the Bat 2, Catwoman 2, Green Arrow 2, Justice League International 2, Suicide Squad 2, Supergirl: Matrix 2, and Superman: The Man of Steel 2.

convergence divSpencer: Early in Convergence, when first issuing his decree that the various cities fight for their survival, Telos declared that if anybody refused to fight, or tried to team-up and work against him, both their cities would be destroyed. It was a threat he made good on almost immediately by destroying the people of Kandor, and as a plot point, it forced confrontations between the cities that otherwise probably wouldn’t have happened. In this week’s Convergence tie-ins, though, that decree officially becomes moot as team after team decide to quit fighting and instead take Telos on together. Cooperation — or, at least, attempts at cooperation — is the name of the game in Week Six. Continue reading

Convergence: Superman 2

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Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Convergence: Superman 2, originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Mark: I really dislike Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel. It feels like the filmmakers fundamentally do not understand what makes Superman special. Strip away his Kryptonian background and all of his super powers, at the end of the day what makes Superman super is that he stands as an example for good. And while New 52 Superman wasn’t bad, there’s just no comparing to pre-Flashpoint Superman. This is a lived-in Superman, an older Superman. Perhaps overpowered by the end, but the emotional connections he had with other characters, especially Lois Lane, were rich. All of that history may have driven to narrative dead ends, but as a character this Superman is basically the best, and having Dan Jurgens back for a proper send off makes Convergence: Superman 2 one of the few highlights of Convergence last week. Continue reading

Convergence: Speed Force 2

speed force 2 convToday, Spencer and Michael are discussing Convergence: Speed Force 2, originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: What does it mean to be a family? It’s a broad question with probably millions of valid answers, but at their best (and at my most idealistic), I think families exist as a sort of support system. Spouses support each other through thick and thin; parents protect their children and teach them the skills they need to be self-sufficient adults, but also act as a safety net for when they fail; children eventually return the favor and usher their parents through old age. In an ideal family no one member is carrying all the weight — everybody has something to contribute. That’s a lesson the Flash, Wally West, needs to be reminded of in Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett’s Convergence: Speed Force 2, an issue that reestablishes the importance of the familial bonds between Wally and his kids and as well as their roles in the family without Linda. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Five

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Today, Drew leads a discussion about Convergence 5, The Atom 2, Batgirl 2, Batman & Robin 2, Harley Quinn 2, Justice League 2, Nightwing/Oracle 2 and Titans 2.

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Let’s you and him fight.

Comics, Traditional

Drew: Superheroes fighting superheroes. It feels like an admission that I may never understand the appeal — it really feels like an admission that punching and flexing is what superheroes are all about, morality be damned — but it’s hard to deny how popular those match-ups are. Thor fights Iron Man and Captain America in a inter-dimensional extradition misunderstanding. Batman fights Superman in order to bring about the dawn of justice. It’s a well-known, well-worn comics trope, which makes Convergence — the tournament-style showdown between various DC heroes from various continuities — a kind of fanboy fever dream. That is, unless creators see these match-ups as a means of subverting that particular trope. All bets are off this week, as the Convergence tie-ins get to their fights (or lack thereof) proper. Continue reading

The Multiversity 2

Alternating Currents: The Multiversity 2, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing The Multiversity 2, originally released April 29th, 2015.

You’re missing stuff by reading too fast.

Mercury Man, The Multiversity 2

Drew: There’s a specific type of confusion that comes when reading certain Grant Morrison comics — the kind that comes when you have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but you have faith that it will all make sense in the end. Or, at least, you’ll be able to draw conclusions from it in the end. Mercury Man suggests that it all makes sense if we just slow down to make all of the connections, but Morrison books tend to require reading at a pace several orders of magnitude slower than the average comic. That Morrison doesn’t write “the average comic” is exactly why his works are so worth that effort, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make them incredibly difficult to talk about. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Four

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Today, Patrick leads a discussion about Convergence 4, Action Comics 1, Blue Beetle 1, Booster Gold 1, Detective Comics 1, Infinity, Inc. 1, Justice Society 1, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 1, and World’s Finest 1.

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“Can we please, for just one night, not talk about the damned dome?”

Lois Lane, Convergence: Action Comics 1

Patrick: As we head into the fourth week of convergence tie-ins, two things are becoming clear. The first is that everyone is sick of dealing with this dome — artists, writers, characters, LETTERERS PROBABLY. Previous weeks have gone into the inconvenience the dome represents, but this week seems united by a theme of dome-fatigue. Part of that may come from the fact that many of this week’s heroes hail from universes and continuities that are either far from classic or have been rebooted so many times as to make their timelessness a little dubious. There’s a freedom in that less-strict reliance on legacy, and many of this weeks tie-ins generate totally satisfying catharsis all on their own. They just always also have to deal with “the damned dome.” Continue reading