Convergence Round-Up: Week Three

convergence roundup3Today, Spencer leads a discussion about Convergence 3, Adventure of Superman 1, Batman & the Outsiders 1, Flash 1, Green Lantern Corps 1, Hawkman 1, Justice League of America 1, Superboy & The Legion 1, and Wonder Woman 1.

convergence divSpencer: With over 30 issues of Convergence under our belts, the formula’s become pretty clear — every issue covers the same beats, including the effects of living under a dome for a year and Telos’ infuriating speech when the dome finally drops (although to be honest, I stopped reading the speech sometime in the middle of Week 2). While Week 3 can’t help but to follow these same patterns, it’s also by far the most experimental week of Convergence yet. Several issues focus on stories that could have easily been told with these characters outside of the dome, while others are more interested in exploring the Crisis on Infinite Earths backdrop. Whatever the case, this week’s batch of tie-ins is a refreshing change of pace from a pattern that was already starting to grow old.

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Convergence: Swamp Thing 1

Alternating Currents: Swamp Thing 1: Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

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Drew: When Steve Carell left The Office, series writer BJ Novak tweeted a series of Michael Scott story ideas that would never be told. Some of those pitches seemed hilarious, but what actually stuck with me about them is that the opportunity to make them had simply stopped. They couldn’t ever become episodes of The Office because Michael Scott was no longer on the show. That kind of context-specific storytelling is constantly turning over in comics, where the monthly grind of continuity requires that no one situation can last too long. You’ve got a great Superior Spider-Man pitch? You’ve missed the boat. A Dick-as-Batman idea? Not gonna happen. A JSA arc? Too late. Convergence has offered one last hurrah for characters from very specific moments in their history, but that “one last hurrah” has often felt more like a eulogy than a celebration. With Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, Len Wein and Kelley Jones take that sense of mourning a step further, as Pre-Crisis Swamp Thing barely clings to life. Continue reading

Convergence: Superboy 1

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Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: Superboy 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: If there’s one flaw to this second week of Convergence tie-ins that wasn’t present in the first, it’s the fact that these characters can’t really change or evolve. Since week one took place at the end of the Post-Crisis DC Universe, the creative teams could examine what an “ending” for their protagonists may look like (before cruelly snatching those endings away), but this week’s books have to keep their stars in a sort of suspended animation — unable to evolve or drift too far from their established fate, they’re more than ever defined by their most basic conflicts and character traits. This isn’t always a bad thing (it works out better for Parallax than, say, Azrael), but it is a bit of a tricky hurdle to leap. Do Fabian Nicieza and Karl Moline manage to succeed in crafting a compelling story for Superboy despite the limitations of the format? I’d say yes, but despite this impressive success, they do falter just a bit on some of the smaller details. Continue reading

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 1

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Michael: With the leak of the trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this past week, I’ve been thinking about Man of Steel a lot lately. And while I could write a book on why I didn’t like that movie, it really boils down to the fact that I found most of the things that Superman did in Man of Steel to be very out of character for the hero that I know. In the realm of comic books, characters go through many changes — I mean, you’ve gotta keep things interesting. But the changes that work are typically those that essentially feel true to those characters. Tony Bedard has been handing in some very solid Convergence tie-ins so far; they’re not perfect but he really has the core of these characters down, no matter what point in time they’re in. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week Two

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Today, Shane leads a discussion about Convergence 1, Aquaman 1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat 1, Justice League International 1, Supergirl Matrix 1 and Superman: Man of Steel 1.

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“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

-Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation.

Shane: Success comes from committing wholeheartedly to a goal, and that’s true in everything — even comic books. If the first week of Convergence focused on setting up the event with slow-moving exposition, the second week lurches startlingly forward, throwing the story in multiple directions. But even as the main event strives for greatness, its sister titles stumble along, burdened by continuity errors and contradictions between stories, almost as if the writers sped through their research. If Convergence was designed to celebrate specific eras of years past, what does it say that half the books seem to betray that history? And that begs the follow-up question…if the stories are good enough, does it even matter?

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Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1

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Today, Mark and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Mark: It’s been about four years since DC’s controversial reboot into the New 52, and now that it’s come to a nominal end, I think it’s fair to say it was a success. Yes, I miss old, family-man Superman (and man was it great to see him again last week) but going back is also an illustration as to why the New 52 was necessary. Having that 30 years of history (counting from Crisis on Infinite Earths) was both a blessing and a curse. These characters were fully formed over decades of discovery. They were adults with families and complicated relationships. They carried the weights of their decisions with them. The problem is that eventually the weight of all that continuity became overwhelming, the stories you’re able to tell are limited by the past. Continue reading

Convergence Round-Up: Week One

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Today, Patrick leads a discussion about Convergence 1, The Atom 1, Batgirl 1, Batman & Robin 1, Harley Quinn 1, Justice League 1, Superman 1 and Titans 1.

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“Life – it’s literally all we have. But is it any good?”

-Forrest MacNeil, Review.

Patrick: If the first week of Convergence has taught us nothing else, it’s that DC is not bringing back characters and concepts of yesteryear to watch them frolic around in their native environments. The premise of Convergence — multiversally displaced cities forced into combat with each other — looms large over the all the tie-in issues. That’s what DC Comics is for the next two months: not a bunch of old things you remember, love and/or tolerate, but something new, wild and frustratingly untamed.

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Convergence: Speed Force 1

speed force 1 convToday, Spencer and Michael are discussing Convergence: Speed Force 1, originally released April 8th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence this week, click here.

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Spencer: How do you decide what comics you buy? When I first started reading monthly comics (gasp, almost ten years ago!), I chose my books based almost solely on what characters appeared in them — which, at the time, meant I bought a lot of books starring the Teen Titans and the Flash. It took a year or two before I really started recognizing the names and talents of the creative teams, and a few more before word of mouth started turning me onto new series and new horizons. While today I’m more likely to follow creators I know will deliver strong stories, there’s still a part of me willing to take a chance and pick up a comic solely because a favorite character makes an appearance, and that’s precisely what led me to check out Convergence: Speed Force 1, which stars my favorite character in all of comics, Wally West. It turns out that my reasons for liking the issue are just as personal as my reasons for buying it in the first place — it’s not a perfect issue by any means, but man is it good to see Wally again. Continue reading

Gotham Academy Endgame 1

Alternating Currents: Gotham Academy Endgame 1, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Gotham Academy Endgame 1, originally released April 1st, 2015.

Drew: Ah, the framing story. What else provides such instant meta-text? It’s what turns The Princess Bride into a story about bedtime stories, or Don Quixote into a story about adventure stories. Of course, it also adds a layer of distance, reminding us that we’re consuming a story, just in case we might have forgotten. At its most cynical, that distance can provide plausible deniability of the events of the story (like so many hand-waving sitcom episodes based on A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life), but at its most sincere, it allows a single narrative to celebrate the act of storytelling. In the case of Gotham Academy Endgame 1, it also allows for stories that otherwise wouldn’t fit in the narrative, revealing the depth and breadth to the world of the series while also showcasing some fantastic talent. Continue reading

Batman and Robin Annual 3

Alternating Currents: Batman and Robin Annual 3, Michael and Shane

Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 3, originally released April 1, 2015.

Michael: Convergence has already begun, whose end will signify the sort-of-new direction for DC’s entire line. While Batman and Robin 40 was Patrick Gleason’s final issue on the series, Batman and Robin Annual 3 marks the quiet death of the Batman and Robin series that Gleason and Pete Tomasi re-launched back in 2011. So prepare yourselves for Batman and Robin IN SPAAAAAAACE!

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