Convergence Round-Up: Week Eight

convergence roundup 8

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

Justice League 23.1: Darkseid

darkseid 23.1

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League 23.1: Darkseid, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

villain div

PatrickAny time I write about Darkseid, I’m worried that I’m going to misspell the character’s name. This is a fairly unique problem for me — outside of my unfortunate “Kitty Pride” habit (which I kicked after reading like a dozen issues of All-New X-Men), I’ve got a pretty good handle on how everyone’s name is spelled. I put the dash between Spider and Man and I know to double the R at the end of Dex Starr. But when I get to Darkseid, not only to I need to wrestle with internal pronunciation (‘darkSEED’ vs. ‘darkSIDE’), but I have to fight all of my elementary school spelling-training. “I before E, except after C and when sounding as ‘ay’ such as in ‘neighbor’ and ‘weigh.'” My mnemonic rhyme fails and I’m left with what’s in front of me. There’s an odd parallel to the presence of the New Gods in the New 52 – there’s a lot that we could know about them going in, but none of it is going to do you any good when you try to understand the character that’s in front of you. Ladies and gentlemen: Darksied Darkseid.
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Batman/Superman 1

Alternating Currents: Batman/Superman 1, Drew and ScottToday, Drew and Scott are discussing Batman/Superman 1, originally released June 26th, 2013. 

Drew: Paper or plastic? Beatles or Stones? Smooth or crunchy? We love our false dichotomies, and while Marvel vs. DC may be the most obvious example in the world of comics, Batman vs. Superman is a close second. They’re presented as polar opposites enough to make it feel like a given, but are they really so different? Superman may draw his power from the sun, and Batman may draw his power from the shadows, but move beyond their color palettes and you’ll find that both fight for justice, both refuse to kill, and both have a penchant for wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes. Of course, if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll find that their reasons differ on a fundamental level, growing out of their profoundly different psyches. It’s those differences, rather than the light/dark dichotomy, that Greg Pak sets to explore in Batman/Superman 1, and the result is a surprisingly fresh take on the pairing. Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates exactly two things: love and crummy puns. In that spirit: we made some fun superhero Valentines for you! Feel free to use them and share them with someone you love, more after the break!

blue lantern valentine

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Earth-2 5

Today, Shelby and Courtney are discussing Earth-2 5, originally released October 3rd, 2012.

Shelby: Reintroducing old heroes to old audiences is not easy. The whole New 52 relaunch has been about juggling continuity and fresh stories to keep both new and old readers satisfied.  I’ve seen it as a great opportunity to learn more about characters new to me. I don’t feel so attached to old continuity, and instead like to discuss the differences between the old and the new, and what they mean for the story as a whole. I don’t know how I’m supposed to have a meaningful discussion, however, when I’m distracted by poor writing and cluttered art.
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DC Universe Presents 0

Today, Patrick (guest writer) Bryan Coratti are discussing DC Universe Presents 0, originally released September 19, 2012. DC Universe Presents 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

There are five separate stories within DC Universe Presents 0, each one from series that were cancelled back in April. Generally, these stories serve as excellent reminders of why those series were shit-canned in the first place. Patrick and Bryan tackle these stories one-by-one.

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Worlds’ Finest 0

Alternating Currents: Worlds' Finest 0, Peter and Drew

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing Worlds’ Finest 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Worlds’ Finest 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Peter: There is something to be said for the best-friend formula for dramas. You see it all the time with things like buddy-cop dramas and best-friend roommates. However, there are some basic formulaic elements that must be present for it to work well. Up to this point, Worlds’ Finest has been lacking. Trust me, I know. Hell, we all know. We constantly talk about what could make this book better, and what it’s specific issues are. No matter how long that list is, it must start with the basic components of friendship and duality.

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Earth-2 0

Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Earth-2 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Earth-2 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Peter: The Second Wave was an interesting move on DC’s part: start handful of series half way through the publishing year. So, many of them launched right in to full-blown stories. The Zero Issues have allowed them some breathing room. Specifically the Earth-2 Zero Issue has allowed James Robinson to flesh out some history before the chaotic and destructive #1 and introduce a new character rooted in the history of Earth-2, and his fate is still uncertain.

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Worlds’ Finest 4

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Worlds’ Finest 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.

Patrick: It did not take long for the good will this series established in the first issue to wear off. Two months ago we were saying “well, I still remain hopeful” and all those things you say when you feel like you’re witnessing a one-time mistake. But issue three doubled down on its mistakes and reduced its leads to painfully dull stereotypes. This month’s outing is only an improvement in that it commits no new sins, but that’s cold comfort when business-as-usual is boring, unlikable characters.
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Earth-2 4

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Earth-2 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.

Patrick:  Self-awareness is all the rage these days. You can get away with telling any story – no matter how cliche or inane – by simply having the characters acknowledge the various well-worn tropes they’re engaged in. It’s a safe way for writers and film-makers to assure their audience that they’re in on the joke – yes, we all know how crazy this looks. Joss Whedon is the king of this sort of thing (y’all saw Avengers, right?), but you see it everywhere. There are a couple of draw-backs to this approach, but the biggest danger is that of white-washing your characters’ personalities. If everyone is savvy enough to comment on their genre-adventures, then no one’s really an individual. Another big draw-back is that it makes everyone extremely — and interchangeably — chatty. While Earth-2 manages some neat concepts and fun characters, the cut-and-paste nature of the dialogue is holding it back in a serious way.
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