By Josh Krubner
The setup is simple. "Cities,” representing worlds (see: alternate universes) have been gathered on the planet (either named Kandor or also Telos… this much is as of yet unclear) to fight to the death (also unclear) with only one winner/one city who will be allowed to continue to exist. For argument’s sake, we’re going to refer to this world as Battlepl- … “Thunderdome,” for the rest of this article.
The Hunger Games
That shitty Stone Cold movie that was a Battle Royale Ripoff called The Condemned
The Running Man (which the Hunger Games ripped off for a billion dollar franchise, despite this being the best version)
Marvel’s 2015 Secret Wars
Marvel vs DC
Marvel’s Original Secret Wars
Playstation Fighters Battle Royale (is that the name of this smash bros shameless knockoff?)
And of course:
Super Smash Bros!
And you’d be… exactly- moderately right.
The actual rules of Mortal Kombat are so mind-numbingly insane, but that’s another article. And while it’s a BLATANT Secret Wars ripoff, despite being “not all that good or eventful” and best remembered as “the Series where Spider-Man got a black costume/the symbiote first showed up (in issue #8 as a little black dot… seriously, it wasn’t anything great)," Secret Wars at least made more believable sense and wasn’t “fucking stupid” as Convergence has been thus far.
Due to some sort of world-ending “crisis” that happened on its own or was caused by the Super Braniac (we’ll get to that), various “cities” have been plucked from their worlds. They've been preserved under a dome for one year and now forced to fight each other for survival. While I’m unsure of the EXACT number, I think it might be 40.
The tie-ins give us a good indicator of who the major players are:
(mind you, I have in my hand a convergence supplement promo pamphlet with ALL of the tie-ins and NO total list of worlds/fighters)
While initial reviews for Convergence 0 were less than favorable and many (myself included) felt the issue was just a really poor “setup,” it was the final pages of Convergence #1 that made me groan. While announcing the fighters/champions, Telos actually references the worlds by their event name.
This is an ACTUAL line from the comic...
But it’s the worlds he doesn’t introduce in a ham-fisted event acknowledgement that take front and center. See, Convergence 0 starred the New 52 Superman. He didn’t have a city, so he was kicked out/returned to the new 52? Also… unclear.
Convergence #1 stars the Earth-2 (NEW52 Earth-2 that is) heroes. There’s also a bunch of others thrown in the mix yet to be revealed. So what are the worlds of the tie-ins? How do we/I feel about them? What can we expect?
As standard with ANY event… tie-ins are not exactly required reading material. This doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. The Green Arrow Blackest Night tie-in is probably the greatest single issue tie-in I’ve ever read. I like to stick with the three issue minis and we don’t exactly have those here. Instead we have TWO issue minis for EVERYONE.
I might as well break the disappointment to you now, but I am genuinely interested to see how this is received across the board, where it ends up, and as always if I am right.
The story is simple. Anyone trapped in Old universe 2011/”pre Flashpoint” Gotham is present. This includes:
Superman, Lois, Jimmy, Batman, Damian, Dick, Jason, Babs, Cassie, Steph, and every batman villain ever except the joker and a host of supporting players I’ll get to. Anyone OUTSIDE of Gotham is “dead” except… here is where my theory comes in.
While Flashpoint completely changed certain characters from their origins to their relationships, etc… it didn’t change a select few, namely the cast of Green Lantern and Barry Allen himself. The escape rope to the old universe was always present in the Batcave in the form of the letter from Flashpoint’s Thomas Wayne that Barry gives to Bruce at the end of Flashpoint. Being as this Barry is the Barry from the pre FP universe and the FP universe, and ended up becoming the New 52 Barry. I like to think that Barry isn’t gone.
The Batman theory gets shot to shit, when pre FP Batman all the Robins and everyone he ever met are hanging out under the Gotham dome.
My biggest issue with the pre FP Convergence arc is that 30% of the super population all got trapped together, including anyone who ever wore tights in Gotham (100% of which never had super powers). Yet they don’t interact together and they don’t try to form a new Justice League (something that happens in every “what if” with a missing JL…ever).
The whole thing feels very Dark Knight Rises when the people of Gotham were under siege and acted like they didn’t even care. There’s some cool psychological moments from some – Mr. Freeze telling Nightwing he stole the same diamonds and it doesn’t matter anymore, he’s just bored. And some really awful ones (both Wally West and Ray Palmer having utterly lost their shit. Remember, these people have fans who haven’t seen them since 2011!).
We also don’t know what “world ending crisis” all the different places endured. Was it super Braniac? Flashpoint? Something else?
Events can be great or they can be a huge mistake, retconned six months later. There’s still time for this one to converge into a collection of good stories and ideas, but it hasn’t happened yet. It doesn’t have the cosmic sprawling epic feel of something like Blackest Night and for being Mortal Kombat in SPACE it really should.
A cool idea would have been bringing out Elseworlds, Tangents, and even the Alien vs Predator cameos. Instead we have the “same people” from the “same universe” at different times fighting and it’s gonna get confusing.
Then its followed up by the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS time, something that was great once, but like Watchmen before it, probably isn’t worth revisiting.
There’s also the idea that NOTHING from Earth-2 or Futures End mattered even slightly (Earth 2 is the team that shows up in Convergence 1. WE could have been introduced to them in THIS issue. Super Brainiac is killed by Superman five years from now in a story no one read that went nowhere).
So I’ll reserve judgment until week 2, but as of right now… I’d say Zero Hour was better.
We are now up to Week 3 and while I can’t say the “story” has gotten any better, I can properly outline the players.
The Main Book:
The main book seems to be following the heroes of Earth-2. They haven’t done or accomplished much really and im waiting for new 52 Superman to show up and miraculously save them. We did get a great shot in Convergence 1, I believe, of Supermen from all the different worlds flying off to meet up and talk options. We’ve yet to see ANY followthrough on that.
The tie-ins/the players:
These are the characters who have been around since their inception in 1950-1959, aged in “real-time." They were all taken right before Crisis on Infinite Earths happens. Following these stories can be a real treat for long-time fans, but leave most newcomers scratching their heads. It’s as if we just jumped back to 1985, but with memories and continuity going back to 1950. Almost all of them do NOT reflect their later versions in the other books/continuities, and not knowing how they all merged/lined up gets very confusing quickly.
Zero Hour: These are the heroes who emerged after the end of Crisis but before the end of Zero Hour, restarting almost everyone to having debuted in 1980 with origin stories taking place roughly around 1985 or 1986. Even though Barry Allen was killed in the Crisis, he was part of this world/timeline as well as his memory and legacy live on. Someone like Kara being Superman’s cousin however, never existed. Batman wasn’t with the Outsiders, etc.
Pre Flashpoint: These are the heroes who emerged after Infinite Crisis, starting everyone back around the timeline of 1985.
Kingdom Come: This is a dark possible future for the heroes who emerged at the end of Zero Hour. It has since been prevented and only lives on in Convergence.
Tangent: This is an elseworlds DCU.
The Zoo Crew: Another elseworlds universe in which all humans are animals.
The Red Rain Universe: This is another possible world in which red rain turns everyone into vampires.
Flashpoint: This is the universe from the Flashpoint event.
So far the only New 52 players are the ones from Earth-2.