Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Convergence Review (Jeff King, Dan Jurgens)


“I wonder if my life would be better without reading anything from this publisher ever again?” is probably not the thought DC want to be leaving readers with after getting through Convergence (and it is a struggle) but it’s the one I had anyway. 

Convergence is DC’s big 2015 summer event that doubles as the death knell of their New 52 line that began in September 2011. 

So which A-list DC talent is scripting the title - Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Brian Azzarello? Nope: Jeff King. 



Who? 

He’s the guy who brought us TV show gems like Due South and Relic Hunter. 

Wha…?

That’s right, he’s not a comics writer and Convergence is his DEBUT book. Obviously everyone has to start somewhere but maybe DC could’ve put King on a smaller title first? Have him prove himself, earn the right to helm a book of this magnitude? Because his handling of Convergence is shoddy at best and the inexperience shows. 

But it’s alright because joining him are possibly the two worst comics writers in the world, Dan Jurgens and Scott Lobdell. What, was Ann Nocenti busy or something? Or maybe Jeff King isn’t real and it’s a fake name like Alan Smithee and King is actually the Trinity of Shite: Nocenti, Jurgens and Lobdell? 

So, the premise: Brainiac has suddenly become like the Borg. Out of the blue he’s decided that his tool, Telos, will gather 50 cities in jars, move them to a planet Brainiac has just made, and have all 50 cities fight each other in a battle royale. Last city standing gets to live. What’s the point of the experiment? No idea. I mean, the newly made planet could quite easily accommodate all 50 cities. Guess he just likes dumb punch-ups? Y’know, for a guy calling himself Brainiac, he comes off as pretty fucking stupid! 

It’s basically an excuse for lots of mindless, boring superhero action where hundreds of versions of superheroes irrelevantly punch each other. Exciting, no? Nope! 

Who’s the main character that we’re following? All there is on the page are scores of superheroes chucked in like a demented chef who doesn’t know what they doing but has a larder of rotting food they need to urgently empty – everything’s the special today!

I think Convergence is supposed to follow on from the two latest DC events, The Multiversity and Doomed, though the opening pages of Convergence get the Doomed setup wrong: Superman says Brainiac infected him with the Doomsday virus. No, Superman ripped Doomsday in half, Doomsday’s purple spoodge went all over Supes’ face, and that’s how he got the Kryptonian STD. Although Convergence does explain what Brainiac was doing invading Earth in that terrible book. And the Multiversity connection is simply that the cities are taken from across the Multiverse – because…? 

This is all there is to Convergence: the Injustice world fights the Future’s End world, and this world fights that world, and so on and oh my god, is this really the best they could come up with?! It’s the blandest, most stereotypical superhero story Jeff King and co. could’ve produced. And of course - SPOILERS but who cares, this book sucks, don’t read it! - it culminates with the Flashes doing the thing they do in every single DC event and a Deus ex Machina that makes the whole thing a complete waste of time. It really is one big middle finger to the reader. 

The one line in all of this that stood out to me was spoken by Hal Jordan as Parallax, addressing a newly revealed, even more underwhelming villain who takes over from Telos: “You’re the worst kind of villain. One obsessed with power for power’s sake… You bore me.” Well said, Hal. And yet if King was self-aware enough to know his characters and their motivations were so lacking, why didn’t he do anything to remedy it? 

There were a zillion tie-ins to this event, some of which are likely to be decent going purely by the numbers, but the actual event itself is utter drek. I didn’t think DC would top Trinity War as the worst event book they’ve ever published but they did it! Impressive how bad these guys can get, eh? Convergence isn’t just the crummiest DC event book ever, it’s the worst comic of 2015. 

To be fair to DC they seem to have learned a little from the mistakes of The New 52. Their new initiative, DC You (named for supposedly highlighting the main themes of characters, talent, stories and fans, and a pun on DC Universe/DCU), has roughly 25 ongoing monthly titles as opposed to an unsustainable 52, with a similar number of limited titles. They’re being more diverse in their content and have realised they are beyond hopeless when it comes to continuity so they’ve given up trying to make any sense of what’s going on anymore – just tell good stories, they say! I guess we’ll see, though sales so far have been very low, nothing like when The New 52 launched. 

But as a poorly conceived/written/executed and utterly boring, overlong book, Convergence is a fitting epitaph to The New 52!

Convergence

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