It all ends here. Convergence #8 brings to a conclusion DC’s big event. It has been a pleasure seeing the characters from the real DCU that existed prior to Flashpoint. Having these characters back made me realize even more how much I miss them. I was naturally distrusting of Convergence when it was first announced. It seemed to me that DC was just going to temporarily return the real DCU to me before cruelly putting it back in a box and then proceed to shovel more New 52 titles down my throat. But, maybe DC has more planned for these characters. Let’s hit this review and find out just exactly what DC has in store for us with the conclusion of Convergence #8.
Words: Jeff King & Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Stephen Segovia, Carlo Pagulayan, Eduardo Pansica & Ethan Van Sciver
Inks: Jason Paz, Scott Hanna, Trevor Scott, Stephen Segovia & Ethan Van Sciver
Colors: John Starr & Peter Steigerwald
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with our assembled heroes telling Parallax that by killing Deimos he has sealed their fate. Dr. Fate says that this planet exists outside of the Multiverse. That when Parallax destroyed Deimos he unleashed the temporal energy that was stolen from the Time Masters. That power is now returning to the planet’s core. The core will soon ignite and this planet will become a proverbial bullet that will destroy the Multiverse.
Parallax says that this can be stopped. That he will stop it. Hal says that if all the Green Lanterns give him their power rings then he will stop the destruction if the Multiverse. Telos then uses the surface of the planet to bind Hal. Telos says that they are not going to let Parallax create another Zero Hour event. The real Jay Garrick and the New-52 Jay Garrick both say that they can feel the planet’s vibrations increasing. Telos says that the countdown has begun.
Suddenly, Booster Gold, Goldstar (Booster’s sister) and Waverider appear on the scene. Wavered says that the temporal energy is too much for one of them to absorb but there is someone else who can. Waverider says he has that ability to see into the future and now he no longer sees the future. Waverider says that they have a plan that is risky but worth taking since they are dealing with the imminent destruction of the Multiverse.
Wavered says Brainiac can help stop the destruction of the Multiverse. Waverider then frees Brainiac. All of the assembled heroes freak out and immediately attack Brainiac. Brainiac brushes off the heroes and then tells them that he will destroy all of them if they fight. Superman says that if the Multiverse dies then so will Brainiac. Superman says that he thought Brainiac was the smartest being in the universe. Brainiac replies that he wanted to be the most intelligent being in the entire Multiverse. Brainiac says that he is not who he was. That he feels pain and loss. He misses his home world of Colu.
Brainiac says that his experiments on this planet have failed. Brainiac says that he was not always a monster like he is now. Brainiac says that he left Colu and travelled the universe in a mission to collect knowledge. But, when he observed the Flashpoint and survived it then he sought to become something more. Brainiac travelled to The Source and beyond. Brainiac then broke into the Multiverse. He reached into the Multiverse for more power. He sought to evolve like the Monitors had evolved. (Crisis on Infinite Earths.) Brainiac then said he got caught in a storm caused by a boy. (Superboy in Final Crisis.) Then he was lost in a tear in reality by a monster. (52.) Brainiac then re-merged into a new reality (New 52) in his current form: a monster.
Brainiac said that his body was lost to the cancerous growths caused by the exposure to the Multiverse. Brainiac says he wishes to return to what he used to be. Brainiac pleads with the assembled heroes and says “Help me.”
Grayson angrily yells that Brainiac is nuts to ask them for help after all he has put them through. Telos then steps in and tells Grayson to not lose his compassion at what could be the end. Telos says maybe it is the end that is what it takes to get people to see their mistakes. Telos reaches out for Brainiac’s hand.
We cut to “Our Universe.” (Uh, no. That may be your universe. But the N52 is most definitely not my universe.) Superman and Supergirl watch the glowing planet breaking into their reality. They hope that whoever is on the planet is fighting the good fight. (That’s right. Just sit your New 52 asses on the sideline while the big boys, the real heroes from the DCU do all the heavy lifting.)
We hop back to Brainiac telling the assembled heroes that he is going to sever Telos’ tie to the planet and take control of the planet. That he is going to channel the temporal energy in the planet’s core and use it to return everyone to their proper worlds. Brainiac says this is the only way to reset the Multiverse. The New 52 Earth-2 characters ask what about them? The ones who do not have a home to return to? Brainiac tells them to choose another universe and he will send them there. Grayson angrily replies that they want their universe.
Brainiac says that all that concerns him is divesting himself of the power in hopes that it returns him to normal. Brainiac starts to channel the energy but then exclaims that something is blocking him from sending everyone home. Brainiac says that it is the first Crisis. (Crisis on Infinite Earths.) That the first Crisis is too strong and that the Multiverse will once again collapse into one universe. Brainiac says that Flash and Supergirl must return to the first Crisis and accept their deaths in order to try to stop the first Crisis. Flash and Supergirl have no problem sacrificing themselves for the good of everyone else.
Superman also agrees to go back to the first Crisis to try to stop it. Lois says that she and their child go wherever Superman goes. Parallax then says that he will go back to the first Crisis with them. That there is nothing left for him in his own universe. Parallax says he wants a chance at redemption. That maybe he can help save Supergirl, Flash and anyone else from dying during the first Crisis. Brainiac tells them that they must prevent the Multiverse from collapsing back into one universe at the end of the first Crisis. If they do so then everything will reset back to what it was before Brainiac brought everyone to this planet. Brainiac then sends Parallax, Superman, Lois, their child, Flash and Supergirl all back to the first Crisis.
In an instant, Brainiac can tell that our heroes succeeded in preventing the Multiverse from collapsing into one universe during the first Crisis. (Holy shit. DC just retconned away Crisis on Infinite Earths.) We get two double page splash shots of the various Multiple Earths popping back into existence. Brainiac says that each world has evolved but that all now exist once again. Brainiac says that he can feel himself being pulled back to Earth-0. But, before he goes he must cleanse the planet so that no trace of the cities or coronal energy can be found.
The New 52 Earth-2 characters are the only people left on the planet. Alan Scott yells that Brainiac is leaving them here to die. (Oh, we could only be so lucky if that happened.) Alan tells Superman, Jay, Grayson and Yolanda to get by his side. We see the entire planet being destroyed as if a nuclear bomb hit it. After the massive dust clears we see the New Earth-2 characters still there. (Damn.) Alan says that with Brainiac gone this world is no longer tied to anyone. That the green had been suppressed by Brainiac. That is no longer the case. We see plants and trees suddenly appearing all over the planet. Jay says that based on the frequency of the planet he can tell that it has been transported back to their universe. They are home.
Telos appears in the sky and says that he transported this planet back to their universe. Telos says that he now remembers his true name. That he knows where is family may be. That he is free. Telos says goodbye and disappears. Alan then says that his power ring picked up a distress signal. That the survivors of their planet are out there.
We cut to the New 52 Universe with the glowing planet suddenly blinking out of their universe. Superman says that he has a feeling that they will see it again some day.
We hop back to the N52 Earth-2 characters. Alan arrives next to the space ships with the survivors of their planet including Grayson’s son. Alan tells them to follow him. That they have a world to rebuild. Grayson’s son is excited that he gets to see his dad again. The End.
The Good: Convergence #8 was a stunning ending to this big event. At least, it was stunning to a long-time DC fan like myself. Crisis on Infinite Earths came out when I was a kid. Even at a young age I knew Crisis on Infinite Earths was something incredibly different. Something I had never seen before. This was the beginning of the Big Event story that would eventually evolve into a yearly occurrence for both Marvel and DC. But, at the time, a massive big event involving the entire universe of characters was something new. And my little kid mind was blown.
I also remember the pit in my stomach as Crisis on Infinite Earths ended. The crushing sadness as I watched DC needlessly throw their Multiverse in the trash in favor of a new streamlined singular universe. I did not read another DC comic, with the exception of the Legion of Super Heroes, for probably about ten years after the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths. This new unified single universe was not the DC for me. It was not the endless possibilities of incredible worlds, characters and continuity that DC’s storied Multiverse offered me. If there was one event I wished I could have rewritten the ending it would be Crisis on Infinite Earths. And now that very thing has happened. And my brain is reeling and trying to process what I just read.
Crisis on Infinite Earths was a success and a failure. It was a success in that it spawned the concept of the “Big Event” that has turned into a yearly sales bonanza for both Marvel and DC. However, it was a failure in that DC fixed a problem that did not exist. And in doing so, DC broke their continuity to the point that they had to go back several more times to try to fix what Crisis on Infinite Earths destroyed. Numerous franchises were irrevocably broken by the destruction of the Multiverse. Legion of Super Heroes was certainly one of them.
Eventually, condensing multiple Earths worth of continuities and characters into just one continuity and one Earth created more continuity issues than it fixed. The result was DC revisited the concept of a limited Multiverse in Infinite Crisis. Then DC brought back a limited Multiverse consisting of 52 Earths at the end of 52. This limited Multiverse was further explored in Final Crisis. Then DC flushed it all down the toilet with Flashpoint as it threw its entire continuity out with the New 52 reboot.
The reason why getting rid of the Multiverse with Crisis on Infinite Earths was a mistake was because the Multiverse is the best literary tool for a writer. The Multiverse is the “Get out of Jail Free” card for continuity errors. The Multiverse opens up endless possibilities for writers to explore different versions of established characters. The Multiverse is a literary concept that offers a writer endless possibilities and flexibility. Getting rid of the Multiverse at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths hamstrung writers. It made continuity issues more difficult to deal with. It made dealing with multiple versions of various characters more difficult to deal with. It also limited the writer’s options for stories.
DC made similar mistakes with the New 52 that they did with Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC panicked and threw the baby out with the bath water in junking their entire continuity much like how DC junked the entire Multiverse back in 1986. The result was a complete failure. The New 52 blessed DC with a temporary sales month for the first year and then crashed and burned into ashes around DC’s feet. DC was still reliant completely on the Batman family titles to power their sales. Even New 52 fans have grudgingly started to admit that the New 52 has been a sales failure. DC’s New 52 was their New Coke moment. And Convergence #8 is the first step to DC re-introducing their Coke Classic: the Multiverse and the Pre-Flashpoint DCU.
DC made the move to retcon the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths with Convergence #8. My jaw was on the ground when I read this issue. I did not expect DC to go that far. Now, the Multiverse was never destroyed and condensed into a single universe at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Instead, DC gives Crisis on Infinite Earths a new ending which, in turn, puts into place a Multiverse that continued to grow and evolve from the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths up until the present time. This is a huge game changer. This opens up so many different possibilities for DC and their writers.
Convergence #8 was a strongly plotted issue. The conclusion hit a stunning climax with the retconning of the ending of Crisis of Infinite Earths and then delivered the satisfying conclusion of all the multiple Earths being saved. There was plenty of tension throughout this issue as we headed toward the climax of Brainiac restoring the Multiverse in its full form. The scope of this ending was properly epic. Convergence felt huge. It felt important. And this ending did this big event justice by delivering several surprises and laying the foundation for a new direction for DC.
I loved the use of Hal Jordan in this issue. I never liked how DC unnecessarily gutted and ruined Hal Jordan when they turned him heel and transformed him into Parallax. Convergence #8 gave Hal the perfect moment to seek his redemption. It was fantastic seeing Hal regain his true heroic heart and volunteering to stop the destruction of the Multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths. The fact that Parallax succeed in stopping the destruction of the Multiverse only serves to heighten his redemption and helps to rehabilitate the character even more.
I also enjoyed the use of Brainiac’s character in this issue. Brainiac has always been my favorite DC villain. And I like that Brainiac was the character who helped restore the Multiverse. Superman is often the character that DC turns to in order to solve whatever Crisis is at hand. The use of one of Superman’s greatest villains to save the day in Convergence was a neat twist. I also bought completely into Brainiac’s motivation for helping the heroes and restoring the Multiverse. Brainiac’s motivation was well fleshed out and explained to the reader and organically developed from the prior issues of Convergence.
The artwork for Convergence #8 was done by committee. And a large one at that! A total of four pencilers and five inkers! But, given that Convergence was being shipped on a weekly schedule I understand the need to turn to a committee of artists in order to crank out these issues in a timely fashion. All in all, given that there were so many cooks in the kitchen, Convergence #8 was a solid-looking issue and avoided a schizophrenic look. I did enjoy that this issue had numerous double page splash shots. That helped to make the scope of this big event seem even larger.
So, at this point, Convergence has concluded, Crisis on Infinite Earths has been retconned and the Multiverse has been restored including all of DC’s pre-Flashpoint continuity. The big question is where does DC go from here? How will this not be an editorial nightmare. How will it remain new reader friendly?
I do believe this is DC dipping their toe into the pool to test the water. Look, DC is never going to come out and admit that the New 52 was a failure. Didio and Lee do not want to lose their jobs. Instead, DC will do what Coke did when they rolled out New Coke. Coke brought back Coke Classic and distributed it alongside of New Coke. And then eventually, after several years, Coke shifted to just making Coke Classic only. And then after many years Coke Classic just became Coke again. It is no coincidence that with the end of Convergence DC will be dropping the “New 52” banner from all of their comic books.
But, all of this is for another article concerning the future direction of DC Comics post-Convergence. Which I will certainly be tackling later this week.
The Bad: I have no complaints about this issue.
Overall: Convergence #8 was a huge ending to this big event. DC delivered a wild ending that ushered in a new era in the DCU. For the first time since Flashpoint I actually feel cautiously optimistic about the direction DC is headed. Of course, this is DC that we are talking about so the chances of them screwing the pooch are still likely. Still, I am far more optimistic about DC after reading Convergence #8 than I was before reading this issue. Hopefully, Convergence #8 is just the start of DC offering readers an alternative to what we have been getting since the New 52 reboot.