“Convergence” #8 winds down DC Comics’ two-month event, as Jeff King, Scott Lobdell, Stephen Segovia, Carlo Pagulayan, Eduardo Pansica, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Paz, Scott Hanna, Trevor Scott, John Starr and Peter Steigerwald tie off most of the story into a conclusion. Considering how many previous issues felt like King and company were stalling for time, it’s surprising and disappointing that this issue feels rushed in places, with some questions half-answered at best.
Before this review continues, it’s worth noting that it’s almost impossible to talk about which aspects of the conclusion worked versus those that didn’t without mentioning those specific plot points. So, if you have not read “Convergence” #8, please understand that there will eventually be large SPOILERS AHEAD the further into the review you read. So turn around now if a SPOILER WARNING makes you think you’d like to wait until you’ve read the issue yourself.
The art in “Convergence” #8 is surprisingly consistent when you consider that there are four artists credited for pencils alone. It’s not a perfect match, but the overall look from one artist to the next is maintained: a somewhat clean style with some expressive faces. Some artists are clearly better than others, though. The splash across the top two-thirds of pages 2-3, for example, isn’t bad at a glance but has some real deficiencies as soon as you examine it. Most of the characters are in truly random poses that make little sense; why is Donna Troy adjusting her hair and posing for a modeling photograph, or Dawnstar staring at the ground while supposedly talking to the people facing her back? It looks like little thought or time went into those sort of scenes; when Waverider lands in front of the group of heroes on page 7, half of them are looking at him while the other half are once more just staring off into space. It’s too bad, because it detracts from moments like the current Brainiac appearing and looking genuinely creepy in his three-eyed glory. The closing sequence also looks great, both with the dust and dirt blowing over the destroyed cities, as well as the lush and restored planet with the cast of “Earth 2” standing on its surface.
King and Lobdell’s conclusion is ultimately very predictable. For instance, “Earth 2: Society” was signposted in such an obvious manner. Similarly, the non-destruction of the present DC Universe also isn’t much of a surprise; as much as some fans would have liked to see otherwise, everything wasn’t about to get tossed into the garbage bin this quickly. The story is also badly paced; there’s a lot of snarling and then suddenly a lot of speeches before everything is resolved with the wave of a hand. In short, there’s no real drama to this comic; the events of this issue almost certainly should have kicked off a little earlier, because a slower pace here could have brought in some tension that simply does not exist. Compare that to the early issues where it’s nothing but the “Earth 2” characters randomly fighting disposable villains and the miniseries’ overall pacing simply does not work.
There are a couple of moments that might make readers sit up and take notice, though. On a small scale, the idea that the current Brainiac had been continually warped by any and every universe-shattering event at DC Comics is pretty funny; it’s no small wonder he ended up a mad villain trying to save bits and pieces of each iteration of the multiverse. Of all of the characters to permanently slip from one universe to the next, having the awful character of Parallax shifting from the universe that ended with “Zero Hour” to the original pre-“Crisis on Infinite Earths” multiverse — and presumably halting the two major deaths of the Flash and Supergirl — is downright bizarre.
That leads us into the big “change” in the multiverse. It’s in quotation marks because it’s much less of a change than it seems to be presented. In seeing some of the worlds in the four pages that spotlight them, readers will almost certainly see more recognizable worlds than they might have otherwise expected. Namely, most of them were already in existence as shown in the just-wrapped “The Multiversity” event spearheaded by Grant Morrison. Clearly, some of the universes that Morrison had set aside are now being filled by previous iterations of DC Comics that have since “evolved,” which no doubt is giving editorial some wiggle room to make some changes here and there. It does open the possibility for more pre-“Crisis” or pre-“Flashpoint” comics to show up sooner or later, although it’s vague enough that exactly what sort of manner we’ll see that is up for debate.
With all of this going on, it’s frustrating that King and Lobdell still don’t wrap everything up, though I can understand that they simply may not have had permission to give us a greater look at the new structure of the DC Comics Multiverse or a better understanding of what the evolved versions of the pre-“Crisis” and pre-“Flashpoint” eras now entail. Even with all of that in mind, it’s almost painful to see the duo still dance around the identity of Telos. For an agonizingly uninteresting character, the idea that readers will be champing at the bit to have Telos re-appear so we can learn his identity is perplexing. If anything, I suspect most readers will groan when they discover that not only is this plot point unresolved, but that it’s strongly implied that Telos will eventually return.
“Convergence” #8 achieved its purposes — both to restore a few earlier eras of DC Comics as well as to give the company a certain amount of breathing room for its now-completed move across the country — but it’s a shame that it couldn’t have been stronger. With the amount of time allotted to create “Convergence,” this should have been a dynamite comic but, instead, it feels like one that stalled for weeks and then raced to a conclusion, while leaving little threads unresolved. Some of the tie-ins were fantastic and there were some good individual moments within the main comic itself. On the whole, though, it’s a below-average two-month experiment that didn’t hit the heights that were presumably possible. “Convergence” itself will almost certainly fade into a distant memory with other past events like “Day of Judgment” and “Genesis.” Some of the end results may end up proving to be golden but, overall, readers’ minds will move forward instead of lingering here.