Convergence #1

After last week's prologue, DC Comics's new two-month "Convergence" event officially kicks off with "Convergence" #1 and a raft of tie-ins. Jeff King, Scott Lobdell, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, John Starr and Peter Steigerwald bring us to the world of Telos, where bottled cities from all of DC Comics' forgotten eras are preserved. While the comic looks great, this is a rather slow start to an event that's been hyped for so long.

The basic premise -- different eras of DC Comics clashing with one another -- is simple enough that it shouldn't take an oversized issue to get things rolling. Yet, 30 pages later, King and Lobdell have just finished the basic setup. If you're thinking that this is what "Convergence" #0 was supposed to do last week, well, you're in for a bit of a disappointment. While "Convergence" #0 had Superman (in the middle of last year's "Doomed" storyline) get a quick overview of Telos, "Convergence" #1 has some of "Earth 2's" heroes getting their own introduction as they escape last week's finale of "Earth 2: World's End."

For those who didn't read the "Earth 2" titles, having a 12 page sequence updating readers on how these characters survived their own book (and watching them bicker with each other and then attack some robots) is a lackluster start. At the same time, it's more energetic than having Telos' avatar appear and lecture them on the purpose of the world. It completely misses the basic writing tenant of "show, don't tell." Rather than King and Lobdell doling out the purpose of the Telos containment planet over time, here we just get an unexciting information dump. It is, to put it mildly, underwhelming. That's a shame, too; this is supposed to hook readers right off the bat, opening "Convergence" in a way that's exciting and worth following on a weekly basis, but -- instead -- it seems more likely to generate apathy.

So why pick up "Convergence" #1? The best reason would be Pagulayan, Paz, Starr and Steigerwald's visuals. It's been a while since I've read a comic penciled by Pagulayan and I'd forgotten how fun his art is. The "Earth 2" characters' situation is interesting only because of the sheer energy that we get via the art. Yolanda's emergence in particular could have come across as very cheesy, but her eruption out of the ground (and her hand in Jay's face) bursts to life in a way that can't help but grab your attention. The same is true for the heroes fighting off the robotic minions of Telos; it's not a very interesting scene, but there's a fluid nature to the characters that makes it more interesting. Little touches -- like the way that Yolanda's hair moves as her body whips around -- are carefully drawn, and even the different shades of red in her locks versus Jay's scarlet outfit shows that attention to detail.

The two-page spreads that Pagulayan and Paz draw also manage to have a certain level of grandeur here, which is impressive when you realize how much space is ultimately wasted in terms of storytelling. Handed moments with nothing but some slow narration, the duo give Telos a majesty that the story itself doesn't provide. Best of all is the spread of all of the different worlds' populations looking up as Telos makes his proclamations. From the cartoonish Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew to a grim, apocalyptic Superman, they handle the different tones and styles with great ease.

With a slew of "Convergence" tie-ins over the next two months, they look to be the more attractive option for readers dipping their toes in the event. Perhaps "Convergence" #2 will pick up the pace and excitement level next week now that the exposition dump has come to a close. For now, though, this continues the trend from "Convergence" #0 with an underwhelming comic that's should be hooking us as readers.

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