Convergence #2

The battle on Telos picks up in "Convergence" #2, as the heroes of Earth 2 get moving on a plan. Despite this uptick in momentum, the issue is still a mixed bag that can't quite grip the reader. Writer Jeff King does some smart, necessary structural work, kicking off arcs for the POV characters, but the script unfortunately needs some cutting. Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz create great ensemble panels, but they present an underwhelming vision of Telos. "Convergence" #2 is an enjoyable read, but it doesn't have the heft of a massive event book.

"Convergence" #2 deserves credit first and foremost for having its characters make choices, rather than just react to Telos' choices. The Earth 2 characters are given motives and shown making plans, and the issue has more dramatic movement as a result. Of course, its biggest development is the meeting of Thomas and Bruce Wayne, and King charges the scene with appropriate emotion and foreboding.

Unfortunately, King slows the book down with excessive narration from Dick Grayson. At times, the foreshadowing in his narration adds tension to the book, with Dick hinting "if I knew then what I knew now" and "by then it would be too late." Most of the time, though, it's too obvious and doesn't offer more than the artwork already conveys. Dick tells the reader things that should be evident from the in-panel action, such as "My mind reeled!" or "Tommy was scared."

In the action scenes, it almost reads like a prose overlay. For example, Dick narrates, "Telos disappeared back into the ground from which he came" over a panel in which the reader can clearly see Telos doing just that. This sort of narration doesn't take advantage of comics as a visual medium.

For the artwork, Pagulayan and Paz are at their best when the ensemble is on the move. They handle the group fight shots well; even when the figure work isn't particularly detailed, it's always easy to understand not only what each individual is doing, but where they are in the larger scene. Though I'd like to see some more detail in the future, these scenes are readable and dynamic. Pagulayan and Paz have a particularly solid handle on Flash and the Batmans, capturing the former's speed and the latter's gloomy bulk. However, despite being written up as nearly omnipotent, Telos doesn't look very impressive. Pagulayan and Paz don't give him much power or speed and, as a result, there's a disconnect between the text and the visuals.

Colorists John Starr and Peter Steigerwald create a convincingly gloomy Batcave to contrast with Telos' planet. I'm still intrigued by the choice to make Telos' planet so bright when it's the scene of slaughter, but it does give the whole thing an uncomfortable sense of spectacle. These screens really are colored like Telos' happy place, which makes him more unsettling.

In sum, "Convergence" chugs along in issue #2. While I've been surprised and impressed by the storytelling possibilities in the tie-ins, this main title needs some more mojo to take it from have-to-read to must-read.

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