Convergence #0 opens with a dazed Superman asking, “Where am I? Readers might find themselves similarly confused, as this prelude to DC’s spring event is a bit of a mess. As a comics news reader, I’m aware of the basic premise of Convergence sees the return of various abandoned/alternate DC continuities in April and May, leading to a mini-relaunch of the publishing line in June. But one shouldn’t have to rely on months of press releases and announcements to understand what’s happening in this, the ostensible entry point of the event.
Superman finds himself flung outside space and time where he’s confronted by the Brainiac of Future’s End, who’s been assembling bottled cities on a sentient planet. Superman speaks to the planet’s “soul,” which is suffering from an identity crisis that causes it to manifest as various incarnations of the villain from the past 60 years. Superman is confronted by various Metropolises (Metropoli?) that have been collected and is sent back to his own time by the planet, with no memory of what he’s seen. The planet then creates a new identity that resembles Metamorpho as designed by Rob Liefeld and makes cryptic remarks about pitting these captured cities against each other. The end.
The script, by Dan Jurgens and Jeff King, seems to be 20 pages of story spread out over 30, resulting in a slackly paced first half and an overstuff second. It’s not bad, but the sense of time being marked is unmistakable. There are also too many out of context references to recent stories from other books like the Doomsday Virus or Vril Dox. Are we as readers of Convergence supposed to care about these elements? And if so, why aren’t we told why in this issue?
Ethan Van Sciver turns in strong art, particularly in two double-spreads and their depictions of Brainiacs through the years, but aren’t well served by the fact that much of the book takes place in space and the desert, respectively. Ultimately, a “Who’s Who In Convergence?” text section at the end does more to create excitement for the main story than this issue’s sequential content.
The maxim that every comic is someone’s first is one Convergence #0 would have done well to follow. Thankfully, the days of awkward expository dialogue and characters introductions are largely over (see: Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men), but a story hinging so heavily on alternate continuities needs more clarity. This week’s Avengers: Ultron Forever, for instance, demonstrated how to introduce characters and plot to new readers clearly and concisely.
In the end, while the main story could very well end up being a success, Convergence #0 itself is unnecessary at best and alienating at worst.