CONVERGENCE & THE FUTURE OF DC COMICS [Hangout]

This week DC Comics’ wrapped its latest event series, Convergence, and the DC Universe will never be the same again! Or, it’ll be the same as it ever was! We’re not entirely sure. Read on as Sarah and Marcus chat about what Convergence means for the future of the DC Universe and what new series they’re most excited for in this Kabooooom Hangout!


Convergence Future of DC Comics Hangout feature header

Sarah: So… Convergence. DC Comics’ latest event series. In your review of its final issue you gave it a 3/5, which is fair. Not a great issue, but not the worst either. Was the event enjoyable overall?

Marcus: It had this huge feel to it, you know? For me it probably wasn’t enjoyable for the same reasons it was for others, but I think it did what it set out to do and it did it in a way that people could say, “Okay, that’s cool.”

Sarah: How would you compare it with their last few events – like Flashpoint or Blackest Night/Brightest Day? Is there another I’m missing?

Marcus: Forever Evil.

Sarah: Oh yeah… okay, well those two I mentioned were the last DC events I read. I was pretty burnt out after Flashpoint.

Marcus: I’d rank it far below Blackest Night. Above Brightest Day and probably right around Flashpoint and Forever Evil. And really, if you think about it, Flashpoint and Convergence are very similar.

Sarah: You had mentioned that Convergence certainly achieved what it set out to do, and from my understanding, this was sort of the anti-Flashpoint, right?

Marcus: Yeah. Where Flashpoint erased much of DC’s continuity (leading to the New 52), Convergence restored it.

Sarah: Surely, DC editorial will argue this was always the plan, but it seems to me this was their response to fans’ continually griping about the New 52.

Marcus: That’s totally what I get from it. DC saw they had like, what? Five to six titles that consistently broke the top 20 in sales, and they probably decided that wasn’t enough. In April 2015, Batman, Harley Quinn, and Justice League were the only ongoing DC books in the top 20 on Diamond’s list of sales.

Sarah: Wow. Well, we know they’re leaving Batman and Harley Quinn well enough alone, just letting those creators continue working their magic. And Justice League is and will always be a cornerstone of DC’s line.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Alex Ross
Cover to ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition’ by Alex Ross.

Sarah: We should talk about exactly what Convergence did as it pertains to DC’s future. For one, it reversed all of DC’s previous crises, correct? Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis…

Marcus: Pretty much erased all the crises, but I think where everyone is focusing on is that it pretty boldly erased Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Sarah: And Crisis on Infinite Earths was the grandaddy of them all. It basically rewrote DC continuity and brought DC Comics into the modern age. Until 2011’s Flashpoint, that is. But now, with every previous crisis undone, what we’re left with is a DC Universe just brimming with possibility. I believe that’s what everyone is finding most exciting.

Marcus: Yeah. Everything is up for grabs now. And I guess, to compliment/set this all up, Grant Morrison did the mini-series Multiversity. In The Multiversity Guidebook you get to see all these different Earths and the characters that inhabit them and that now sets the foundation for all the possibilities available to the DC creative staff.

Sarah: Admittedly, I need to reread Multiversity, but that was a series dealing with multiverses bleeding together. So Convergence is the fallout of that.

Marcus: I don’t think anyone ever said, “Hey! Multiversity is the staging ground for Convergence.” But it really kind of was…

Sarah: To clarify again, when we say EVERYTHING is available now, that means the pre-Flashpoint, pre-New 52 characters and time frames, the stuff from before Final Crisis, and even versions of characters from waaaay back, like Golden Age, Silver Age, right?

Marcus: Yup. Even Wildstorm, Jim Lee’s imprint from his time before DC Comics. If you think about it, DC has really been working with this reemergence for some time. They already have a Batman ’66 series, Injustice: Gods Among Us, all of these “separate” worlds.

Sarah: I think this is really smart. I mean, I understood the rationale behind wanting to simplify and condense their universe with Flashpoint in order to entice new readers. But like, people just want good stories. A casual fan won’t care exactly what version of Batman this is, they just want a story where he’s a great detective, outsmarts his foes, and saves the day, yada yada yada… And Injustice, I mean, damn. That series is HOT. It’s always a top seller on Comixology and its characters and stories have no relation to the New 52.

Marcus: If you think about it, the success DC has had post-Flashpoint was primarily with stories that do exactly that. Convergence is a way for DC creators to take characters that were buried in past events and re-energize them.

Sarah: I wonder how the comic book community will look back on the New 52 years from now. I don’t think it’ll earn the scorn 90s era comics get, but I’m trying to think of which New 52 versions I really like and all I’m coming up with is Aquaman. Batman was basically the same pre- and post-Flashpoint, and Harley Quinn’s solo series might as well have been in its own universe since it was totally disconnected from Suicide Squad.

Marcus: Yeah. So there’s not much left. I guess Flash has been pretty consistent. And here’s the thing, we are listing pretty major, canonical characters here. With Convergence we will now have a chance to see characters like Bat-Mite and Captain Carrot get some attention.

Sarah: That’s true! Like Prez, which looks pretty cool if you ask me. And these will likely also be separate from those more mainstream characters and titles. But it makes me wonder about those larger figures, like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc., showing up in those more offbeat titles.

Marcus: I think that’s the whole idea. Here’s a story like Prez and it has nothing to do with the DC superheroes we have all come to expect in a DC series. And it may end up being just a really great story that some will gravitate towards because it’s different and unconcerned with continuity.

Sarah: It seems to me in the same vein as Gotham Academy. You don’t need to know much about Batman or really Gotham City to enjoy that series. And this is such a smart move by DC. I don’t want to say they’re copying Marvel’s playbook, because technically what the two publishers are doing is different, but they’re opening themselves up to stories and ideas that aren’t inherently “superhero”.

DC Comics Divergence Starfire Midnighter Black Canary We Are Robin
‘Starfire’ #1, ‘Midnighter’ #1, ‘Black Canary’ #1, ‘We Are Robin’ #1.

Sarah: So what other post-Convergence, or what are they calling it? Divergence. What Divergence books are you look forward to?

Marcus: Well, when we did our little snap judgments about the new line-up a while back I listed Starfire by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner as one I’m looking forward to, but now I’m really looking forward to Earth 2: Society.

Sarah: I haven’t read much Earth 2. I read a little Power Girl/Huntress when it started, but I didn’t hang around long. And correct me if I’m wrong, but Earth 2 was another early relapse on their whole “there’s only one Earth” policy that came out of Flashpoint. That’s in another universe with other versions of DC characters.

Marcus: Right. Pretty soon after Flashpoint, DC decided, “Heck, we’ll add in Earth 2.” The characters there have the same names but come from different backgrounds. I really dug Earth 2: World’s End, which to me, was more of an interest in the Convergence story than their main story was.

Sarah: I know I’m looking forward to Starfire, definitely, cause I love me some Palmiotti and Connor, but also Black Canary from Brendon Fletcher and Annie Wu. Fletcher’s run on Batgirl has been fantastic, and not that Gail Simone’s wasn’t, but this series feels hip and ‘of the times’ in way most comics don’t. At least most of DC’s books don’t. Oh! And I actually just read the preview for it today, but We Are Robin seems neat, too.

Marcus: There’s so much potential now. I think about a character like Starfire, who I grew up with in Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans, and now we have an ongoing solo series with her. The possibilities are endless there.

Sarah: Oh yeah, especially when you consider the disaster that was Red Hood and the Outlaws and what it did to poor Starfire.

Marcus: They can completely ignore the over-sexualized Starfire that Lobdell created… and you just finished my thought. [laughs]

Sarah: [laughs] She’s a recognizable character thanks to the Teen Titans cartoon and now they can give her a series that’s more like that in tone, but still not beholden to whatever Cartoon Netowork does.

Marcus: Yeah. She’s so much more than what she was in Red Hood and the Outlaws. I loved seeing her in the Convergence Titans tie-in because she seemed like a more natural progression from New Teen Titans.

DC Comics Divergence Earth 2 Society Bat-Mite Prez Section 8
Covers to ‘Earth 2: Society’ #1, ‘Bat-Mite’ #1, ‘Prez’ #1, ‘Section 8’ #1.

Sarah: Are there an particular characters or time frames you want to see resurrected that they haven’t announced any plans for yet?

Marcus: You know, I’ve been processing all the possibilities. There’s so much history that’s wide open now. I think Telos, who was a major player in the Convergence storyline is an interesting character that was left open-ended. I’m interested to see what they do with him.

Sarah: Okay, so since I didn’t read any of Convergence, really, who was Telos?

Marcus: Telos was a “slave” of Brainiac who basically was an individual at one time, but had complete rule over the planet where Brainiac kept all the worlds he collected. In Convergence, Telos set all these DC Universes against each other and then eventually found redemption. Think of him as a DC Silver Surfer. He did the bidding of his powerful master, only to be set free to discover his true identity.

Sarah: Okay, that makes sense in that, y’know, “Eh, that’s comics for you!” kind of way. I know I’d like to see some titles from that time right before Flashpoint because that’s when I was just getting in to comics. Not long after Final Crisis. I really dug Dick Grayson as Batman (though maybe that was because Scott Snyder was writing it) and I wouldn’t mind revisiting that time.

Marcus: Then you, my friend, should check out Earth 2 because Dick Grayson plays a major role in Convergence.

Sarah: Okay. I will!

Marcus: I think I’m most excited for the stories that don’t have a connection to any DC world. There are some great authors and artists getting a chance at DC now… Ming Doyle, Patrick Gleason, Lee Bermejo… and I bet they can come up with some really original ideas.

Sarah: It sounds like it’s really exciting times for DC. They’ve been trailing behind Marvel, like you said, ever since the New 52 luster wore off, and I know I’ve been reading more Marvel than DC lately, but there’s a lot of upcoming stuff I’m excited for.

Marcus: Yup, and Marvel’s thing really doesn’t excite me as much as the potential Convergence has established. But I’m sure we will get into that in a month or so.

Sarah: It’ll be so nice to not have them tied to silly continuity rules. Like, if they want to write a book starring Krypto, they can! Hell, give us a whole super-pets line again!

Marcus: Exactly. Someone wants to write an Abigail Arcane story, they can! Oh! And pre-Flashpoint Catwoman!

Sarah: Yeah, who knows where Secret Wars will leave the Marvel universe. It seems to be a different route to a similar destination, where instead of opening the floodgates to any possible universe, there just bringing all their characters into one universe. Basically, letting us have our Peter Parkers and our Miles Moraleses.

Marcus: It’ll be interesting to discuss the similarities and differences of where Secret Wars leaves the Marvel universe, since we will have a few issues of the new DC Universe to base an opinion on. Overall, for me, if DC’s future isn’t bright, then something is definitely wrong.

Sarah: Yeah, if DC screws up this opportunity to start cranking out awesome story after awesome story, then I’ll be really disappointed. And actually, let me rephrase that, not every book needs to be a hit, but I like that they’re trying new things.

Marcus: I couldn’t have said it better.

Sarah: And though it was called “New” 52, it was really focused on the old. Classic, iconic characters, but without the years of development that made them interesting

Marcus: “Hold on to what you know about the characters, but know we aren’t going to mention it at all.” Good riddance to that.

Convergence 8 interior two-page spread
The multiverse post-‘Convergence’, click to embiggen.

What did you guys think of DC Comics’ continuity-restoring event, Convergence? Are you excited for what comes next? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

 

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