Finding something positive to say about chapter two of this ill-judged event series has defeated me, and so as I try to find something worth saying on the subject this is not going to be a pleasant run through the merits of the book, as the fact is it is pretty allround awful as a read and does nothing flattering for anyone appearing in its pages. Here is an issue where things are teased, but remain just out of reach and with no satisfactory payoff.
For instance, a fine cover from Ivan Reis promises an intriguing meeting between the grizzled Thomas Wayne and the Batman of main earth. With so much potential in a face to face confrontation between the volatile Thomas and his unforgiving 'Son' expectations are high for some significant explosive words to be exchanged... for as we know Bruce Wayne forgives little, is immensely suspicious of anyone, and has no doubt heard the edict of the allpowerful Telos that he is now at war, with Gotham's fate in the balance. What might Bruce do in this situation? Plan against Telos surely. And prepare for strangers entering his city from the desperate other cities out there. Why then does he act as passively he does when the strange Batman and Dick Grayson appear in his very home unnanounced? Where is the well regarded Batman paranoia here? What did he and Thomas discuss, and why? Why is he waiting in the cave when the war is out there...?! So many questions, so much out of known character. And So so badly done.
The dissapointment throughout this issue is on a near page-by-page basis. Opening with FIVE full pages devoted to the Earth-2 Dick Grayson reflecting on how he ended up here it is the sheer dullness of Grayson himself and these five pages of already well trod information which sets the style of the remainder of the book. Five wasted pages on the woes of Dick Grayson and a background check we don't need. Writer Jeff King never rises past the level of mediocre, with so much emphasis having been put on the warring nature of this new environment this situation should make for a neat allegory of the Earth-2 heroes experiences on their own world... as survivors and refugees themseves now their very homelessness has ironically put them out of Telos' remit for containment and study. This then offers them a chance of opposing Telos in a way none of the captured cities are capable of doing, all they have to do is trust to their instincts and use their gifts to navigate a path through the chaos around them. And this to their credit is exactly what they do. Convergence is of course billed as a battle-fest between varying realities and their captive superheroes, but apart from very brief glimpses of distant figures fighting the promised expectation for a battle-arena format never appears. Anyone buying the book expecting to see a fight and someone lose will be rather dissapointed. Anyone buying the book expecting to see a follow-up to the Zero-issue with Superman discovering Telos will be dissapointed. Anyone buying the book expecting to see much loved old characters revisited will be dissapointed. And anyone buying and hoping for intrigue and subplots will be left disspointed...
There is virtually nothing in Convergence #2 that stands out, when I talked about last issue I made the point that Convergence is, technically, a book that is review proof. As an unashamed exploitation book aimed at the Battleboard faithful out there on the interweb plot was never going to be a consideration, but not only is plot basic in the extreme the book has failed to deliver on even its most exploitative promise of a versus scenario and clash of worlds. There is none of the promised involvment of Superman and the Justice League, instead this is unexpectedly a story with Earth-2's surviving heroes at the center of things.
For fans of Earth-2 this unforseen development means there is at least the satisfaction of seeing their heroes at the front of major events and proactive in dealing with the situation, but with character work near non-existent this star treatment is an empty gesture. As under Jeff Kings pen these ciphers are reduced to just stickmen on the page, superheroes going through the motions in getting one event to move towards the next. It is difficult to see anyone out there being left satisfied by this series as it offers so little in the way of substance and delivers few of its advertised promises...
The best panel in the book from a design perspective, the low angle impresses on the reader the urgency of the rising evacuation ships and Dick Grayson's hopes fading away with them. The use of perspective is excellent.
Characters acting out of character is the main theme threading through this book, it was a problem which afflicted Worlds End and here the lack of any awareness by the writers and editors as to what Val-Zod's character has been shaped from is a tresspass which betrays not just the character himself but any reader who cares about these characters.
Caught in a stranqe world with a clear moral dimension to what is surrounding him hard violence and blazing anger should not be Val-Zods chosen response here anymore than it was when he faced the evil Kal-el clone on earth-2, as those violent impulses are simply not an integral part of his outlook on life. This is the sort of scene where the writers lack of care and understanding of such a basic point undermines faith in both him and the book itself.
As Grayson is haunted by thoughts of his dead wife and seeing her mirror image on the screen in the Batcave Afred steps out from the darkness and introduces himself. It makes for a strange scene - why is it the butler and confidant of Batman is so unconcerned about this breach of security and the motives of these two strangers? Why for that matter does he not immediately recognise the one-time most famous Robin of them all sat before him...?
In the same vein as the above - Is this scene at all feasable? Bearing in mind this is Bruce Wayne from before the point of the 2011 reboot of DCs Universe is this plausible as a reaction to a stranger in a Batsuit confronting him? Out of the many options available to him this was the worst way to tackle such an important moment in Thomas Wayne's life, this Batman called Thomas is a complete stranger to Bruce Wayne. In the context of the book his instant trust and unmasking to this unknown man are completely out of Bruce Wayne's character. That he then surrenders his Batmobile to this man leaves the question as to what Bruce/Batman is doing in the manor above in the first place and what he intends to do now that he has no Batmobile! In a book powered by such plot convenience and thoughtlessness this scene is the one that irks the more as it was what the issue was actually sold on...
The real batman would ahve tried to get the scope on all of this behind the scenes, and figured out a way to win and or avoid all of this!
he has gone against likes of darkseid, so why not do that here now?