Written by: Dan Jurgens, Jeff King
Art by: Ethan Van Sciver, Marcelo Maiolo
Now is the time, we are on the precipice of the end times! Well, sort of. At least comic book wise we are close to the end. For Marvel, everything will be blown to bits with “Secret Wars” while DC will smash everything together with “Convergence”. So what does this mean for our favorite comic book cannons? Honestly? No idea. I have a standard “No Crossovers” policy that is strictly enforced. However, DC has been kind enough to tease the crossover with a zero issue for “Convergence”. So let’s jump the gun and use the issue as flimsy evidence for my half-baked accusations!
In Convergence #0, we find Superman torn from his own universe and trapped in limbo with…something—let’s call it Braniac Prime for brevity. There are actually a lot of cool visuals going on, and since this limbo doesn’t really have any rules there are glimpses of alternate universes and conventions that defy physics. This was probably one of my least favorite spaces of the issue because while the visuals rocked, drawing inspiration on some of the most iconic moments of DC history, Brainiac didn’t really have much reason for doing what he’s doing. It takes less than two pages for him to trap Superman in an unbreakable machine that apparently causes memory loss but he doesn’t glean anything from his hostage, he just babbles a lot of nonsense before leaving. But you know what? That’s okay because though this part is a bit flimsy, it leads into the actual meat of the story.
So like all death traps before, Superman eventually escapes. He knows Brainiac is a danger to Metropolis and he has to get back to protect everyone. What’s his game plan then? Smash. Yeah, he punches the nearest wall. Sometimes I think Clark Kent and Bruce Banner have more in common than they would like to admit. Anyway, he busts open the wall and finds himself in an endless desert. Lacking anything else to punch, Superman starts putzing around the sand dunes—but suddenly he sees movement out of the side of his vision. He sprints to find whatever else could be in this lifeless desert. Who does he find? Only OG Brainiac in all his pink polo shirt glory.
I am always a fan of dreamlike scenarios in comic books because it gives the creative team the chance to mess with the layout, to make things strange to the reader and really manipulate not only the setting but the perception as well. This issue really plays well with the strange and messes with perception. It gets to the point where we don’t even know if all of this is in Clark’s head or if it is actually happening. Page layout blends into each other beautifully as the world builds itself, washes away, only to rebuild once more. The whole book helps to lend credence to the idea that this “Brainiac” holds the utmost control. After all, the very fabric of this reality bends to his whims, what possible limits could he have?
If you thought this was a weird, hippie, magic cloud swirls issue though, get ready for some really good fight scenes. Since this “Brainiac” has complete control to build or demolish, you can bet he’d make a seriously awesome clone army that Superman has to dispense. Yeah sure, he’s super strong and invincible but when there is a tidal wave of Brainiac robots, Clark gets into some good slug fests. It helps that these robots feel no pain, never flinch away from the battle; they are simply an oncoming hoard, like a damn breaking and flooding a river. So enjoy some over the top smash panels… but also some disappointment.
This was honestly a really enjoyable book. I was reading along, very enthralled—and then the story fell out from under me and the whole thing fell flat. You see, after fighting through a platoon of never ending Brainiacs, Brainiac Prime suddenly decides Superman doesn’t belong here and summons a magic tornado to send him back to Metropolis, sans his memory. It’s one thing I get really tired of in prequels and zero issues, some contrived reason for the hero to never mention this or remember the specifics ever again. Why should I invest in this book if all relevancy is being purposefully removed from the story? Sure an entertaining read can take you far, but why does the story need to collapse? Instead, why not have the characters bring this knowledge back and build on this knowledge later. “Invincible” did this incredibly well. Mark first starts off fighting his own father, a very powerful Viltrumite. This is an incredibly lethal adversary, but one who would also hold back. Next Mark fought another Viltrumite, one who was renowned for his ability and desire to kill, Conquest. This match was heinous and nearly killed Mark and those he cared for most. And after that? He had to fight an entire war against the Viltrumites. Do you see what I’m saying? Build on your foe. Make every following encounter worse than before. Wiping away character history is simply a waste.