Over the last several months there has been so much confusion and speculation about the big event that was going to occur across April and May of 2015. We all knew that something was coming. All the signs pointed that way. It was the anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, all the weekly titles were set to end then, so many things had been hinted at during Trinity War and Forever Evil and DC was moving their offices to the West Coast, that a big event was coming was obvious. What that event would be was shrouded in mystery.
We now know that this event will be Convergence. DC is putting all of it’s major ongoing titles (especially, but not limited to the ones under the New 52 label) on hiatus for two months as they make their move and giving us a nine-issue Convergence event series as well as 40 two-issue titles each taking place in a different moment or world from old DC continuity. I’ll be completely honest: I couldn’t be more excited (well, apart from the $365 price tag that collecting the whole thing will cost). Let me take this opportunity to list five reasons why.
1. My biggest reason for being excited about Convergence is that I love multiple continuities. I wasn’t even born when Crisis on Infinite Earths was written but when I finally discovered Crisis, it became on of those stories that changed not just the way I view comics, but fiction in general. The idea of a “Multiverse” which has come and gone as DC has moved from Crisis to Crisis serve as a point – counterpoint (and Flashpoint) which I absolutely find enthralling. The basic idea here is that the characters we know and love exist in multiple universes simultaneously with the basic themes and plot points often remaining the same but allowing for different kind of explorations of the characters that we love. So, we can notice that Golden Age Batman is different than Silver Age Batman is different than contemporary Batman is different than every live-action and animated Batman that we’ve seen thus far and still enjoy all of them for what they are and enjoy both their similarities and differences.
And the basic post-Flashpoint explanation of the current state of the Multiverse has been that there is a variety of “worlds.” 52 of them to be precise, thus the “New 52.” We’ve seen some of them explicitly that exist alongside the world which contains the current continuity. Earth One has existed in several graphic novels presenting an attempt at a much more “realisitc” portrayal of our superhero characters. Earth Two has been featured in the ongoing comic book of the same name where many of the “main” heroes died early on and other heroes were left to fill the void (we’re seeing some of the ramifications of that in the current weeklies leading into convergence itself. Earth Three was the Earth of the Crime Syndicate which invaded main continuity after the end of Trinity War and leading into Forever Evil and Villains’ Month. But all of these were glimpses of the Mulitiverse which was recognized both in the books themselves as well as externally by most readers.
The culmination of a lot of this was the long awaited “Multiversity” series by Grant Morrison. This series has featured different Earths (including one that is basically Marvel comics as well) in different one-shot issues in which the main superhero characters (most of which are variations on our favorites) deal with an event that has been leading to the collapse of some worlds and threaten to destroy others (again potentially leading into Convergence). And the icing on the cake in this series for me has been that the heroes from different worlds all recognize one another because (of all things) of the comic books that tell their stories. The series has portrayed a Multiverse in which the comic book characters in one world are real characters in another creating a cycle which the heroes have been able to utilize in order to have some rudimentary communication between worlds. “Multiversity” has also come with the above map which shows how all these different worlds connect to one another, how they relate to places outside these different universes like Apokolips, and even how comic book features like the Speed Force and the Monitors help to explain the difference between worlds and the connections between them at the same time. And the final issue of “Multiversity” is billed as taking place on our Earth. That’s right. Our “real” Earth. The same one in which I’m sitting on a laptop writing this article and you are presumably on another computer reading it.
All of this (TL|DR, I know) goes to say that I love multiple continuities and Convergence is meant to be a celebration of just that. All of these miniseries are meant to give us a glimpse into other worlds. Some of which we’ve seen before. Some of which are mostly new. Some of which stem from the continuity we left behind when Flashpoint thrust us into the paradigm of the New 52. But all of which are a celebration of the one plot device which I love for allowing us to explore our characters and let creative teams plumb the depths of their imaginations while both paying homage to continuity but not being restricted to it at the expense of creativity.
And as a side note, even if you don’t buy my multiverse argument, you really should pick up “Multiversity” at least when it comes out in trade because it has been great fun.
2. My second reason for being excited about Convergence is that I love big events. Now don’t get me wrong. I feel the same sort of event fatigue that you do. As someone who buys issues month-to-month, I feel the same kind of frustration that many of you do when it takes a long time (sometimes a year or more) to get any kind of resolution to a story arc and when we move from one long story to another without so much as a breather in-between. I grow just as weary as you do when many of those long arcs come with their own crossovers and you feel beholden to the publisher because you need to collect them all in order to get a picture of the whole event. I get just as skeptical as you do that some of these huge events are marketing ploys meant to bolster the publisher’s bottom line at the expense of both creative stories and our pocket books.
…they are so much fun. That is why we feel the fatigue, because we oftentimes can’t stay away maybe partially because we feel that Pokemon kind of desire to “catch/collect them all” but also because we enjoy these events. And while we all know that consequences in comic books are rarely permanent, these events are opportunities where the stakes are raised and all bets are off. When Trinity War led into Forever Evil I was there reading every page and panel. You may think it silly, but I was legitimately concerned about whether they’d kill of Nightwing for good and was worried about how our heroes would be able to combat the Crime Syndicate. And when we as readers think back fondly and with nostalgia to our favorite stories, sometimes we think of individual issues or smaller stories. But in my experience, we much more often think of these larger events and bigger stories (Knightfall, Year One, The Long Halloween, War Games, the list goes on and on for me).
And while we’re never certain that each event will be of the same quality as the last one or our favorite ones (I’m looking at you Villains’ Month), we all so often find ourselves reading them anyway because of the pure joy they bring us. And I’m willing to be optimistic that Convergence will be one of the better ones.
3. Up next in my list of reasons why Convergence gets me excited is that I’m pumped for some of the particular stories. I’ll admit that this reason isn’t higher on my list because there are plenty of these stories that I don’t find personally interesting, but there are some of them that I do. And while I understand why someone could feel hesitant about some of the particular creative teams or feel like it’s just a tease on the part of DC to give us a two-issue taste of stories we loved but from which we have already moved on, I still think there are going to be some gems in this mix. I’m particularly excited about the new Batman and the Outsiders issue and the story with the Question and Two Face of the titles that will be related to Batman as well as the Shazam story which is set in the world of Gotham by Gaslight. There’s a little something for everyone here, the enjoyment may be brief, and while we may not enjoy them all and some around bound to be better than others, I think Convergence will be a fun ride.
4. My fourth reason for being excited about Convergence is another one that might admittedly be personal to me. I’m an academic by trade and a philosopher by calling and I am a big fan of any time that the fiction I consume has depth and subtext, and many indications seem to suggest that Convergence may be no different in that regard. DC co-publisher Dan DiDio has given interviews talking about how, at it’s heart, Convergence is meant to be a celebration of heroism and a deep look at the nature of heroism that is not just in the fictional characters we love but is one of those common flames in the heart of all people. That notion, more than just making me excited, does warm my heart. It’s what I love about comic books. It’s why I read superhero comics almost exclusively. If DC is able to actually do that and give us a moment not just where we can enjoy some fun stories but also where we are forced to sit and think for a moment, Convergence may actually be spectacular.
5. Lastly, I’m excited about Convergence because of the possibilities for what might come next. Convergence is set up to be an event of a Crisis kind of scale and even bigger than a huge event like Forever Evil. The last event of this scale that we had was Flashpoint and the results of that event gave us a near-complete reboot of continuity. And while I don’t think we’ll see a new reboot or a complete return to old continuity, I do think there are a wide array of possibilities for what we might see next out of the wake of Convergence. If nothing else, I’m hoping DC at least drops the “New 52” label from their main line of ongoing series that has served to separate these comics too much from older comics (the issue numbers should be clue enough at this point) and a continuing thorn in the side of people who have been more reluctant to read newer stories or who have given up on New 52 comics because of some missteps made early on. However, at least until they release the first solicitations for June (which will still be a while) the future of DC does seem to be up in the air in the way that I find incredibly exciting.
And those are my five reasons why I’m excited about Convergence and I hope that you are too. Certainly these are my own opinions and I know and expect that many of you will disagree, and perhaps I’m too overly optimistic. But, I hope that when April and May finally roll around, that you’re right there in the comic book shop with me buying, reading, discussing and enjoying Convergence.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the other side of the argument on whether this is a negative thing for the DC Universe.