Converse Convergence: Week 6 Of DC Comics’ 2015 2-Month Event Reviewed In Full! Prime Cuts! Spoilers!

Welcome back to my 8-part column called Converse Convergence where I assess each week of DC’s 2015 2-month event. We’re now onto Week 6!

Converse Convergence Week 6 banner

Week six means picking up the sticks!!! Things have ramped up! The stakes are major major! When this universal event comes to the attention of a Monitor and Darkseid himself, there will be consequences!! Heroes band together. If only it were that easy. Villains gather too. Remember, conflict is the spice of every single story.
Aside from that, the recurring themes this week are sacrifice, surprise, and team work. HAH, I’m riding the same wavelength as Mr. King. Plus, add some very violent scenes and voilà!

Even sweeter is the fact that this is the second week of DIVERGENCE with another sample of ten titles new and/or refurbished, split down the middle.
One last note: admittedly, the second parts to the bulk of this week’s batch are a step above the openers. That is reward enough considering the condensed plotting. The spotlight is shifted to shine on characters left by the wayside.

CONVERGENCE 6

CONVERGENCE #6 (of 8)
“Team Work” (28 pages) by Jeff King & Scott Lobdell; Ed Benes & Eduardo Pansica; Ed Benes, Trevor Scott, Scott Hanna & Wayne Faucher; Peter Steigerwald; Travis Lanham

The opening page showcases the Justice League from ‘our universe’ [Prime Earth]. Yeah yeah!! Batman is determining a sit rep from Martian Manhunter who is with his Justice League United team. Cameos!! Superman is arriving at the focal point where another planet is shoving its way into the ‘main’ DCU. Tagging along are his cousin Kara and some Red Lanterns led by Guy Gardner. This event has not gone unnoticed by heavyweights such as the Guardians of the Universe, Monitor Nix Uotan, and more disturbingly, Darkseid!! Deimos reveals to Yolanda that he has the simplest plan: bring death to all opposed to reshaping the universe into his liking. Jay Garrick and Dick Grayson come across a match between the Extremists and the Titans. The young heroes are not on the winning side. More do-gooders arrive, specifically the pre-Flashpoint Batgirl Stephanie Brown, Flash Wally West and Superman. The logical course of action is to band together and convince all citizens to side against Deimos and his offer. Pre-Flashpoint Superman instills inspiration into Grayson who already has the Bat-symbol firmly placed on his chest. Grayson has a pep talk with Telos in a Stonehenge-like setting. He is convinced to do the right thing and uses his power to maintain the lives of every single individual. In return, he hopes to retrieve his true name and independence. The spattering of heroes are ready to put down Deimos. If only it were that easy!! He is two steps ahead of them. An army of villains appear out of nowhere, ready to keep their livelihoods and aid Deimos in his dirty work. Snuff the super-saps!

Location: Telos [the planet, remember?]

GOSH {Geek-out scene, homies!} The “Flash of Two Worlds” is given a new spin [natch!] when Earth-One Barry Allen comes across Earth 2 Jay Garrick as introductions are made after they almost collide into each other.

WTD {What’s the deal?} Deimos is determined to understand the presence and importance of a different kind of Trinity — “Superman. The Flash. Green Lantern. Why do they resonate like this through time and space? What is so special about them?” My take is that they’re three of Earth’s most powerful beings ever assembled! He continues, “Rule them? These beings are uncontrollable.” “I’m going to lead them to their deaths. All of them.”

C2 {Crisis centre}Me too, kid. A little too serious right now. The sky…it’s red.” – Earth 2 Flash to Pre-Zero Hour Superboy

M3 {Mega-meta moment} At least 15 Earths can be seen when Telos uses his power to prolong everyone’s life span. There is beauty in that act.

Two writers, two pencilers, four inkers, one colorist, one letterer. Team work, indeed!

Impact level: 7.5/10

CONVERGENCE - AQUAMAN 2

CONVERGENCE: AQUAMAN #2 (of 2)
“Deathblow” (22 pages) by Tony Bedard, Cliff Richards, John Rauch, Dave Sharpe

Michael Cray a.k.a. Deathblow sure is living up to his name. He’s on a major killing spree and he’s doing it with the greatest of ease. The regenerative soldier will not quit until he completes his mission: the elimination of the Atlantean king. Aquaman assures the scientists that with the A-list threats he’s gone up against, handling a one-man army is a breeze. The staff of S.T.A.R. are ill-equipped to deal with a murder machine as the hits begin. Arthur gets in a couple of solid punches. The titular hero also has the upper hand hook when he floods the closed quarters. Deathblow manages to break out. There is a reversal of fortune when the crazy commando hacks into S.T.A.R.’s mainframe and accesses a program known as Drydock. Three guesses why it’s named thus and what it does. Arthur drops like a dead fly. Dean Dorrance has a change of heart. The secret is accessing the blood in DB’s system which is the human equivalent of seawater. Equate it to Magneto extracting iron from the bloodstream. DB can’t die but Arthur jabs him in the jugular enough times to take him out. Tremors come about after DB and his city vanish.

Bloody good issue!! Fist-pounding and knuckle-breaking at its best.

Groan/Moan: Brace yourselves for these puns!! “Why am I wasting time on the small fry rather than looking for the big fish? ‘Cause it spooks big fish to see their buddies turned to chum.”

Word reference: What is chum, you might ask? (a) Cut or ground bait to attract fish, (b) fish refuse or scraps discarded by a cannery.

Sticks and stones… Correction: fishsticks. DB resorts to infantile name-calling.

Compensating, much? Knife vs. hook. Which phallic symbol is better? You decide!!

No homo: Deathblow admires his quarry’s tenacity and toughness that he’d like to have a pint or two with him! Aquaman turns it up a notch by mentioning a six-pack.

What a twist! You’re all in for a head turn, myself included when Dean states: “Everyone always thinks that Batman is the dark one in the Justice League but the fact is the truly dangerous one is you.” – Aquaman is officially bad-ass!

Liege of legend: Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman. No contest!!
So long, sucker! Deathblow, by and large!

To be continued: This picks up in CONVERGENCE #7 given the obvious blurb on the last page.

Impact level: 9.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: DR. FATE [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - BATMAN SHADOW of the BAT 2

CONVERGENCE: BATMAN – SHADOW of the BAT #2 (of 2)
“Home is the Sailor” (22 pages) by Larry Hama, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, Elmer Santos, Steve Wands

Aside from Bruce and Azrael being the main attraction, Wetworks get their fair share of the spotlight. The battle takes place on a boat!! I mean, carrier. It’s a catch-me-if-you-can scenario with the mercs trying to tag the Bats. Citizens caught in the crossfire complicate matters especially mother and son Bethany and Damon Rodriquez. Azrael ends up being the voice of reason when he addresses Dane and proposes a truce as well as cooperation. Dane orders his team to stand down. In extremely altruistic fashion, Az-Bats decides to stay behind and protect San Diego while Bruce joins the black ops team to take down Telos.

Trash talk:I may be a dilettante but I know better than to use surveillance optics without lens hoods.” – Batman to Dane and Dozer
True, I don’t have a lot of experience killing but I’ve punched out more people than you’ve kissed.” – again, Batman to Dane and Dozer

En français: One token word/phrase: “Immédiatement!” exclaimed by Jean-Paul

Dept. of Redundancy Dept.What if we defy the challenge…?” – Batman [synonyms of each other] “So, we descend to the lower depths…” – Batman is two-for-two. Figure it out.

Check for errors: Rodriquez [p. 6] or Rodriguez [p. 15]? I’m not of Spanish descent but I’m pretty sure it’s with a “g”.

Word reference: Interdiction – steady bombardment of enemy positions and communication lines for the purpose of delaying and disorganizing progress.

Truce: The Batmen triumphed. Wetworks need to get their A-game going.

Impact level: 6/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: DEATHSTROKE [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - CATWOMAN 2

CONVERGENCE: CATWOMAN #2 (of 2)
““Schrödinger’s Cat, pt. 2” (22 pages) by Justin Gray, Ron Randall, Gabe Eltaeb, Pat Brosseau

Kingdom is coming for Catwoman in the form of that reality’s Batman!! The obligatory clash leads to an intelligent alliance since the real enemy is Bruno Mannheim, leader of Intergang. Before that happens, Selina happens to hold her own against the armor-clad crimefighter and gets enough barbs in as well. Batman doesn’t trust the crafty cat-lady (with good reason) but cooperates nonetheless. Selina slashes Bruno’s ugly mug real good (like she did with Carmine Falcone). The crime boss has Apokoliptan swag making him invulnerable. He swats her like an annoying insect. He has one up on Bats as well. Selina recovers quickly and takes out the power source at the back of his jacket. Sloppy. Never trust anyone more crooked than you. The citizens come out of hiding gun-ho in defeating Batman. Selina is able to convince them to drop their arms. Unfortunately, the earthquake rattles one man and he opens fire. Selina jumps in front and takes the bullet. Her sacrifice surprises the hardened hero. He vows to do his very best to save both cities.

Catwoman kicks butt!! Despite overwhelming odds, she doesn’t let up!

Here, kitty kitty! Selina is dead?!?

And the winner is…Batman. What’s the big idea? This ain’t his book!
Sore losers: Bruno Mannheim and all fans of Selina Kyle.

Impact level: 7.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: GOTHAM by MIDNIGHT [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - GREEN ARROW 2

CONVERGENCE: GREEN ARROW #2 (of 2)
“Mother and Daughter” (22 pages) by Christy Marx, Rags Morales, Claude St-Aubin, Nei Ruffino, Travis Lanham

Dinah Lance and Olivia Queen are given excellent exposure in this chapter. It’s in the title, duh! Surprise is the prevalent theme in this chapter. After assessing the appearance of the dome, Livy and Dinah are transported to Metropolis to face off against the two archers. Conversation, not confrontation, is established. Despite the different realities, family ties are forged between the progenies. Telos mandates that battle take place when the quartet refuse to do so. Dinah uses her canary cry thus launching the salvo. Oliver retaliates with a tear gas arrow. The pairs run in opposite directions not wanting to harm or kill. Telos demands victors. He blocks an exit for Oliver and Connor. The women easily vanquish the men. The real element of surprise is Livy’s own meta-ability: a whistle that paralyzes. The men are kayoed. Dinah asks Telos if that is satisfactory. She and Livy are transported back from whence they came. Hours later, the men regain consciousness. They are shaken by the tremors. Aside from fighting on, the bond between father and son is fortified, much to Connor’s delight.

Aptly named:That’s my mom. Things always have to make sense.” “And they damn well would, if I was Queen of the Universe.” – Olivia and Dinah

Wayback playback:This feels like the Twilight Zone version of Family Feud.” – Oliver

Breath-taking view: A part of Metropolis is on a giant floating hunk of rock.

Recognition: One of the avenues is named after Mort Weisinger. He is credited with explaining Superman’s powers in a more scientific way. He also edited SUPERMAN from the 40’s to the 60’s. Plus, he contributed many things to the mythos. Check http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Mort_Weisinger

Victory, thy name is Woman!
Defeat, thy name is Man!

Impact level: 8.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: GREEN LANTERN CORPS–LOST ARMY [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - GREEN LANTERN PARALLAX 2

CONVERGENCE: GREEN LANTERN•PARALLAX #2 (of 2)
“The Parallax View” (22 pages) by Tony Bedard, Ron Wagner, Bill Reinhold, Paul Mounts, Dave Sharpe

Parallax is on a major tear!! He’s making mincemeat of Electropolis. Kyle barges in. He offers to take care of Hal and asks the High Council to recall Princess Fern and her troops. The Prime Minister acquiesces. Lies!! The General tells the Princess to raze Metropolis as an act of vengeance. Drones zap Hal until he breaks his concentration. Kyle isn’t too pleased with the underhanded tactic but he seizes the opportunity to reason with the former GL once more. Just like with Zero Hour, Hal is lucid enough to perform one more heroic deed. He’ll fight in Kyle’s place. He jettisons the novice back to Metropolis which works in favour of that city. Telos determines that the first round goes to the megalopolis. Fern and her army are transported away. He also announces that Electropolis has been decimated by Parallax. DDAAMMNN!! Tremors interrupt the celebration. Kyle’s ring is unable to detect his idol. He must push forward in his new role.

Beaming with confidence:Your power ring may be the most powerful weapon in the universe but it’s only one of 3,600 and Parallax wields the rest.”

Third person: Parallax name drops himself twice.

Use your imagination: Kyle comes up with his own mecha.

All-mighty: Parallax
Lights out: Electropolis

Impact level: 7.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: LOBO [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL 2

CONVERGENCE: JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2 (of 2)
“Punchline” (22 pages) by Ron Marz; Mike Manley; Joe Rubinstein, Mike Manley & Bret Blevins; Sotocolor; Tom Napolitano

Parallel perspectives are shown with the leaders of each respective group (Blue Beetle and Wonder Woman). Beetle is outmatched in the power department but he makes up for that with his unbridled optimism, spunk, and wittiness. Once the battleground has been established, the fight for survival begins. Ted is fiercely thrown by the angry Amazon. He’s lucky he didn’t break his back. Speaking of breaks, his future counterpart pokes out his head having opted not to engage the enemy. The two crack wise as they take on Telos’ security bots. Since they are essentially the same person, the deliveries fall flat as they complete each other’s sentences. The Kingdom Come Justice League made short work of Ted’s team. They part ways. Ted is a bit crestfallen but not for the crushing defeat. No one has remembered his birthday. No one except…his bestest bud in this universe and all others: Booster Gold. Ted is surprised with one of the oldest pranks in the book – a bucket of water falling from an open door, given a short note, and gifted a poster of the two stooges.

PvP: Blue Beetle vs. Wonder Woman; Martian Manhunter vs. Shazam; Fire vs. Obsidian; Captain Atom vs. Jade; Ice vs. Creeper and Huntress; Red Tornado vs. Nightstar

Self-service: Two Teds are better than one 😉 Bonus point for me for coming up with that.

Brevity/Levity: BWAHAHAHA!

Powerhouses: JLKC
Agonizing defeat: JLI

Impact level: 8/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - SUICIDE SQUAD 2

CONVERGENCE: SUICIDE SQUAD #2 (of 2)
“When Kingdoms Fall, pt. 2” (22 pages) by Frank Tieri, Tom Mandrake, Sian Mandrake, Dave Sharpe

Too many villains cramp the style. The SSQ kill the competition, literally! Then, they turn on themselves. Swelled heads and selfish gains will do that, especially the hate-hate relationship between Deadshot and Deathstroke. There is something to be said about redundancy. The Wall fires off a bullet to break up their scuffle. She threatens the other members with triggering the kill switches if they act up. Star Sapphire tells Amanda that Cyborg Superman gives her the creeps but the one to keep an eye on is their ersatz ally Lex Luthor. Flashing back, unsurprisingly, Cyborg Superman is ready to take down everyone. Star Sapphire sets off his bomb pretty much extinguishing everyone. The traitor from last issue is revealed!! It’s the man down under: Boomer!!! Things wrap up pretty damn quickly here. Green Lantern deflects the kill shot directed at Amanda. The shrewd woman has one exit strategy: a belt of explosives strapped to her body. Bye bye, birdie!! Barbara Gordon and General Sam Lane commiserate the former leader. They think that The Wall may be alive and well. As they contemplate that, they agree that she would disapprove of the outlandish memorial in honour of the Squad.

Snicker:Ooh! Deadguy versus Deathdude for who has the badder-ass-sounding nickname.” – Captain Boomerang

Alpha Male: Deadshot and Deathstroke cannot even disguise their animosity for each other. Deathstroke calls his inferior “Captain B-Team”. The other retorts with “Deathjoke”.

Winner takes all: Suicide Squad is named for the most obvious reason.

Impact level: 5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: AQUAMAN [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - SUPERBOY 2

CONVERGENCE: SUPERBOY #2 (of 2)
“The Hero’s Return, pt. 2” (22 pages) by Fabian Nicieza, Karl Moline, José Marzán Jr., Hi-Fi, Travis Lanham

Kon-El has no hope in hell of overcoming the older, superior Kal-El. This is a classic case of hot-headed vs. cool, calm, and collected; impulsiveness vs. experience; new school vs. old hat. The barrage of blows and the mounting damage keep them on an even keel until Kal spots his otherworldly love Lois. That’s enough of a distraction for Kon to blow his top off (rather, use his TK), striking Lois with a piece of rubble that deflects off Kal. She is whisked away by Flash to be looked after. Kon decides to be the punching bag and let the embodiment of heroism handle matters. One hit and it’s all over. Red Robin is in awe of Kon’s youth. Kal gains a newfound admiration for Kid Metropolis noting that he is worthy of the name Superman.

Dubbilex acts as narrator with Serlin Roquette as observer. Flash and Red Robin have minimum roles. Wally runs interference until he is tasked with taking care of Lois. Dick gives his input to Kon, hoping to make a connection.

SBKO: Super-brutal knock-out!! The warped face is unforgettable.

Imagery is everything: The scarlet-soaked page is indicative not only of blood but of the sheer power that Kal-El possesses.

Impact level: 6.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: ACTION COMICS [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - SUPERGIRL MATRIX 2

CONVERGENCE: SUPERGIRL – MATRIX #2 (of 2)
“Buggin’ ” (22 pages) by Keith Giffen, Timothy Green II, Joseph Silver, Hi-Fi, Corey Breen

Quick!! Buy this book! Ambush Bug makes it worthwhile! No joke! Lampooning, parody, and satire are the ingredients of this issue. The battle between Supergirl and Lady Quark is constantly interrupted with Bug’s meddling and constant teleporting until they wise up to remove him from the picture. He is too wily to be caught. Their team-up goes sour when Bug twists things around after being nabbed. Sidenote: Lex receives a proper pounding by his protégée for his overbearing sexism. Lady Quark is pleased and then suggests they continue to duke it out. Bug walks away scot-free, relishing the conflict between the Maiden of Might and her electrically-named opponent.

Keith Giffen really pulled out all the stops with this one. His take on Ambush Bug is reflective of his own wicked brand of humour. The art leaves a lot to be desired.

Demolishing the 4th wall: Bug tells Kara that his seeking safety is part of the plot. (pg. 2)

I used to know stuff like that. Multiple reality stuff. Earth-Six stuff. Not since I stopped reading comic books.” – Ambush Bug (pg. 2)

Lady Quark isn’t impressed with the script shown to her. (pg. 8)

I’ve had it! I’ve read comic books that make more sense than this!” – Lady Quark (pg. 20)

***special note*** Ambush Bug is one of sixteen DC characters that have addressed or broken the Fourth Wall due to his cosmic awareness. http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Fourth_Wall

Time trippin’: NYC, Earth-AD – home of Kamandi and various anthropomorphic animals.
1992 – NYC: home of Louse-Man. Ick!!
30th Century – Metropolis – home of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
2050(?) – Futures End – Brother Eye rules all.
1969 – NYC: home of Irwin Schwab, most likely Bug’s true self.
1994 – Metropolis: back to where the story left off, and continues…

Pastiches: The cover “HUMILIATING ROMANCE #123” harkens back to the sickeningly sweet, lovey-dovey books craze of the mid-1940’s to the mid-1970’s. The number 123 refers to FLASH vol. 1 when Barry Allen meet his comic-book hero Jay Garrick in ‘real life’.

One of the Rat-People takes offence to being labelled as vermin, which is very much like Rocket hating the designation raccoon.

Louse-Man’s costume is akin to Ant-Man’s but his origin is similar to Spider-Man’s.

Zombies in 1969? Reference to Night of the Living Dead or recognition of The Walking Dead?

Spelling bee: Lady Quark sounding off each letter of L.E.G.I.O.N. instead of saying “Legion” much to Supergirl’s bemusement.

Running joke: Supergirl smells of spackle.
Grain of truth: Spackle is a brand of quick-drying, plaster-like material for patching plasterwork. Ambush Bug is most unkind!

Oscar for Best Sound Effect:WAUGH!” Lady Quark emulating Howard the Duck?!?

Round and round and round: The victor is unknown given the indeterminate amount of time.
Top dog: Ambush Bug

Homage: The cover is a reinterpretation of ACTION COMICS #252, the first appearance of Supergirl, just so you know ;-P

Impact level: 7.5/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: BAT-MITE [8 pages]

CONVERGENCE - SUPERMAN MAN of STEEL 2

CONVERGENCE: SUPERMAN – the MAN of STEEL #2 (of 2)
“United We Stand” (22 pages) by Louise Simonson, June Brigman, Roy Richardson, John Rauch, Dave Sharpe

Teens rule!! At least in this story. Team Steel (Natasha and Jemahl Irons) must thwart the Parasite and trounce Gen13. Emil Hamilton (Ham) feels powerless to treat John Henry’s paralysis. When John awakens, Ham tells him of his new life status. All is not lost!! Allie Cat has particles taken from the dome resulting in transformative properties. John wants Ham to perform a transfusion. Nate and Jem observe Parasite throwing around the super-powered teens. The procedure worked!! John is good as new, resurfacing as Steel 2.0 Nate and Jem take the opportunity to strike. They hold their own. The arrival of their uncle comes in handy. The quintet take the lead in winning. Fairchild is having second thoughts. Steel comes to his senses and calls off the fight. Cooperation is key. Steel addresses Telos and pounds the dome with his hammer. The end result is the teleportation of Gen13. The real battle has yet to begin.

Word of the day: Team work — “But maybe if we hit them together with everything we’ve got…” – Rainmaker “Because, teamwork!” – Freefall

Don’t try this at home: Ridding paralysis with alien nanotechnology.

Impact level: 7/10

•••Extra goodness••• DIVERGENCE: BIZARRO [8 pages]

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