Alter-EDGE's "CONVERGENCE" on DC Comics

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday April 6, 2015

Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman may have their hands full this spring. As the zero hour approaches on the latest calamity to advent itself upon the superheroes of the DC Comics universe, readers are preparing for something that goes beyond just the struggle of good versus evil; this epic may have a generational effect with tremors felt across the entire span of the comic publishing giant as we know it.

For avid readers of DC Comics, they may have noticed that things have been pretty dreary over the last couple of months for their favorite heroes. Batman's son Damian, who had inherited the role of Robin was killed in battle (and now resurrected by some unnatural means). Superman had been infected by a virus that almost spelled his doomsday (again), after escaping a menacing coup by a syndicate of otherworldly doppelgängers, and ultimately fending off an attack on the earth by his most notorious enemy yet!

Though it may all sound like just another day in Metropolis for our super friends, these extreme scenarios have been leading along a particular path. All lines point to a "Convergence" and that's appropriately the title of the "DC Comics event of the season" and the mastermind behind it all isn't Lex Luthor, but creative writer Jeff King. The television screenplay writer has had a hand in spinning the tales of characters on hit series "White Collar" to "Stargate SG1" and "Continuum" as well as others, but now charts the fate of super-powered heroes and their most dangerous foes.

"I'm standing on the shoulders of giants," King said whimsically as we began to lure him into divulging what he could about this new project. "There's no question that the stories we are doing in 'Convergence' come from everybody who's contributed to the stories that have come from [DC Comics] 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' to 'Zero Hour' to 'Kingdom Come' -- all of those events. I'm working with a laths of characters, and we're going to be answering some very important questions." King hinted that within the pages of the prologued "Convergence #0" readers will get a better understanding of the threat ahead, and finally learn where Superman disappeared to at the conclusion of the "Doomsday" crossover arc of the last several months.

"My storytelling experience is coming from big sci-fi shows, with rich complex worlds and backstories, and the building of characters," the writer shared. This made Jeff King the perfect candidate to narrate this universal epic which promises to span the entirety of the DC Comics continuity. "You do the same thing in comic books." As for the aforementioned "Convergence" prologue (co-written by Dan Jurgens), the Man of Steel confronts a complex character, bearing the faces of a past foe, and a world with an incredible backstory.

Futures End...Worlds Collide!

"A lot of the groundwork had already been laid," King revealed. "I inherited a lot of the work." He's referring to the weekly series that are now concluding their cataclysmic storylines in "The New 52: Futures End," "Earth 2: World's End" and that previously mentioned "Doomsday" arc, which ended with Superman confronting his arch foe Brainiac and ultimately ending up somewhere else beyond reason, and stumbling upon the centrifugal "Convergence" big baddie -- a new villain, a planet really, named Telos. "Everyone had been working together to bring this 'convergence' to a head."

The "Convergence" that King keeps talking about happens on a planet, pieced together by the collector of worlds Brainiac (the Superman villain introduced way back in 1958) and placed in the charge of a new being who calls himself Telos. "If you look at the cover of 'Convergence #1'" King referring to the star-spanning image which gives readers a first glimpse at Telos, "you'll get an eyeful of the characters that have found themselves transported to the place where Brainiac has been 'collecting' cities from doomed timelines from throughout the DCU." Brainiac has been running an experiment, very similar to when he shrank the Kryptonian city of Kandor, and his specimens include pockets of heroes and villains from diverging points in DC Comics publishing history.

It would appear that Telos has other ideas for completing Brainiac's experiments, and forges a hypothesis that leads aspect of the collected cities to converge with one another in battle - and since matter in theory can only occupy one space at a time - will you can imagine the result is quite combustable. "That also resonates with 'Multiversity' and the big story telling that Grant Morrison's been doing in that series," King said about the companion series also leading into his. "It gave me a deeper understanding of the larger scope of the story, especially Brainiac's role in the multiverse. I think the story that we're telling is going to surprise a lot of people."

Also, this is one that began way back for many DC Comics fans in 1985, promising that some worlds would live, and others would not!

The now classic "Crisis on Infinite Earths" rewrote history and introduced a linear mythology to DC Comics. It also introduced a darker Dark Knight, a more malleable Man of Steel and an Amazon ambassador to the world. Unbeknownst to most, the events of said crisis initiated a countdown to "Zero Hour" which was largely contrived to deal with certain inconsistencies that still plagued overall comics continuity. It wasn't until 2005 that DC Comics would deliver on their promise of a proper sequel to commemorate the original "Crisis".

The Next "Crisis" Event

That sequel came in the form of "Infinite Crisis" written by Geoff Johns. The seven-issue limited series would conclude with the re-introduction of the multiverse, and after on more "Final Crisis" the next time that the entire DC Universe would be shaken to its core, readers had to reacquaint themselves with old favorites after the publishing giant's reboot introducing "The New 52" -- the most dramatic reinvention of the brand ever.

In a flash, the pantheon of characters in the DC Universe had become more contemporary versions of themselves than ever before, and inhabit a world that is skeptical of these gods that walk among regualr men and women. This publishing-wide initiative cleaned the slate for creatives to deliver all-new stories and offer fresh looks at long-time favorites without the constraints of bogged down years of history. Although a very bold move that proved successful, it didn't necessarily sit well with most long-time readers.

After 75 years of publishing creatively innovative stories, this was perhaps the first time in a series of industry reboots that DC Comics left so many dangling plot lines and other participles it had to eventually get back on track. Be that as it may, this gave the creatives time to carefully analyze the trajectory they were on, beginning with an empirical look at its "Multiversity." The handy work of celebrated graphic novelist Grant Morrison with the purpose of providing a unique perspective has elaborated on a potential threat to the existence of the 52 parallel worlds that exist within the DC multiverse.

But that's another story, in another universe and it is still evolving. In the meantime all lines are pointing in one direction -- converging as they would. "I always look for stories about family," King went on to explain. "One of the things that attracted me to the story [of 'Convergence'] was the opportunity to have Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Thomas Wayne (Batman from 'Earth 2') meet for the first time." This struck a particular chord for the writer who gravitated to the intrigue in the theme of "fathers and sons" and "parents and children" he explained. "Because we all are one of those things."

A Diverse Multiversity

And though the entirely intricate release of the "Convergence" storyline may appear like the publishing house's most ambitious stunt to date, it also gives the company a minute's respite as it moves its operation out to the West Coast (after many years in the heart of Manhattan, DC Comics HQ is raising its roots and moving to Burbank) to bring the parts of the company -- the publishing and the multi-media entertainment arm -- together under one roof; almost metaphorically converging as it would.

"Convergence" has given its writer and its readers a unique playing field in that characters from all across the generations including Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, to the Flashes from all worlds will meet and ultimately test their final fates. "The beauty of it all is that it will culminate in a big change for all of them." When the "Convergence" comes to its climax DC will have an entire new line of comics to introduce, and among them will be more opening gay characters including the launch of the vigilante called Midnighter into his own series. "I feel there's a conscious effort to reflect the world back onto itself," said King, "and as storytellers we have a responsibility to share all unique points of view." Significantly expanding the palette and giving a new audience a new their own superhero role models to look up to.

In the meantime, King is ready to wreak havoc on DC Comics 75-year history with "Convergence" but promises there was great reverence in his approach to handling heroes we've all known and loved for ages. "All these characters have such an amazing legacy and a tradition," King humbly acknowledges. "My experience was with the old Jack Kirby books including 'The Forever People' and 'Demon.' For me once I started writing about my survivors [in 'Convergence'] and how the rest of the DCU fold into the larger story - had I known how rich and complex the stories would be...I would have run for my life!"

Run down the street to your local comic book shop to grab the first issue of DC Comic's "Convergence #1" beginning this week!

Also check out the April Issue of the EDGE digital magazine for our "Alter-EDGE" look at LGBTQ heroes in comics now!

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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