Thursday, June 11, 2015

Convergence #8 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OK, I'll admit that King and Lobdell do a better job than I thought possible wrapping up this story.  It's not perfect, but it's not as terrible as it could've been either.

Thanks to the convenient arrival of Waverider, the heroes learn that Brainiac can (magically) absorb some of the temporal energy that Parallax unleashed when he killed Deimos.  To that end, Waverider frees Brainiac, though the heroes still view him as a threat.  But, Brainiac reveals that he wants to help.  After he survived Flashpoint, he traveled the multiverse to collect knowledge, but he fell victim to the crises and they apparently turned him into the monster that he is now.  (Yeah, I don't get it either, but let's just keep going.)  He reveals that he wants to become who he was before he was corrupted.  He plans to use the temporal energy to send everyone home, because it will reset the multiverse (I think).  However, the first crisis proves "too strong," so he sends back a pre-Crisis Flash, Supergirl, and Superman (along with a redemption-seeking Parallax) to stop the multiverse from collapsing in that crisis.  They succeed off-page, and Brainiac is able to reset the mutliverse.  We learn that each world has now evolved, but they still exist.  The exception is Earth-2, but, as a parting gift, Telos shifts the abandoned planet to the Earth-2 universe after Brainiac strips it bear.  Brainiac was apparently suppressing the Green on Telos; with him gone, Alan is able to regrow the world.  He also hears the evacuating ships' distress signal, now allowing for Telos the planet to become the New Earth 2 (while Telos the person searches for his family and people).

This ending obviously has several implications.

First, Earth 2 is now reborn on its own planet.  This development is huge, since it basically rejects the outcome that "The New 52!:  Futures End" and "Earth 2:  World's End" predicted, that the survivors would re-settle on the New 52!'s Earth.  In fact, earlier in this event, it seemed like the outcome was going to be the Earth 2ers becoming the winning "society" and surviving Brainiac's experiment.  In a way, it is actually the outcome, even though it doesn't happen through gladiatorial competition.  Moreover, it's more uplifting than we probably had any right to expect.  King and Lobdell purposefully seem to downplay some of the darker elements, such as the possibility that Dick's son was either dead or in the hands of a villain; he's seen excitedly telling a nice-looking woman on the deck of an evacuation ship that he knows that his father is alive.

Moreover, it seems unclear where we are now with "our" Earth.  I really know nothing about the various crises, but, if the first crisis didn't happen, it seems like it should have a profound impact on the current universe.  That said, though, it's impact would still be filtered through the impact of Flashpoint, so it's definitely unclear to me how much DC is going to use this event to rewrite its past and present.  Is it "Flashpoint" 1.5?  I guess we'll see.

In the end, it was an OK ending to a terrible event.  I could dwell on all the outstanding questions and bizarre twists, like the fact that we still don't really know why Brainiac created Telos in the first place or the fact that Deimos wound up being a totally inconsequential part of the overall story.  But, in the end, I'm just glad that it's done in a way that (finally) brings the story revolving around the destruction of Earth 2 to a close.  I'll consider it a win, even if it was a win in a game that we didn't have to play in the first place.

** (two of five stars)

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