Review - Convergence #4 - (Warning: while I will always endeavor to not give away any major reveals, all reviews on the RCBR page are likely to contain some soft spoilers) - I wonder if I should even be writing Convergence reviews anymore? My main problem now is that it almost does not matter whether I think each issue is good or not, but more that I'm not clear on whether or not the whole endeavor will be relative to DC Comics continuity. Yes, I know there is a movement against those who care about continuity and an effort to tell us that we shouldn't care and it shouldn't matter. I can empathize with that view to a certain extent, but an Event is, by definition, about the continuity. At this point it seems like there is the New 52 proper, and then these stories that are about Earth 2 and everything that has led up to Convergence. Even if I allowed myself to fall in love with these characters, I worry that they will not be around once they have fulfilled their purpose.
Convergence #4 picks up with an injured Dick Grayson having a conversation with nee-god Telos. The scenes between the two are very reminiscent of the Spectre scenes in Kingdom Come, except for Telos being...ya know...evil. We see the Earth-2 Justice League (whether that is their formal name or not, I think it fits) plunge further into Middle Earth; sorry, I mean Skartaris. It's the usual big battle scene that we have been treated about every issue, I think, and a smidgen of character development.
As good as certain elements of Convergence are, there are still a lot of detractors. It feels sooooo much like Crisis on Infinite Earths. It is so weird to be having a full-blown Event that is about a bunch of characters that are not featured in their own ongoings. Thomas Wayne Batman being gone feels a lot like Season 2 of Game of Thrones. Without Ned Stark what's the point? And much like GoT, I'm now wondering who will fill the interest gap with T-Dub being gone. The natural hope is that the focus swings firmly to Dick Grayson. But will that be enough? The whole thing is all a big mad gods story. And that makes it difficult to make relevant to those of us who just want a solid super-hero story. I will say that this individual issue seems to be trying to tighten things up. But writer Jeff King can only do so a small increment at a time. There was literally a scene in this issue, two pages and several panels with two characters whom I've never seen before, even in all of the events leading up to this one. Just straight out of the blue. When stuff like that happens, it is tough to call the book anything resembling "cohesive", "tight", or "solid", although I feel like King is trying.
Despite the problems with the story, I cannot emphasize enough how penciler Stephen Segovia is whipping out wicked stellar art each week. In fact, I'm not even clear how he is doing this weekly, unless he built up a steady backlog before the series launched and already penciled a large part of what we are seeing every week. I was not crazy about the rhythm of the switches from horizontal layouts to vertical in this issue. Segovia does a few pages on one axis and then rotates it for a few pages. It got a little exhausting and I found some of the horizontal pages not the easiest to read and follow. But from panel-to-panel, his work in conjunction with the colors is pretty spectacular.
At the end of the day, I do not blame any of the creative team for the problems this book has. I do not think that what needs to be fixed has much of anything to do with the team's talent. It is more a matter of this book having a definitive place and purpose in the DCU, and making that clear to me without forcing me to go hunt down a writer's interview or some dark, spoilery corner of the internet. If anything, this book is remaining on my pull-list for the thoroughly enjoyable art and the small trust in the potential of "what if" to pull off something spectacular. You've got some time, King and team, but you'd better make it worth it.
Convergence #4 receives 2 out of 5 stars on the RCBR Reviews scale for this week. It is not a bad issue, but I am struggling a bit with why I should care about it.