Ever since DC announced its April/May event, Convergence, readers have been wondering what this "return to past characters" means.
With today's release of Convergence #1, most of the questions about the event have been answered.
However, for people who might be new to Convergence and the concepts within, there are a few story elements that might need clarification. To help out Newsarama readers, we gathered a few of the more "Frequently Asked Questions" we anticipate readers wondering about Convergence.
What is Convergence?
Answer: Convergence is DC's two-month event that features characters from throughout DC's history, including characters that were believed gone after DC rebooted in 2011. By utilizing Brainiac and his ability to travel from one timeline to another, DC is showing that all DC timelines are still accessible.
And in Convergence, characters from all these different timelines will either fight each other or team up together in various stories. (It's also worth noting that Convergence is replacing DC's regular line for two months, giving editors a little breathing room while the company's editorial offices move from New York to Burbank, Calif. A new batch of regular, monthly comics are launching or coming back in June, when Convergence ends.)
What caused the events of Convergence?
The premise hinges on some activities by a big, New 52 version of Brainiac that resulted from an encounter with Booster Gold, DC's well-traveled, time-hopping hero. In a story released during September's Futures End event, young Booster Gold from the New 52 universe and an older, pre-reboot version of Booster Gold were both in the same place. They were being manipulated into telling the secret location of a place called Vanishing Point.
In the DCU, Vanishing Point is a dimension that lies outside the normal space/time continuum. From there, Brainiac could access any timestream, timeline, universe, etcetera…
What's the deal with all the domes of different cities?
Answer: Each dome contains a location from DC history that Brainiac has collected.
Working under the assumption that Brainiac was told the location of Vanishing Point, he became able to access any time or place from DC's history by traveling along the timestream.
Brainiac is, at his core, a collector. There have been various incarnations of Brainiac in DC's history, but ever since the beginning, he was known as an alien who stole entire cities, shrinking them and putting them into bottles, so he could learn more about the universe.
Since Convergence stars what is now known to be the "original" version of Brainiac, and he can presumably travel throughout the timestream from Vanishing Point, he's been able to collect entire cities or locations. And instead of putting them into "bottles," he's putting them under "domes."
It's also important to note that superpowers don't exist inside these domes. So as soon a these cities were stolen by Brainiac, their inhabitants seem to have become powerless.
Who is Telos?
Brainiac brought the domed cities to a planet called Telos (also formerly known as "Blood Moon," but DC seems to have dropped that moniker).
Telos is actually a sentient planet. He can apparently mess with the characters standing on his surface (as evidenced in Convergence #1 with the sudden mountains and giant hand). He can also take humanoid form.
When Brainiac doesn't return (probably because he was defeated in Futures End), Telos decides to take things into his own hands in Convergence #1, telling the various domed cities that they must fight each other to survive.
As DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee told USA Today when Convergence was first announced: "The alien supervillain Brainiac has trapped cities from various timelines and planets that have ended, brought them in domes to a planet outside of time and space, and is now opening them for a great experiment to see what happens when all these folks meet."
As the domes come off, the now-superpowered-again characters from different eras and worlds from throughout DC's history will start meeting one another. And the tie-in mini-series tell the story of what happens…
Who are the main characters?
Although all the different worlds and timelines will play a part in Convergence, the real main characters appear to be six heroes from Earth 2, who all showed up in the first issue.
Earth 2 is one of DC's most high-profile alternate worlds. It was featured in the just-ended comics Earth 2 and Earth 2: World's End.
At the end of those comics, Earth 2 was pretty much destroyed by some nasty folks from Apokolips, including the DC villain Darkseid. Although a few spaceships escaped the surface, carrying refugees, everyone else from Earth 2 died. The only people left on that planet were six characters.
All six of these characters show up in Convergence #1. They were grabbed from that timeline just before they would have been killed. And although issue #1 gave a pretty good summary of each character, here's a recap:
Green Lantern: A man named Alan Scott carries the Green Lantern mantle on Earth 2. He's a powerful businessman, and he got his ring-conducted powers from a Green Flame that was connected to the "Green," which connects all organic plant life on earth. As a result, he can heal planet life and injuries. During the World's End mini-series, he harnessed the power of the Green from the entire Multiverse, which expanded his abilities, but they appear to be gone in this issue.
Yolanda Montez: The woman who appeared in Convergence #1 is a young student from Earth 2 who was once the Avatar of the Red. While Green Lantern was connected to the aforementioned power of the "Green," Yolanda was connected to the power of the "Red," or animal life. During World's End, she gave that power away, and it was believed that she died, but she was shown with the other heroes at the end of the weekly. In Convergence #1, she's described as "more recently alive, then dead, and now….?" And from the look of her claws in that issue, she has some residual powers left.
Val-Zod: On Earth 2, Clark Kent isn't around anymore (it's kind of a long story what happened to him, but suffice it to say that Clark Kent eventually sacrificed himself to save the Earth). However, another Kryptonian has risen to hero status — Val-Zod, who escaped also Krypton before its destruction and landed on Earth 2. Although he's a pacifist (having been educated by his Kryptonian parents that it isn't wise to solve problems with violence), and he was a recluse for much of his time on Earth 2, he decided to come out of seclusion and help other heroes when they were trying to save their Earth from destruction.
Batman: On Earth 2, Batman's father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, was connected to mobsters when he was young. And although Joe Chill fired a gun at him and his family in Crime Alley, just like the usual Batman origin story, the assassination attempt was because of Dr. Wayne's sordid past. And on this Earth, Martha died, but Thomas didn't — instead he pretended to have died so he could get revenge on his assassins. But by doing so, he abandoned his son Bruce, who became Batman. Of course, Bruce eventually figured out that his dad was alive (because, you know, Batman knows all), but Bruce disowned his father nonetheless. When Bruce Wayne died on Earth 2, Thomas felt so guilty that he picked up the Batman mantle and fought in his son's place. As Batman, Thomas crosses lines that Batman wouldn't have — like using a gun and taking an addictive drug called Miraclo that gives him superhuman abilities for a limited time. (And we should point out that June's new Earth 2: Society comic claims to have a new Batman, meaning Thomas' time in the costume is limited.)
Dick Grayson: On Earth 2, Dick Grayson was never Batman's sidekick Robin. He was a writer, and had a normal life with a family. But in the midst of the problems on Earth 2, he's gotten some lessons in fighting from Ted Grant, and he's been shown to have the ability to kick butt. His wife died on Earth 2, but his son survived in one of the spaceships that escaped from Darkseid and the powers of Apokolips. (And it's worth noting that, because of his fighting abilities, he's a front runner in the guesses about who's going to take over the Earth 2 Batman mantle in June's new Earth 2: Society comic.)
The Flash: On Earth 2, The Flash is a recent college graduate named Jay Garrick. He got his speed powers from the dying god Mercury. As noted in Convergence #1, his mother survived the end of Earth 2 and is in the spaceships that escaped.
These six characters are who Convergence writer Jeff King told USA Today would be the main characters in the event.
"They're the grain of sand in the clam," King said. "They're going to be the pearl, the difference maker, because their arrival is one unexpected random element."
What comics do people need to read before they can understand what's going on in Convergence?
Answer: That depends. Do you understand the concept of a villainous Brainiac who has traveled the timestream to "collect" characters from throughout time? And his assistant, Telos, who wants them to fight each other? If you can grasp that idea, then you probably don't have to read anything before you pick up Convergence.
TV veteran King was allegedly brought in to script Convergence just so it would be new-reader friendly. "Because this involved so much deep lore and fiction from DC Comics, it was great to have someone come in with a fresh set of eyes to look at it and make sure that it's as open and accessible to all fans," DiDio told USA Today. "Not just the people who have been reading DC throughout the years."
However, if you're one of those continuity nuts who wants to know every little detail about how the world got to this point, then you probably have a lot of reading to do. Stories that seem the most tied to Convergence include Booster Gold: Futures End #1, the Superman: Doomed story, DC's two weeklies, The New 52: Futures End and Earth 2: World's End.
However, the very basic set-up for the story is explained pretty well in the #1 issue, and even gets a little prologue in last week's #0. And the main villain of the series — the living planet named Telos — wasn't really introduced until this comic, so there's no backstory to learn there.
So the "required" prerequisites for Convergence seem to be minimal.
How many issues is it?
Answer: Again, that depends on what you want to read about.
The main mini-series, which will presumably tell the very basic, central story of Convergence, is nine issues long. It kicked off with a Zero issue on April 1st, but really got started this week with issue #1. It continues weekly through April and May.
But if you want to see what happens in some of those cities when their domes are removed, as various characters meet each other and battle each other and team up with each other — or you just want to learn what's been happening with some of your favorite characters from the past — then you can choose from 40 different two-issue stories — that means 40 #1 issues in April and 40 #2 issues in May. Each of the two-part mini-series will focus on a different hero or set of characters.
What happens when it ends?
Answer: While the actual ending of the story of Convergence is still untold, there's good news for readers who love these characters from other worlds and eras.
According to various interviews, the characters who are participating in Convergence will be available for use in future comics after the event ends.
June solicitations for DC's revamped line-up of regular titles show that the DCU is mostly going back to its pre-Convergence status. But the line has a "loose continuity" — confirmed in interviews with DC's editorial folks — and that leaves every door open for various timelines and earths to be part of DC comics in the future.
That means pre-Flashpoint Superman and Renee Montoya Question are available for anyone to use from now on, and so are characters from Captain Carrot and Kingdom Come and every other alternate world and DC timeline.