Ever since DC announced its April/May event, Convergence, there's been some confusion about what this "return to past characters" means.
And with today's release of initial story details for the various Convergence mini-series, the assumptions and questions have been even more numerous.
To clarify what's happening to the New 52 in April, we gathered a few of the more "Frequently Asked Questions" about Convergence that we've encountered on the internet to put together a "Convergence FAQ."
Was the New 52 just a dream?
Some readers have misread the premise of Convergence to mean that DC is saying its reboot never really happened.
That's not the point.
With Convergence, DC found a way to have its cake and eat it too – or in this case, have its reboot and it's pre-reboot too. By utilizing time travel, or the ability to travel from one timeline to another, DC is allowing both timelines to exist.
It all hinges on 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.
And they spilled — promising to tell a new, villainous, super version of Brainiac how he could find 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 mentioned in the solicitations?
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's now able to access any time or place from DC's history by traveling along the timestream.
And it's important to know that 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 a version of Brainiac who can travel throughout the timestream from Vanishing Point, it looks like he's collecting entire cities or locations, and instead of putting them into bottles, he's putting them under "domes."
So it seems that, once Brainiac got access to Vanishing Point, he traveled to the pre-reboot DCU and bottled up Metropolis and other cities of Earth. And he must have done the same to alternate earths, like Captain Carrot's world. And he traveled to the future as well, putting the Legion of Super-Heroes under a dome and Booster Gold's future into a dome.
In Convergence, these worlds finally encounter each other, because Brainiac is putting them onto one planet (presumably Blood Moon, the planet/spaceship on which Brainiac is known to travel), and he's watching what happens when they all meet.
And we readers get to watch too.
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, characters from different eras and worlds from throughout DC's history will start meeting one another. And the tie-in mini-series will begin…
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? If you can grasp that idea, then you probably don't have to read anything before you pick up Convergence #0.
And TV veteran Jeff 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. At the very least, you'll need to pick up Booster Gold: Futures End #1. And at the very most, you could read all the issues of DC's Futures End weekly.
However, with King co-writing Convergence #0 with Dan Jurgens, and the two of them allegedly keeping new readers in mind, the basic set-up for the story should be explained in the Zero issue, and maybe even recapped in #1. And the main villain of the series — a new guy named Telos — is going to be introduced inside the main Convergence comic, meaning there's no backstory to learn there.
So chances are the prerequisites for Convergence will 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 kicks off with a Zero issue on April 1st, then continues 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. Each of the two-part mini-series will focus on a different hero or set of characters.
What happens when it ends?
Answer: Good question.
Newsarama recently floated six wild theories about the future of the DC Universe when Convergence ends.
At the very least, the DCU will go right back to its pre-Convergence status, and New 52 characters will be a little more aware of their alternate timeline counterparts.
But there could also be much bigger ramifications. Will the New 52 end, with the old universe restored? Will the old universe be destroyed once and for all? Or will the two universes — and maybe even other timelines — be combined? Whatever the outcome, with the series happening on the anniversary of 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, we're betting there's some kind of change coming.