Convergence #8: The Status Quo Preserved (And Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise)

convergence 8 cover

Wow, there has been some BAD internet reporting on the final issue of Convergence. How anyone read issue #8 and thought that all of the old characters from previous continuities are now fair game to use and write about moving forward is beyond me. How any reporters read issue #8 and thought that Silver and Modern Age characters would now be apart of the upcoming DC line is just plain nuts. (Plus, there are plenty of non-continuity books—especially digital-first stuff—that allows for such tales to be told anyway, so why have a freak-out even if it were true.) Below is a literal synopsis of what happens, but a small caveat noting that there technically are a variety of different ways to read this issue. Things are extremely unclear (deliberate or not), but here’s my take.

Brainiac wishes to “return to what he was [before Flashpoint]” i.e. a less cancerous/poisoned volatile god dude. In order to do this, Brainiac must save the multiverse, which has cracked wide open and is beyond repair and headed toward death thanks to Telos being turned into a pressure cooker. Saving the multiverse can only be done if Brainiac is able to “channel the temporal energy within Telos and return [all the displaced characters] to [their] homes” i.e. their correct timelines. “It is the only way to reset the multiverse.”

However, the original Crisis blocks Brainiac from sending everyone home because it is “too strong. If it is not changed the multiverse will again collapse into one universe.” This, I’ll admit is a confusing part, but I think that in order for Brainiac to return everyone to their rightful timelines, he has to do it the same way he stole them in the first place, by swimming down time streams from Vanishing Point. Crisis being “too strong” means likely that Brainiac can’t slide past it due to its massively important chronal impact, which prevents Brainiac from properly returning everyone home where they belong. Pre-Crisis Flash and Supergirl respond to Brainiac’s complaint by saying that they know their fates i.e. that they will die to save the world: “If this is the only way to restore the multiverse and save everyone, we’ll do it like we did it before.” This means that Flash and Supergirl understand Brainiac to mean that they must go back and repeat their actions—fighting to the death to preserve the multiverse. Yes, there is a major retcon at work here. Modern Age Superman (and Lois and his baby) and pre-Zero Hour Parallax Hal Jordan go back and make an impact on the original Crisis. They “prevent the multiverse from collapsing,” which basically means that they work from the shadows to ensure the status quo returns in our present. Crisis goes down virtually the same. After all, the multiverse wasn’t really destroyed during the original Crisis anyway. Convergence is simply cementing that idea. While everyone was meant to think that Crisis smashed everything into one Earth, from our point of hindsight here in 2015 knowing that Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint would later occur, we know that there always was a multiverse (hidden or not). So what if the original Crisis is now retconned—it doesn’t change a thing in the long run.

Brainiac then says, “Many of you will return to your deaths… to worlds with no tomorrow.” (Everyone that he has taken, if they go back home, will return to a doomed timeline.)

Modern Age Superman then says, “Don’t send us back to our timeline. Send us with them, Brainiac.”

Brainiac explains, “You must go back to the first Crisis and prevent the collapse of the multiverse. THEN EVERYTHING WILL RESET AND RETURN TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE I BROUGHT YOU ALL HERE.” Return to what it was before I brought you all here—this means return to the status quo right before the cities were stolen, essentially rendering Convergence down to a tiny blip of little consequence on each timeline. (The real question here is DOES WHAT HAPPENED UNDER THE DOME STAY CANON? Sure it’s just a blip on the radar, but it was a full year spent outside of time and space. For these characters a year of STUFF happened, and some of it pretty damn huge. Superman and Lois having a baby, Nightwing and Oracle getting hitched, Golden Age Robin becoming Batman, several important villains and heroes getting killed, etc… )

The next double splash shows the old pre-Crisis, pre-Zero Hour, and pre-Flashpoint versions of various Earths and their returned status-quo Multiversity Map equivalents for the New Age/New 52/DC You. “EACH WORLD HAS EVOLVED BUT THEY ALL EXIST.” And Brainiac is restored on Earth-0. The versions from old timelines that we’ve been shown in Convergence are ghosted-out. Gone bye bye. Long live the Multiversity Map. Long live the DC You.

Why anyone would want the characters from old continuities returning into the fold makes little sense. Talk about what a clusterfuck that would be. Enjoy your old comics! Show your protest by not purchasing new books if you don’t like them! The 52 Earths of the current Multiverse (i.e. the ones from the Multiversity Map) have been reinforced by Convergence. You won’t see a Golden, Silver, or Modern Age Superman again. Sorry, fans.

This is Tom King telling us that the new 52 Earths from the Multiversity Map represent everything from the old DC of yesteryear. He’s essentially saying that if you liked all of the great stuff that DC had to offer you in the past 75 years prior to the New 52 reboot, then don’t worry because everything that is new reflects the ghosts of the old continuities. They are truly dead, but what remains holds their spirit in new “hip” ultra-paneled costumage and hopefully-not-too-grim-n-gritty attitude. Whether we buy into that or not is a different story all together. A very different story.

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Convergence (2015) 008-017

About Collin Colsher

Collin Colsher, the creator of The Real Batman Chronology Project and disCONTINUITY, is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and comic book historian that currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has lectured at various universities, libraries, and book fairs. Collin has also served on the jury for the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is sponsored by the US Library of Congress.
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7 Responses to Convergence #8: The Status Quo Preserved (And Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise)

  1. Singh says:

    http://comicbook.com/2015/05/27/decoding-convergence-with-jeff-king-the-finale/

    Okay, now I’m just confused. However, I think that I can work out a system. Going by the copy-paste ideas, the original Crisis still had to happen for Brainiac to be able to copy paste these characters onto Telos. When trying to “merge” them back into their original versions, however, the original Crisis’ chronal energy was too much for it to make a proper difference. So everything that you say is true, that Parallax and Superman acted kind of like how Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime did, working in the shadows. So everything you say is true, except that when the original Crisis “ends”, an expanded “Multiverse” still exists, it just never matters enough until after Convergence ends, hence why all the other crisses continue how they did.

  2. Singh says:

    Woah! Thank God you did this, I was pretty much lost by that concept and actually posted in Year 8! Thank God there is someone who knows what happens!

  3. tiptupjr94 says:

    Holy fuck.

    (First of all, I’m glad you got an article up on this so quickly!)

    But, Convergence #8. Where do I begin… um. Well. Really, the entire fabric of DC’s reality was destroyed today. I think certain aspects of this issue were bullshit, and I’ll get to those in a minute, but I wouldn’t be so quick to brush off the fact that the destruction of the multiverse in Crisis was prevented from happening. This is MASSIVE. This completely rewrites the DC Universe. This is fucking crazy. I still can’t even process this. There are some worrying implications of certain things that are said but hang on a minute.

    This clusterfuckery with uber-Brainiac. I can’t even. I have to quote portions of the text here to process this: He says he was the designated Brainiac from Colu and traveled the universe seeking to collect knowledge… but he “observed the Flashpoint and survived it,” AT WHICH POINT he breaches the Source Wall, “broke into the multiverse,” apparently observed the events of Crisis, and GOES BACK IN TIME TO EVOLVE AS THE MONITORS DID. Then he was “caught in a storm caused by a boy” (?) and “lost in a tear in reality created by a monster.” I know those are referring to Infinite Crisis and 52, but it’s weird how they affected him. Then he “re-emerged in a new reality, transformed into this creature…” This new reality is the reality of the post-Flashpoint DCU. And all that exposure to the Multiverse made him look like that.

    But… hang on a minute… at the BEGINNING of Brainiac’s speech, he says he observed and survived the Flashpoint! And then when he says he saw other Brainiacs, it shows post-Flashpoint Earth-0 Superman punching Brainiac! But then later, uber-Brainiac states that “his own reality” is Earth-0! What the hell? What the fuck? I just… I can’t process the implications of this or what they’re trying to say…

    And, if the Crisis was prevented, why did Superboy-Prime enter the pocket universe? How could he have come out and affected Brainiac? How could 52 and Flashpoint have happened? How could uber-Brainiac have come to existed in his current form? Granted, Telos is apparently outside time and space… but Brainiac says he will also retain his memories of this event… wait a minute. What if Brainiac’s original homeworld was PRE-CRISIS Earth-0?

    Also, is that Telos manifesting itself in the universe of Earth-0? Is it also appearing in the other 51 universes? Convergence: Booster Gold #2 refers to a planet-sized chunk of antimatter breaking through and setting off an explosion that ends life throughout the multiverse. So, that was Telos? Or Telos had like, become made of antimatter because all of Deimos’ fuckery?

    Like you, I was also kind of pissed at what happens when they “restore the multiverse.” It’s implied that there are infinite earths and have always been… BUT, the original earths that everyone knows and loves have now been transposed with the already-established New 52 versions, which we’ve already known about and accepted for years! So this was just another “fuck you” from DC. I hope this shit is clarified and expanded upon very quickly. Also of note is that it claims reality is resetting, stabilizing, whereas Justice League #40 states that reality has yet to solidify. (What I mean is, I think this was a deliberate linking of the stories, reality wasn’t solidified in Justice League #40 but NOW it is and I’m sure we’ll hear about in Justice League #41.)

    What gets me is the assertion that Morrison’s Earth-16 is simply the “new version” of the pre-Zero Hour DCU. What the hell? I think it’s funny they included pre-Zero Hour DCU in Convergence, but didn’t actually include any specific continuity callbacks to justify it. The events of Batman: Year Two, references to a dead Holly Robinson, Shazam operating out of San Francisco, etc.

    Also, who the hell is that standing behind the Bat-Lantern Earth? Darkest Knight wasn’t meant as a presentation of a “new” version of a pre-existing universe, was it? Also, so painful to see Elseworlds’ Finest up there. It does suck how they’re just like “bitches, these are the Earths those stories you like take place on, AND YOU CANNOT HAVE THEM! AHAHAHA”

    Another funny thing. I bought the Multiversity Director’s Cut today just for the poster-sized map of the Multiverse. How hilarious that that map has now been negated from continuity by a comic released on the very same day. To clarify, I absolutely think that Morrison’s Earth structures still remain as a basis of this new world, but it’s clear that there has been a massive, MASSIVE rewriting of the entire fabric of DC’s reality. As you say, things are SO completely deliberately unclear right now. But I have no doubt that DC is the one feeding Newsarama and CBR these lines about “yep, all your favorite worlds are back!” Pssh. Although, they very well may be. Hopefully we start finding out very soon.

    Also… since the multiverse was never destroyed, how could Flashpoint have happened? Is Convergence (and/or, specifically, Brainiac harnessing the chronal energy to… do whatever he did) the new “excuse” for like… how the main continuities will be pretty much the same, but stuff is still different, like it’s a new Crisis/Flashpoint? Did all these events cosmically reset the multiverse IN ADDITION to the prevention of the multiverse’s original destruction? Like, if the multiverse kept on going but Convergence (and Crisis) never happened, things would be different, right? That’s what I’m getting at.

    Anyway, those are my opinions about this. Some of them. I’m still trying to process all this. Fucking craziness. But yeah, things are so vague and unclear right now that pretty much any take on these events is legitimate. What do you think? Also, do you have any comments or insight into my Brainiac thoughts and/or general questions and musings? I missed/skimmed through a couple Convergence issues because well, ah, it mostly sucked. But for the most part I did follow along, including with many of the tie-ins, and I still just have that general “what the fuck/holy fuck” feeling.

    • tiptupjr94 says:

      Actually, never mind. Fuck DC. I see a lot of people interpreting this as the “origin” of the New 52 Multiverse, explaining how all the old worlds evolved into the current ones. But that makes no sense because the events of Convergence INVOLVE the heroes of post-Flashpoint Earth-0 and Earth-2. However, Dan Didio seemingly confirmed this view on Twitter by saying: “it could be considered the secret origin of the multiverse that began with the launch of the New 52.” Fuck that bullshit. The Multiversity Guidebook already makes it clear that it was cataloging the post-Flashpoint multiverse, and Multiversity as well as numerous other comics clearly indicate that Flashpoint was the catalyst for the slight rearranging of the multiverse between 52 and now (well, pre-Convergence.) So, why did we need to have this exact same point drilled into our heads AGAIN? This is MADDENING!! If Justice League #41 doesn’t IMMEDIATELY pick up the ball on this, I am going to be fuming.

      Also, as usual, information that is necessary for comprehending the story is contained in a post-story interview rather than the story itself:

      http://comicbook.com/2015/05/27/decoding-convergence-with-jeff-king-the-finale/

      King says “In many ways, the number of Worlds is now infinite.” Well now, what the fuck does that mean? In many ways… how? You either have INFINITE earths, or a FINITE number of Earths! There’s no in between! And WHY couldn’t this have actually been stated in a comic? WHY can’t we just be straight-up told “yes, there are infinite earths”???

      He also says “there may even be more than one Multiverse.” Undoubtedly a cop to Multiverse-2. By the way, what the fuck was Multiverse-2? And speaking of Multiversity, you know, damn. My opinion of Grant Morrison’s work is overall positive but he tests my fucking patience sometimes. I get that Multiversity is a commentary, on many things, but when ALL YOU DO is write commentaries about how things are instead of ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING to CHANGE how things are, things are going to stay exactly the same. Multiversity’s ending really killed my boner and I feel that Morrison has written one boner-kill story too many. Also, the man gives some REALLY insufferable interviews. He basically has that stance of, oh, the fans always want you to plainly spell stuff out but just shut the fuck up because I know what I’m doing. Well, I think that’s bullshit. Sometimes you HAVE to say what the fuck is going on. Sometimes the fans deserve to be rewarded, thanked, or at least told what the fuck is happening. In interviews he has also stated that Dr. Hurt’s identity and origin were originally going to be even MORE unexplained than they already are. Think about that.

      Fuck. The concept of putting pictures and words together is still pure, so I hesitate to say “comics are shit,” but the superhero comic book industry right now is absolutely disgusting and nauseating. This is just horseshit. Fuck all these people. This is shameful.

    • Haha, we must be on a similar wavelength after yesterday’s comics. I think I actually legitimately questioned continuing my entire project for the first time ever today, and that says a lot.

      No matter what has occurred (and it’s hard to tell), we know for sure that none of it could possibly have occurred had there not been the Crisis, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint. Any altering of the original Crisis doesn’t really make sense, which is in fact why it literally makes no sense in King’s narrative.

      And yes, Brainiac’s “history” is strange, to say the least. So Uber Brainiac was just ANOTHER BRAINIAC and he assimilated all the other Brainiacs? Cuz I’m pretty sure we were told that Uber Brainiac is the original Brainiac, right? And all the other Brainiacs were mere emanations of him. Or is that what King’s Brainiac history monologue is telling us? His non-linear history is very perplexing. It makes sense, but then it doesn’t.

      So Convergence #8 gives a scenario where all reality is literally dying. Brainiac explains that the current multiverse (the New 52 Multiversity Multiverse) is collapsing into one universe, which presumably will kill pretty much everyone. Even OUR (New 52) Superman holds Kara’s hand and accepts that there is nothing that can be done—everyone is doomed. But Uber Brainiac can stop it from happening by “returning everyone to their correct homes,” an act that will “reset the multiverse.” Makes sense so far, no? You took different characters from different defunct timelines and mixed them all up, so returning the toys back to their correct bins would fix things, right?

      But the hitch is that Uber Brainiac was able to swim down the stream passing the Crisis a few times here and there while collecting. Now, things are different (he’s weaker, time dudes are dead, chaos energy, etc…) and he can’t swim past the Crisis anymore like he used to. How ever will he fix everything now?

      Brainiac tells everyone that he needs the first Crisis to be changed i.e. the multiverse cannot collapse. Again, who knows what the fuck this really actually means? Or why? But honestly, this is a red herring. This story has nothing to do with the original Crisis. I would ignore, ignore, ignore. In fact, I think the sheer act of even revisiting the original Crisis was done only because editorial wanted to celebrate its anniversary by having 1.) Barry and Supergirl do it again but with the added level of heroism of knowing its a suicide mission 2.) having the EVIL pre-Zero Hour Hal Jordan—the one who really was evil and didn’t have the Parallax symbiote retcon soften his edge—finally gain redemption and 3.) letting our favorite version of Superman be a part of it, but with added emphasis as our favorite incarnation—not just the Man of Steel but the loving married TEAM of Lois and Clark with a baby to boot. These things mean a lot SYMBOLICALLY but beyond that there isn’t much.

      Brainiac continues to say that if successful, EVERYTHING will return back to normal the way it was BEFORE Convergence and his collecting schemes. And they are successful. The Multiversity Map remains the same (aside from the few superficial changes you mentioned) and all of the old continuity characters fuck off into the mylar-covered back issues of yesteryear.

      I think folks are reading into what happened a bit too much. I don’t think any of DC’s history was really retconned or reset. I think the current DC multiverse was reset. And only reset to what it was like before Convergence! In other words, nothing changed. And I don’t think DC will expound upon Convergence moving forward. We’ll likely never hear another word about it (aside from a few select crappy interviews from creators and publishers that don’t even know what happened.) I think my feeling about Convergence’s ending is less “WTF” and more “Oh, this is supposed to feel like a game-changer but it really isn’t and thank god because if it’s anything like what some are claiming (including on Newsarama and interviews) that would REALLY be bad for business.”

      Lest not we forget that this is a BAND-AID and nothing more. I give props to King for at least trying to make it feel like more than a band-aid—although he wrecklessly drafted one of the most overzealous stories in recent memory that could never have lived up to its level of ambition. But seriously though, that’s all it is and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this one.

      • Oh, I forgot. You touched upon it as well when you mentioned the lack of straightforwardness when it comes to delivering information about cosmology and basic multiverse facts. My main complaint about Convergence is not so much in the vagueness of what happens visually from beat-to-beat, but in the fucking confusing dialogue attached to everything. Things that are shown can be edited down or chopped up and they certainly don’t have to be crystal clear—I’m not even asking for that. But what is essential is that the WRITING itself makes sense. Morrison may be a dick when it comes to giving us all the facts we need to figure out his stories, but there’s never anything in his stories that makes his stories impossible or incorrect. That’s the big difference here. What the hell is King SAYING? It’s a jumbled mess that defies interpretation (as apposed to Morrison’s “mess” which invites interpretation). And for better or worse I’ve given my interpretation of Convergence above. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

      • Singh says:

        Your interpretation of the story is right. To quote King: “In many ways, the number of Worlds is now infinite. There may even be more than one Multiverse.” So for all we know in like Multiverse AB or something everything else exists, but the local Multiverse is the same. The shadow war fought by Parallax and Superman seems to be right because DiDio said it is the secret origin of Flashpoint’s Multiverse? Well, if everything goes back the way it was supposed to (but everything is available for use), then this “New” Multiverse containing old worlds has to exist outside the local Multiverse (which I think Morrison suggested) and only have come into play after Flashpoint.

        As for the Brainiac God’s origins, I think that it could be up for interpretation as well. He is the original Brainiac who survived the first Crisis, (which King confirms in his interview) and I believe him absorbing his emanations is just like Darkseid absorbing his emanations. Except as King mentioned, Brainiac absorbed knowledge from his timelines. What better way to do that than to absorb it from himself?

        You are absolutely right. The past has not changed, only the present. Also, isn’t it ironic? DiDio brings in wonderful writers like Jeff King and Daniel H. Wilson, yet they fail because he brings them in on weeklies? Wilson, on Earth 2: Society, seems to be so much better and I’m sure King would as well. I mean, say Wilson had simply taken over for Taylor on the regular Earth 2 book… it would have probably seemed so much better.

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