Recon:Vergence Week One: Flashpoint Vs The Zoo Crew Vs the Pre-52
Welcome to Recon:Vergence, a weekly look at what’s going on throughout DC’s new reality-smooshing event storyline, Convergence.
Every week until the end of the event, every comic DC publishes will be a part of this giant storyline – and it’s a little confusing, especially for new readers. To help out, we’re going to provide a timeline of events, let you know which Universes are still in the fight, and try and keep everything on track.
And with last week starting things off proper, now seems the best time to recap what happened, to who, and why.
Main Event! Convergence #1
This issue opens with the remaining characters from Injustice: Gods Among Us, which was the super-violent fighter-game where Superman became a super-fascist and Batman became the leader of the freedom fighters. These characters, along with Flash and Harley Quinn, face off one last time – only to get interrupted by Brainiac, who apparently decides to just crush them and save everybody the hassle of future appearances from these characters. GAME OVER!
At the end of the last issue of Future’s End: Earth 2, the world was under Darkseid's thrall – but this issue reveals that some of the heroes were rescued and brought to the domed world of Telos before that happened. They get lectured by Brainiac for a while, who ultimately reveals the premise of the event: Every city ‘bottled’ by him will fight, until only one super-city remains (and they’ll then get to follow DC to their new offices in Los Angeles).
Convergence: Group A
This week, five cities are Converged across all the tie-ins as part of what I'm calling 'Group A', because this whole event mostly reminds me of the Cricket World Cup. Every other Convergence issue of the week is part of the same overall narrative, so you only get the whole story if you know what happened in every single issue last Wednesday. Last week's Converged cities were:
Gotham City of the ‘Pre 52’: Established in Zero Hour, this was the Universe that lasted until Flashpoint wiped it from continuity
Gotham City, Flashpoint: An alternate reality into which which Pre-52 Barry Allen jumped at the start of the Flashpoint event. The timeline was supposedly erased by Barry, but he returned not to the Pre-52… but the New 52 instead.
New York City, Angor: Ruled by the super-villains known as ‘The Extremists’, this city first appeared in Justice League Europe #15.
Follywood, Califurnia: Home to Captain Carrot and his friends, who are a herd of talking animal superheroes. This city first appeared in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #1.
El Inferno: A Wild-West version of the Justice League that appeared in a series called Justice Riders. This one, in fact:
As seen at the start of Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle, El Inferno doesn’t last long once the fight begins. The Hawkman and Hawkgirl of Flashpoint decimate that team completely, before flying over to Pre-52 Gotham to challenge Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. In Convergence: Speedforce, Wally West from Pre-52 Gotham runs to El Inferno… just in time to watch Brainiac declare the city forfeit as a result of their loss to the Hawkpeople. It gets destroyed.
A worried Wally runs across Telos and sees a bunch of the different cities that will show up in future weeks. I spy BizarroWorld, Kandor, and the Anti-Matter Universe, Qward, among them. He also visits the mash-up that will appear in Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters, where Plastic Man fights both Nazis and the evil future robots of Future’s End. Because duh, of course he would.
Wally ultimately runs through Follywood, where he and speedster-penguin Fastback are confronted by the Flashpoint version of Wonder Woman.
Flashpoint vs Pre-52 Gotham is the main match-up of Group A. Convergence: Superman sees both versions of Superman fly past each other right as the fight begins: Flashpoint Superman to find Pre-52’s Lois Lane, and Pre-52 Superman to see what’s going on. The latter is ambushed by the Justice League of Flashpoint: Abin Sur, Captain Thunder, and Cyborg.
Flashpoint Batman (who, in this universe, is Thomas Wayne, rather than Bruce) is alone in his Batcave, and realizes that the existence of both cities within Telos means that something went very wrong during Flashpoint. Something that I think most readers and reviewers said at the time, in fact.
Convergence: Batgirl sees Stephanie Brown forced to fight Flashpoint’s Catman, although both are then distracted by the arrival of Flashpoint’s version of Gorilla Grodd. Meanwhile in Convergence: Justice League, the evil Flashpoint Aquaman kidnaps Pre 52’s Mera, so the all-female JL decide to stage a rescue mission to get her back.
Several issues mention that The Atom’s gone nuts recently, which we see in Convergence: The Atom. This Atom is Ray Palmer, and he has a voice in his head that makes the issue totally confusing to read. He’s forced to fight Barracuda, one of the members of The Extremists. He gains the upper-hand (which you'll realize is a truly wonderful pun, should you be one of the people who read the issue), and knocks Barracuda down and out.
In Convergence: The Titans and Convergence: Batman/Robin we get to see the rest of the Extremists, who all decide to fight Pre-52 teams in what can only be described as a poor decision. In Batman/Robin, we also get another spotting of colossal mope Victor Fries, who's proven to be the best character of the event so far.
The Titans is the more notable of the two books, however, as it appears to end with Arsenal turning on his allies and shooting them both. At least he didn’t whack them with a cat? Disappointingly, this issue has a large splash page recapping Arsenal's life and times, and doesn't feature the catricide anywhere. Letterer Carlos M. Mangual does sneakily name a street after himself though, so ten points to him.
Follywood takes a back-seat throughout this first week, with its only other appearance being in Convergence: Harley Quinn. Here, a reformed Harley Quinn is apparently going to fight with Captain Carrot, although her allies Catwoman and Poison Ivy drive her insane before that fight even begins. Sterling work, everyone.
The last issue of the week was Convergence: The Question, which largely ignores Convergence entirely. It ends with the implication that the Pre 52 version of Two-Face is going to try and track down Flashpoint’s Harvey Dent, though – which might cause a bit of trouble, given Flashpoint’s Harvey Dent was a happy family man who never became a two-minded supervillain.
So after this week's matches, let's take a look at the standings in the Convergence League Table!
3: Earth 2
4: Angor (eliminations: Barracuda)
5: Pre 52 (eliminations: Donna Troy and Starfire)
6: El Inferno
7: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Two cities have so far been relegated out of the league (and... well... existence). Ray Palmer took out Barracuda of Angor for an early lead, but unfortunately Arsenal scored two own-goals and in the process put the Pre-52 perilously close to the relegation zone. Flashpoint is therefore sitting happily at the top of the league table for the moment, having gained a Mera this week.
The Zoo Crew are playing things very close to their chests (those of them who have chests), so expect them to be the wild card when Group A conclude their matches in May.
Next week: Zero Hour Vs Kingdom Come; Gen 13 and Stan Lee's 'Just Imagine' universe!