Is there such a thing as a 0.5 issue?  After Convergence #0 last week one would have expected the story to move into first gear.  Instead, we roll along in neutral as this issue, authored by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell, piles yet more background and exposition atop that we already had.  To be fair, it’s pretty good exposition, and necessary for the story, but it would have been better if the information here and in last week’s book could have been presented more efficiently.

For a company often criticized as risk-averse, DC set itself a daunting task with the early stages of this project, since two weeklies, a limited series, a monthly series, and another large-scale event had to feed together to establish the premise.  Last week provided the intersection point for Superman: DoomedThe New 52: Futures End, and The Multiversity.  This week sees the intersection with Earth 2 and Earth 2: World’s End. But before the Earth 2 characters arrive Telos, the living world, decides to eliminate the Gotham City from the Injustice universe, having judged it a failed experiment.

That is a peculiar narrative decision, to say the least.  Doubtless it has set keyboards clattering across the world as readers speculate as to what literary or political or corporate messages the abrupt dismissal of that timeline might be intended to send.  Within the story, it does effectively establish Telos as a creature of strict standards ruthlessly applied.

The appearance of the Earth 2 group, consisting of Thomas Wayne, Dick Grayson, Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Val-Zod, and Yolanda Montez, presents a crucial challenge to Telos’ standards and protocols.  They have been plucked from the final moment of Earth 2’s existence, yanked from the very clutches of Darkseid by a mechanism neither they nor Telos understands. But they are only six people without a city.  And Telos, as his ancient Greek name suggests, is a creature of cities.  He thinks in terms of cities.  He plans and moves and sees the multiverse in terms of cities.  This sudden change in operating procedure leads him, in the absence of his master, Braniac, to the conclusion that the grand experiment of which he is the caretaker has entered it’s final phase, and it is time to trigger a Darwinian struggle to the death among the “guests” he has been “hosting.”

The thing to remember about Telos is that he is not the equal of Braniac.  He is not, like Vril Dox, an avatar of Braniac.  He was not even created by Braniac.  Rather, he is a living planet that Braniac discovered and turned to Braniac’s own purposes.  And those are purposes that Telos himself, however loyal or disloyal he may be to Braniac, likely does not understand.  He is like a thirteen-year-old faced with his parent’s business affairs.  He understands the general idea well enough, but the subtleties and complexities are beyond him, and any action he takes is likely to be simple-minded, stubborn, and disastrous.

The art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz is an excellent example of what has evolved into a common DC house style for cosmic events.  The thin lines and naturalistic forms suggest fluidity and movement, especially when combined with a vivid color palette and generous deployment of large panels, splash pages, and insets.  The final splash pages will likely become the iconic images of the entire event, especially considering their use as interactive templates on the DC website.

Grade

B-

Conclusion

The fate of the Earth 2 refugees, and likely of their missing kin and compatriots, now depends on what happens on Telos. How did they come to be here? What role do they have to play in the coming battles? But it also likely depends on the mysteries surrounding Telos himself. Where did he come from? Who created him, and what was his purpose before he came under Braniac's control? It is possible that the answers to these questions will have to await the upcoming Earth 2 title. If so, this event will be yet another weekly largely spent marking time and setting up future books. And that is something that is getting very old, very fast.