Last week, it seemed that Convergence had lost its way as the plotlines dissolved into confusion and delay. Now, things on Telos are moving again. In fact, Telos itself is moving, into the Earth 0 universe, in fact, where its arrival is monitored by the Justice League, the Red Lanterns, and Justice League United, not to mention Darkseid and Nix Uotan, last of the Monitors. The tremors of its arrival are likely related to the earthquakes featuring prominently in the second halves of the various Convergence event tie-in books. More immediately for the weekly series, the entry of Telos into the normal multiverse sets in motion Deimos’ plan.
It is a plan that resonates with layers of DC history. This is the thirtieth anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first and probably the most important of DC’s many crisis events. The image of a world suspended between universes, or rather half inside a universe and half outside, is familiar from many panels of that series. Deimos has a scheme that recalls another DCU crisis, Zero Hour. He intends to persuade the inhabitants of Braniac’s domed cities to follow him on a crusade that will lead, not to their freedom, but to their death. By harnessing the arcane energy released by such a mammoth slaughter, he will create a new universe in his own image.
While we learn all of this, the survivors of Earth 2 are journeying across the battle-torn landscape of Telos, finally coming face-to-face with Superman of the pre-Flashpoint era. There, a strategy to resist Deimos is quickly hatched. The first part of the plan rests on those icons of dimensional shenanigans and reboots, the Flashes. Jay Garrick and Wally West race in opposite directions, determined to find other speedsters and build a rapid communications network for resistance against the new threat. On his mission, Jay finds himself running under red skies, the sign of a cosmic crisis ever since COIE. To hammer home the connection, he runs into none other than Barry Allen, transported to Telos fresh from his confrontation with Psycho Pirate during that event a generation ago.
The second part of the plan depends on the character who has rapidly becoming the emotional and narrative center of Convergence, Dick Grayson. Superman charges him with finding Telos, the person not the planet, and persuading the former villain to use his power over the world’s environment and physical matter to aid the rebellion. Grayson, who has rapidly taken on the traditional attributes, the empathy and warmth, of his character, complies, finding the mysterious alien and, with what can only be described as loving kindness, steering him toward aiding the fight against Deimos.
Although the writing has improved a notch in this issue, the art does not step up to support it. Ed Benes and Eduardo Pansica have a gift for drawing lithe and/or muscular bodies in a full range of poses and motions, but their faces are blurred and sketchy, a heavy impediment in an emotionally intense story. We must often rely on the words rather than the expressions to determine what characters are feeling, a truly deadly situation in terms of efficient storytelling.
The book ends with the Earth 2 survivors and the pre-FLASHPOINT DCU characters arrayed against Deimos and his allies, the heroes and villains of Earth 3, FLASHPOINT, and KINGDOM COME. King and Lobdell skillfully weave together many strands of DCU history as characters from different eras come together amid the signs of a cosmic crisis that resonates both with COIE and ZERO HOUR. For the first time in this weekly series, the tension and uncertainty have become palpable. The story sometimes feels disjointed, assembled from freestanding pieces rather than conceived as a whole. Still, there really is no way of knowing what will happen next. And after 75 years of stories with these characters and settings, that is no mean accomplishment.