This week Marvel’s Secret Wars begin, and we take a look at the other dimension smashing event: DC’s Convergence!
Secret Wars #1 (of 8) (Marvel Comics)
The latest big Marvel event is here: Secret Wars. Jonathan Hickman’s mega event has been years in the making; we just didn’t know it until now. Teamed up with Thor: God of Thunder artist Esad Ribic, the first installment of the eight-issue event contains an insane amount of action and tragedy for the heroes of both the 616 (Regular Marvel) universe and the Ultimate Universe, and is an extremely entertaining debut issue.
As promised, the 616 Marvel universe has now collided with the Ultimate Universe. As the last two surviving realities, they must battle for the fate of their worlds, and the results aren’t pretty. Make no mistake, heroes will die, and I was actually pretty surprised by the twists and turns this first issue takes. Hickman is certainly not wasting any time with this story, and while none of it is probably going to last, the impact of seeing some longtime Marvel heroes bite it is plenty surprising.
If there’s one thing that holds Hickman’s script back, it’s the fact that it’s not as new reader friendly as the Free Comic Book Day issue would have you believe. Sure, it’s not as dense as the Avengers and New Avengers runs that led up to this issue, but it still relies on you having a sense of the fact that Marvel has the Ultimate Universe and the “main” universe. However, the book is packed with awesome character moments, and once you get past the fact that there are two universes at stake here, the book becomes pretty easy to follow (which is a surprise for a Hickman book).
Esad Ribic’s art is a thing to behold in Secret Wars. The artist brings Hickman’s epic story to life, and many pages will leave your jaw on the floor. Some characters do look a little strange at times, but that’s expected due to the sheer amount of characters that Ribic is drawing in this issue.
Secret Wars is off to a very good start with this first issue. Not much is known of what will exactly happen during this event, but as a Marvel fan, I’m in for the ride. Hickman’s Infinity event was arguably the best Marvel event of the last 5 years, and it looks like he and Ribic may surpass it with Secret Wars.
Convergence #5 (of 8) (DC Comics)
The other big alternate reality comic book event Convergence has hit the halfway mark this week, and while the Jeff King miniseries isn’t exactly a train wreck, it’s also not very compelling. In fact, Convergence is starting to feel like a drag, even with artist Andy Kubert drawing this issue.
Convergence #5 finds Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, and the other heroes of Earth 2 attempting to overthrow Deimos, the mad sorcerer of Skartaris who has overpowered Telos’ master Brainiac. With Brainiac subdued, Deimos is able to take a peek into the mind of Telos, where he discovers the herald of Brainiac’s past (hint: it’s very similar to the Silver Surfer’s), and attempts to release Telos from his master’s control. At the same time, Travis Morgan, the Warlord of Skartaris, is making his way to stop Deimos and assist his new allies. Naturally things don’t go quite as expected, and Deimos easily overpowers Morgan and claims ownership over the numerous bottled cities of Brainiac.
While this issue is pretty good, it’s still strange to me that the main story point of Convergence (the fact that these worlds are all supposed to battle one another) has taken a back seat to the continuing plight of the reality-displaced heroes of Earth 2. As good as this issue may be, we still have barely seen any of the worlds of the DC universe throw down with one another. We were told for weeks that Convergence would have the different realities of the DC universe duking it out, and so far we’ve only seen the start of these conflicts in the Convergence tie-in issues. I should say that none of this is a knock on writer Jeff King. In fact, it probably speaks more of the marketing department at DC then King’s plot that with each issue Convergence seems like the placeholder it was rumored to be.
Andy Kubert’s art is the saving grace of this issue. He’s clearly upped his game, and delivers some excellent fight sequences. His depiction of the world of Skartaris is also pretty awesome, and makes me hope that after all of this Convergence stuff has wrapped up that we may see a Warlord book with his name on it.
If you’ve been reading Convergence since the first issue, there’s nothing here to make you stop reading it. But, if you’ve been thinking about catching up, there’s really nothing that you’re missing. While it’s cool to see areas of the DC universe that we haven’t seen since the New 52 launch, there’s nothing here that’s really all that compelling. With only three issues left, there’s still time for Convergence to turn it around, but I’m not holding out hope that it will.