Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Convergence Is Here! How And Where To Pre-Order Convergence Titles

Starting next week on April Fools Day (no joke), we'll get to revisit our old friends from the DC Universe of continuities past, starting with the pre-Flashpoint right down to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths timelines. While it's highly unlikely our favourite versions of our favourite characters will survive the event, the fact is we'll get to see them one more time until the next major DC event brings them back from the dead.

Since DC Entertainment--like any organisation--only understands the language of money, here's our chance to get our voices heard with our wallets! Below is a list of where you can pre-order the Earth-2 Convergence comics digitally, as well as how to acquire them in print.

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD


CONVERGENCE: ACTION COMICS #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY
Art by CLAUDE ST-AUBIN
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Superman teams up with Power Girl, but can they stop a nuclear strike by Lex Luthor and Stalin of Red Son Moscow?
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon
CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by LEN WEIN
Art by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson fight side by side in memory of Bruce Wayne as they decide who will become the next Batman.
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon
CONVERGENCE: INFINITY INC. #1
Written by JERRY ORDWAY
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The young heroes of Infinity, Inc. must choose between the path set for them by their parents or the one they’ve set for themselves as they face postapocalyptic Jonah Hex.
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon
CONVERGENCE: JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by TOM DERENICK and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by DAN PANOSIAN
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Older and in full retirement under the dome, members of the Justice Society get the chance to regain their youth to stave off forces from the Qward Universe. But the promise of youth comes with a deadly price!
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon
CONVERGENCE: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by JIM FERN, JOE RUBINSTEIN and SHANNON WHEELER
Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Read the most unusual tale in all of Convergence! The Seven Soldiers of Victory regroup to defend their city against the Qward invasion, while cartoonist Scribbly Jibbet transcribes their adventures.
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon
CONVERGENCE #0
Written by DAN JURGENS and JEFF KING
Art and cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:10 B&W Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:25 Variant cover by DARWYN COOKE
1:50 Variant cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER
1:100 Variant cover by ADAM HUGHES
Advance solicit • On sale APRIL 1 • 40 pg, FC, $4.99 US RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with five covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Where do worlds go when they die?
The Earthquakes felt round the Multiverse, Superman’s lost days after “Doomed,” the World’s End – all these points will converge as the history of the DCU is spun from a new perspective, the perspective of a mad god and his arrogant child. The biggest story in DC history ties into literally every DC story ever told – and it all begins here.
Kingdom Come, Red Son, Wild West Justice League, Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew – all the worlds you remember can still be found on Telos. Everything matters. Every story matters.
Don’t miss the start of DC’s April/May 2015 event with this special issue!
Pre-Order Links: DC Comics | Comixology | Amazon

PRINT VERSION

Sadly, unlike digital downloads which are easily available, print versions are a bit harder to come by due to the monopoly that Diamond has on the print comic market. As such, buyers--for the most part--have to pre-order them via comic book shops. Fortunately, the process is very simple since all it requires is entering a comic book store near you and telling the retailer (or whoever is at the register) which books you would like to pre-order. You then give them your name and they will reserve copies of the books you want for you. When you go to pick the books up, you just tell the retailer your name, and they will pull your comics from your file and hand them to you. That's it!

While you can also just walk into a store and pick up the books you want off the shelf, pre-ordering comics is more convenient for three reasons: first, it guarantees that you will still get a copy of the book you want in the event that the title actually sells out at the store. This does happen a lot with newer titles and especially event comics.

The second reason pre-ordering is more convenient is that it lets the retailer know how many copies of a title to buy, especially for shelf. The worst thing that can happen for a retailer is for them to buy more comics than they actually sell, effectively causing them to lose money. Pre-ordering a title gives the retailer an idea of which books are going to be in high demand, which will influence how many copies of that title to buy.

The third reason pre-ordering is more convenient is that it lets the larger comic industry know which books are in high demand, which will influence business decisions. So if you have a favourite character you want to keep reading about? Support them by buying the books they appear in. This will let the publisher--in this case DC Comics--know which characters (and comics) are highly sellable, and which ones to feature in more books. Or if they are already appearing in a book, this will let them know which ones to give solo titles to!

The bottom line here is this: if there is a comic or character you want to support, pre-order now! Dan DiDio already stated that DC will look at the Convergence sales in order to get an idea of which ones to give future titles to!

If you don't have access to a comic book store, not a problem. Fortunately print versions can still be acquired outside of a comic book store if you know where to look, especially online. For example, some comic retailers do have online stores via eBay or Amazon that will allow you to pre-order the comics you want, which is convenient. They still have to order through Diamond, so you're not actually buying Jane or Joe's copy of a comic they don't want anymore. Some stores even offer discounts, though you may still have to pay the shipping costs. Variant covers are also more easy to find online, but do be aware that they tend to cost more than the regular covers since they're often rare and sold as collectibles.

All that being said, what is motivating me to pimp the hell out of this event? I want an Earth-2 that actually feels like Earth-2 in concept, and not like DC's version of Marvel's Ultimate Universe, which is what I feel we got with the current Earth-2. The current Earth-2 and characters are very much blank slates starting in June, which means writer Daniel Wilson will develop these characters as he (or his editor) sees fit. He may have some good ideas for these characters, and he may not. I can safely say from having read the last five issues of Earth-2: World's End in their entirety that he's not very good at plotting complex narratives for a comic, and he especially doesn't write women well, often reducing their roles in the story to focus on the men instead. That for me is a major problem that will influence my future investment on Earth-2 despite being a huge fan of these characters and franchise.

It is possible that working on a monthly may allow Wilson to script his story better, but between his Earth-2: Futures End one-shot and Earth-2: World's End weekly series, I'm not feeling too confident or optimistic on that front. I feel even less confident that Wilson will be able to characterise these characters well (especially the women) with Mike Cotton as his editor, as this man clearly has no understanding of issues with diverse representation in comics. Problems with sexist storytelling were especially prevalent under Cotton's leadership, and something I found very off-putting across all three Earth-2 books that we got, including the one that was fronted by two women! All that into account, Earth-2: Society is very much a trade wait for me. If I hear positive things about it, I may check it out in trade. But if it turns out as bad as Wilson's Earth-2: World's End series, I'll leave it sitting on the shelf at the store. It really does need to 'wow' me for me to give it a chance.

Given what my options are right now, supporting the Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Convergence books (and any pre-Crisis Earth-2 Justice Society trades) are my best options for letting DC know what I actually want to read. In my honest opinion, the Justice Society characters are at their strongest when they are actually accompanied by the history and legacy that genuinely made them stand out from the Earth-0 Justice League. The Justice Society appearing decades earlier than the Justice League was one way that they were different. The fact that there were different generations of superheroes as members of the Justice Society gave it age diversity--something that is sorely lacking with the Justice League.

The fact that three women succeeded Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as the second generation Trinity without actually using their predecessors' symbols was equally significant considering how very male and Trinity-centric the majority of DC franchises tend to be. This is especially true with the Batman franchise in particular. The fact that the majority of older Justice Society members were married and had children of their own that led to the formation of Infinity Inc was also special and not an idea that was prevalent on the primary DC universe. Considering how very rare these ideas are in superhero comics, you can pretty much guarantee I pre-ordered the Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Convergence books (and the America vs the Justice Society trade) both in digital and print! I'm very much looking at a very tight wallet in both April and May!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Breaking News! The Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Returns In Trade This July With America Vs The Justice Society!

AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA TP
Written by ROY THOMAS
Art by RAFAEL KAYANAN, RICH BUCKLER, JERRY ORDWAY, ALFREDO ALCALA, HOWARD BENDER and others
Cover by JERRY ORDWAY
On sale JULY 22 • 160 pg, FC, $14.99 US
Following the end of World War II, Batman accuses the Justice Society of America of collaborating with the Nazis, which leads to a Congressional investigation that could mean disgrace for the JSA! Collects AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #1-4.

Finally, something good happening in July that's worth feeling excited about! 

You know how long I’ve been waiting for this trade to come out? This is--in my opinon--the best pre-Crisis Earth-2 story ever told! If you want to dive deep into the history of the Justice Society on Earth-2, this is a damn good trade to get for that! This is also the same story where we see Helena Wayne functioning as a lawyer instead of as the Huntress for most of the story’s duration! What I wouldn’t GIVE to get THIS Helena Wayne and THIS Earth-2 back! 

One can only hope the pre-Crisis Earth-2: Convergence books really outsell Earth-2: Society and DC actually publishes new books set within the continuity of this version of Earth-2! One can even continue to support the original Earth-2 post-Convergence by buying this trade in July! Honestly, it really is that good a story! And for $14.99, you literally can't go wrong with this since you're getting the real deal! It's certainly a better investment than paying $2.99 a month on an Earth-2: Society book that's not even taking place in the characters' own universe anymore. In case you're going 'huh? wut?' at that last sentence, here's the story: 

The whole premise for Earth-2: Society debuting in June is seeing the characters usurp another Earth to rebuild their entire society from scratch after the events of Earth-2: World's End and Convergence left them all homeless. It's going to explore the theme of colonisation (and subsequently, colonialism), which is a neat idea for an Image comic, but not the story I want to get out of the Earth-2 Justice Society franchise. Also considering that DC went out of their way to waste everyone's time AND money undoing all of the initial world-building of James Robinson's run with Earth-2: World's End, why should I care to invest in their 'New Earth-2' now? What's there left for me to care for now that the characters are even more far removed from their own history and legacy than before? I'd be an idiot to waste more money on the same hacks who destroyed everything that was good about Earth-2 to start with, and replaced it with something less than inferior.

Helena Wayne argues with Dick Grayson
Between paying a small amount a month for a 20-page comic that's likely to be complete schlock in the less skilful hands of a less knowledgeable writer (and worse yet, an incompetent editor), and paying a lot more for a 160-page trade that actually has quality writing, the characters are written with love and respect, I'll spend a lot more and take the latter. With the latter, you're getting a more heartfelt story written by people who loved the lore of the Golden Age Justice Society, and expanded the mythology of these characters through the parallel world known as Earth-2. It was written by writers who took these older characters in bolder, new directions without actually disrespecting what came before. 

In contrast with what we have today, any changes that were made to the Golden Age characters in the later decades actually felt like a natural progression of things rather than an abrupt change to the status quo. It especially helped that these characters had at least 17 years of stories for future writers to build upon, even though these stories were decades old. The same cannot be said about the current Earth-2 that has been a radical departure from the original concept in a really damaging way. Even less positive things can be said about the current team that is developing this franchise, as they have more than demonstrated a lack of love and respect for the lore of these characters. To the current team, they're nothing more than alternate universe characters they think no one cares about, which has left many fans of these characters (like myself) feeling frustrated in more recent times. At least, that's how it's felt like these past three years.

With all the schlock I've had to sit through as an Earth-2 Justice Society fan (worse in the last year than not), you can pretty much count on me pre-ordering the fuck out of this trade. With all the goodness America vs the Justice Society has to offer, I actually have something positive to review this July! It's actually a good thing I didn’t review this story already, or I would've posted the original comic scans that aren’t so pretty in print!