WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Convergence #4, on sale today. If you haven't read it yet, go to your local retailer or pick one up digitally and read along with us.
Today's issue of Convergence kicked the battle in Skartaris into high gear, while the Time Masters both here and in Convergence: Booster Gold started to play a larger and clearer role.
While the heroes struggled to wrest control of the Time Masters' prison from Travis Morgan's people, Skartaris became a staging ground for the return of Brainiac at the behest of Deimos.
Writer Jeff King joined us to discuss the issue and how it fits into the overall series.
So apparently this whole situation IS Brainiac’s plan? I had thought in #3 that it seemed Telos was breaking with Brainiac’s wishes here.
The plan always was to pit the cities against each other and return one to the multiverse, the most worthy, the strongest. What Telos never had was all the information, because Telos wasn’t Brainiac. Telos was the gardener, not the planter of the garden. So he understands the experience from his perspective, which is periodically a dome will go down, periodically heroes or cities will be pitted against each other. What happens when people leave has always been Brainiac's doing. That’s his part of it. That’s his piece. So the ultimate resolution will be a surprise to Telos.
When Brainiac comes back on stage at the end of #4, that’s when things really start to get crazy because that was something that Telos never imagined would happen and Brainiac’s influence is going to change the game in a big way but by the time Brainiac returns, Telos has already unleashed chaos and put all the cities against each other, broken down the domes and that’s going to lead to an outcome that not even Brainiac expected.
You know, it seems like you can’t be the first one to use the aggressive-sounding “The Warlord” as a way to make Morgan sound evil...but I can’t remember another time.
Yeah, totally. And that combination of Deimos’ general demeanor and that they saw him pursued by the drones and so forth, absolutely. And Travis Morgan is a badass in every sense of the word so looked at from that perspective he’s pretty formidable. He and his team and Machiste, they’re definitely a warrior culture. They dress the part of warriors, they act and behave like warriors, their system of merit is all based on warrior culture. So it was easy to lean into that and distill from it what the heart of the great Mike Grell stories were which is speculative fiction, sci-fi adventuring of a 20th century warrior in a very futuristic world.
Yeah, Skartaris and the world oft he Warlord had already been basked into the storyline by the time I arrived but how it came to be and how it was connected was something that we further refined during the breaking of the story and especially the relationship between Deimos and Telos. You begin to see that in some ways, Telos and Deimos are a little bit like Cain and Abel in their relationship to Brainiac. Deimos in his own way has been chafing under Brainiac just as long as Telos has but with very different circumstances.
Now...Monarch and Per Degaton aren’t really Time Masters. Per Degaton is actually a member of the Time Stealers, who oppose Rip and Booster. Is this indicative that there's a complex relationship at play with these time travelers, or just that he's "collecting" all time travelers across the board?
Basically it’s more the former that some of them were at Vanishing Point and that was what Brainiac was after in Futures End: Booster Gold. but of course some of these other time travelers would have been captured when their timelines ended, so some were already captured and segregated into Skartaris. Others were still at Vanishing Point, which is why Brainiac wanted to find them so badly -- because they could mount a rescue operation and be a fly in his ointment because what they discovered was, and you’ll see this in Booster Gold, when time travelers are in a dome, it nullifies the effect of the dome and [the inhabitants] get their powers back.
Basically, whether that would allow them to break out of the dome we never tested but it gave them their powers back which would cause tons of chaos and potentially a lot of them to break out of the dome or allow them to kill each other if they were trapped together, which is a version of what was happening in Justice City where they were just putting two of the fighting fish in the same aquarium. One’s going to kill the other and you’re not going to have 2 fish in the aquarium anymore.
Had Telos literally never considered the idea that he could save all of the cities?
No, never, never never. That would be the last thing from his mind because Brainiac’s design is that you pit them against each other and the loser loses.
Telos was raised to be part of a system. That’s what Brainiac created him to be. In this story on his own making his own decisions, he’s experiencing that kind of individuation that you do in growing from a kid to an adult so he’s experiencing all these things for a first time and going through it in a weird way with Grayson.
At the beginning of #4, I feel like we’ve got a much more self-aware Telos. The moment that he has at the beginning is something he never could have had in issue #1 or 2. Seeing Batman’s sacrifice, picking up the cowl like he does, he’s still determined to finish what he set out to, which is to see all the experiment through, but he’s got this conflict now, which is his growing appreciation for the individual as oppose to the collective.
Up until now he’s seeing things through glass, like those objects inside his domes, and suddenly he’s mixing with us and he’s experiencing that we have what he has which is hopes and needs and desires.
Telos is wrong about this being the end? That’s a very loaded statement. This issue seems to be the moment where you’re planting a flag in the ground and saying there might REALLY be a way to save all of the worlds. Is that a fair assessment -- whether or not it WILL end that way notwithstanding?
You’re going to get an answer to that question before the end of #8.