Front Lines - Convergence Week 4 (Part 1 of 2)

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by Mike Maillaro and Mike Weaver

Convergence #4

Summary: This issue starts with Telos explaining what’s going on to Earth-2 Dick Grayson.  Brainiac saved these cities and tasked Telos with terraforming this world for them.  But, Telos needs to decide who would make a strong society worthy of this world.  So he decided to have them all fight it out.   He wraps the paralyzed Dick Grayson in some kind of liquid metal that helps him regain his mobility.  

Meanwhile, Deimos tells the Earth-2 heroes that the Warlord rules over the land of Skartaris.  According to Deimos, Warlord is the one who took all the time travelers prisoner.  While this is going on, Shakira is talking to the prisoners, trying to convince them that they need to all work with the Warlord or else all the cities are doomed.

Grayson tries to convince Telos that there must be a better way.  Telos says that he can’t resist his programming, Dick must fight or he will be destroyed.

The Earth-2 heroes attack the castle, and they find themselves facing off against the Warlord’s allies, Machiste and Mariah.  Deimos reveals himself to be evil.  He attacks Shakira. He tells her that there is no point in trying to reason with the “Time Masters,” they must take their power!  It seems like Warlord’s plan was to try and talk them into helping. Deimos wants to use their power to free Brainiac who seems trapped in an enormous T-Sphere.  

Short Review: I will admit, I am a little biased towards this issue just because I love the Warlord characters so much.   I also loved the last image of the giant Brainiac being held in one of Mister Terrific's T-Spheres.  It definitely opened up a lot of questions on how that could have happened.

Another thing that really worked in this issue for me was Telos’ conversation with Dick Grayson.  I kind of like the idea that Dick Grayson and his relationship with Batman is such an important aspect of the DC Multiverse, even on a world like Earth-2 where Dick Grayson never became Robin.   

I still think a big problem with Convergence is that the story has been told with too tight a focused lens.  There is a whole bunch of cities out there fighting, and the main series has focused pretty much only on the Earth-2 heroes, and even the tie-ins for the most part only featured a handful of cities.   But, all that said, I have enjoyed the story that is being told for the most part.  

Score: 4/5

Convergence:  Action Comics #1 by Justin Gray & Claude St-Aubin

Worlds Featured: Pre-Crisis Earth 2 Metropolis Vs. Moscow, Russia (Red Son)

Summary: This issue starts with an older Lois and Clark.  They are married, and since Clark lost his powers under the dome, his identity is public.  Someone asks them to autograph a picture of the day they got married.  

Meanwhile, in Red Son Moscow, Stalin feels that the citizens are losing faith in their leadership (including Superman and Wonder Woman).  An American scientist, Lex Luthor, is trapped in Moscow with his life Lois Lane.  Lex seems to enjoy taunting the Russians.

Back in Metropolis, Power Girl is also stuck under the dome, but she’s having a much harder time adjusting than Superman.  When her powers gave out, she was flying over a skylight and she has nasty scars all over her body.  She’s trying to live a normal life with her boyfriend Andrew, but it’s not going all that well.

The issue ends with the domes on both cities coming down, and Red Son Wonder Woman preparing for battle.

Short Review:  One of the biggest complaints we’ve both had about Convergence is that too often, the “other” cities featured don’t get much time to show what they are all about. The characters all feel flat and just there for the “heroes” to fight. This issue really bucked that trend.  We are shown both cities in tremendous parallels.  By the end of this issue, we really care about all of these characters, and their battle matters to the reader.  I feel like I will be saying this a lot this week:  This is what I was hoping to come out of Convergence.    

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence:  Justice Society of America #1 by Dan Abnett and Tom Derenick

Worlds Featured:  Metropolis (Pre-Crisis Earth 2) vs Qward (Anti-Monitor Universe)

Summary: The JSA is dealing with the pains of old age, as the dome’s removal of their powers caused time to start to catch up with them.  Jay Garrick visits Kent Nelson, who has been in a coma in the hospital since the dome came down.  He explains briefly how the last year has gone, with Jay, Alan Scott, and Carter Hall all becoming weaker and more feeble.  For a moment, Jay envies Kent’s comatose state, then thinks better of it.  Meanwhile, Carter gives his blessing to his son Hector to allow Infinity Inc to fill the void of the dying JSA when the dome comes down.  Alan, Jay, and Carter are all called to the hospital because Kent has awakened.  They get there just as the dome is coming down.  Kent suggests that he cast a spell that gives them all their youth back temporarily...but at the likely cost of their lives.  When Qwardian weaponer technology begins to attack Metropolis, the heroes agree to the spell, and a revived Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Dr. Fate are ready to fight “one last time.”

Short Review:  It’s no secret that I love the old Earth-2 stories.  This one was a bit hard because it dealt with the mortality of the beloved Golden Age heroes...but there’s been stories about that before.  This was almost all drama and narrative, but encaptured the spirits and personalities of all the heroes involved, and had that Golden Age feel that despite what’s going on and what struggles people are going through, everyone is making the absolute best of the situation.  My only complaint is that the enemy group was very beside the point and almost parenthetical.

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence:  Blue Beetle #1 by Scott Lobdell and Yishan Li

Worlds Featured: Hub City (Earth-4) vs 31st Century Metropolis

Summary: In Hub City, a group calling themselves the Madmen are fighting back against the authorities.  When the Dome appeared, the military started to take people’s guns away.  Vic Sage (Question) is a reporter.  Nathaniel Adam (Captain Atom) is the head of the military enforcing martial law in Hub City.  Adam orders his men to kill the Madmen.  Vic approaches Adam in his Question getup. Adam expects him to criticize him for killing the Madmen, but instead Question says that Ted Kord needs Adam’s help.  Ted believes that he has built a weapon that can pierce the dome.  Ted fires the weapon, and it seems like the dome is cracked.  Captain Atom gets his powers back.  But so does the villain, Dr Spectro.  Atom and Dr Spectro fight briefly.  The future version of Booster Gold appears. Atom attacks him.  Booster fades away, and Atom and Spectro both lose their powers again.  The dome comes down soon after. The next issue blurb promises a battle with the Legion of Super-Heroes in the next issue.

Short Review:  WTF???  Where are all this creativity and energy over the first three weeks of Convergence?  The first two issues I had read this week were Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, and both completely broke free from the repetitive format we had been getting for weeks now.  This was a terrific use of the Charlton characters.  It also might be the best work Lobdell has done since High Roads. It is definitely better than anything he’s done in the New 52.  Everything about this book worked real well for me.

Score: 5/5

Convergence:  Booster Gold #1 by Dan Jurgens and Alvaro Martinez

Worlds Featured: Vanishing Point and Skartaris

Summary: If this summary makes any sense, it will be a miracle…

During Future’s End, New-52 Booster Gold was captured and forced to reveal the location of Vanishing Point to save an alternate reality version of his sister, Michelle.  Skeet and Rip Hunter arrive to save him...though we find out that Rip was actually looking for his father, Pre-Flashpoint Booster Gold.  Booster and Rip rescue the other Booster from the time prison in Skartaris.  It is revealed that Pre-Flashpoint Booster is dying as a result of his time traveling.  This is also causing him to bounce from city to city on Telos’ world.  Booster, Rip, and Michelle chase Pre-Flashpoint Booster to another domed city, where they are attacked by the Legion.  Pre-Flashpoint Booster ends up bouncing again, and finds himself with his old friends from the Justice League International.  

Short Review:  This issue is a direct continuation of Booster Gold - Future’s End 1 from about 8 months ago.  It puts that issue in a lot of context, showing that Pre-Flashpoint Booster was not jumping from timeline to timeline, he was jumping to the various cities of Telos’ world.  At the time, I really liked that issue, but didn’t quite get what was happening.  When you read it again in the context of Convergence, it fits really well.  I like when DC plants those kinds of seeds, especially when the continuity matches up perfectly like it did with these two comics.

Jurgens has always been the best writer for Booster, and his love of the character is real clear here.  Jurgens also has close ties to Skartaris (he wrote Warlord after Grell left, and he also featured him in his Teen Titans run).  I would have loved to see him write Warlord again here, but that’s pretty much my only possible complaint about this issue.  I suspect this issue is going to be very important in what the DC universe looks like after Convergence is over.

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence: Detective Comics #1 by Len Wein, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz

Worlds Featured: Metropolis (Pre-Crisis Earth 2) and Moscow (Red Son)

Summary: This story takes place in four month segments, alternating between pre-Crisis Earth 2 and the Red Son world.  As the dome is about to go down, Superman is flying around Moscow as the idol of millions...and loses his powers when the dome arrives.  Meanwhile, Huntress and the adult Robin head to Metropolis for a meeting of the JSA, which seems odd to them as the team normally meets in New York.  

Four months later, Superman is doing a PR tour with his main political rival in order to reassure the people of Moscow despite his own misgivings.  This is starting to fall apart, as people find it harder to buy into Superman’s reassurances as time passes.  Meanwhile, Robin and Huntress discuss Batman’s legacy, with Huntress strongly suggesting Dick take over as Batman, which he refuses to do.  

At the eight month mark, Superman blatantly lies to Moscow saying that he created the dome to protect them from an alien invasion, then uses some theater magic to appear to take flight.  People are becoming more and more disillusioned.  Meanwhile on Earth-2, Robin and Huntress have a confrontation with Toyman.  

Finally, when a year has passed, Superman is increasingly pained by how bad conditions are in Moscow and how much the people have to live with, when suddenly Telos gives his narration, the dome goes up, and he’s Super again.  Robin and Huntress ride the Batmobile into Moscow to confront their Superenemy.  Robin and Superman want to chat about what possible solutions they can come up with that are mutually agreeable, which sounds great until Huntress shoots missiles at Superman with no provocation.  Superman is still ready to forgive that and talk, so Huntress goes harder on the attack.  In the end, she appears to die, and may have taken Superman with her.

Short Review:  Wow.  So much happened in this comic that it was hard to believe.  And yet, brilliantly paced and humanized both worlds...if anything, the “main heroic” world had the biggest loose cannon, in Huntress.  I liked that it gave us the episodic look-ins of each world, although I felt the Moscow ones had more substance to them.  The art definitely had Sinkiewicz’s style, which can be an acquired taste, but worked well with this story.  This is exactly what Convergence should be.  Full marks.

Score: 5/5