Front Lines - Convergence Week 5 (Part 2 of 2)

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By Mike Maillaro and Mike Weaver

Convergence:  Nightwing and Oracle #2 by Gail Simone and Jan Durrsema

Summary:  While Oracle plots behind the scenes, Dick Grayson tries to take out the Hawks by crashing a Batwing into them.  Oracle has Black Canary scream into the comms, and since the Hawks are listening in, they are momentarily incapacitate.  Hawkgirl tries to fight Oracle, but even in a wheelchair, Oracle defeats her.  Nightwing defeats Hawkman as well.  Defeated, the Hawks try to unleash robots to destroy Gotham, but Oracle and Black Canary reprogram the Telos drones and use them to destroy the robots.  Oracle offers the Hawks the chance to start new lives in Gotham.  Gotham safe, Oracle accepts Dick’s proposal and they are married.

Short Review:  I really enjoyed this issue...but I did have one small complaint. There is a scene early in the comic where Oracle is talking to a mysterious cloaked figure...only for us to find out a page late that it was Black Canary.  This seemed a little over the top...why would Black Canary be wearing a cloak in Oracle’s loft to hide her identity.  It’s just a petty thing, but it really did annoy me.  That said, I loved seeing Oracle in action, and it was nice we got a happy ending here.

Score: 5/5

Convergence:  Superman #2 by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

Summary:  Superman tries to get Flashpoint Cyborg, Shazam, and Green Lantern to cooperate, but they are still pretty riled up from Jimmy Olsen attacking them last issue.  Superman hears Lois calling for help, so he rushes off to find her.  Flashpoint Superman has brought Lois to Batman because he’s a doctor.  Superman is followed by Green Lantern, who realizes they are not enemies.  Green Lantern explains some of the things that happened on his world, especially to Flashpoint Superman and Batman.  Superman heads to the bat cave to find Lois ready to give birth.  Thomas lets him use his equipment to deliver a healthy baby boy named Jonathan Samuel Kent.  Batman tells Superman that he should do whatever it takes to protect that child.

Short Review:  The characterization of the Flashpoint characters was real well done here.  This was one of the few Convergence books that made us care about the “villains.”  I also like that no one got a clear victory here.  Heroes should be working together, not just being manipulated by cosmic forces.  Jurgens really needs to write more about this version of Superman and Lois.  So happy they finally have their baby!

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence:  The Titans #2 by Fabian Nicieza and Ron Wagner

Summary:  The last issue seemed to end with Roy Harper shooting Starfire and Donna Troy because of the Extremists was able to bring his daughter back to life by plucking her from the timestream before she died.  But, it is revealed that he intentionally missed, instead he shot two support beams to drop a heavy metal structure down on the Extremists.  Roy rescues Lian from the Extremists, and Beast Boy and Cyborg arrive to even the numbers.  Roy bring Lian to a bunker.  Dreamslayer of the Extremists appears to take her away.  Dreamslayer says that the Titans will life and Lian will be returned if only Roy helps defeat his friends.  Roy activates weapons hidden all over the city, and fires on Starfire.  Roy convinces Dreamslayer to return Lian, and then Roy turns the weapons on the Extremists.  He then takes out Dreamslayer with an EMP.  The Extremists retreat to Robinson Park.  The Titans are going to follow them, but insist that Roy stays behind with his daughter.  And that is where we end.

Short Review:  I did think this story was focused a little too heavily on Roy Harper and the choice of whether or not he would betray his friends.  It gave the book a very human element, but I wanted to read a comic about The Titans...not just Roy Harper.  I also thought the Extremists felt like mustache twirling villains without any real purpose.  If there was a little more nuance here, I think that would have made Roy’s choice a lot more compelling.  BUT, it was still a real good read.  

Score: 4.0/5

Convergence: The Question #2 by Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner

Summary: Huntress, Question, and Batwoman team up to track down Two-Face.  Question realizes that they are going to stop him, they need to get ahead of Two-Face and figure out where he’s going.  Two-Face seems to be going after Flashpoint Harvey Dent.  Two-Face tries to get Harvey to shoot him.  Two-Face would rather Harvey survive and protect his wife and children.  Question arrives just in time to get in the way of the bullet.  Harvey is warped back to his own city.  Question is revived by Batwoman.  Question manages to make it to the hospital in time to be at her father’s side when he dies.

Short Review: This issue really didn’t need to be part of Convergence.  So much of the Flashpoint elements felt almost like after thoughts.  That said, it was great to see Rucka writing these characters, and there were a lot of great character moments, like Two-Face facing off with Harvey and Question’s struggles to be there for her father as he died.   Kind of torn how I feel about this one. It does make me think DC needs a line of books set in different periods of DC history so we can get more stories like this.

Score: 3.5/5

Convergence: Speed Force #2 by Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett

Summary: The Flash, along with his kids Iris and Jai, and a super fast turtle (Fastback from the Zoo Crew) face off against Flashpoint Wonder Woman and her Amazons. This Wonder Woman is very nearly as fast as Flash, and seems to have the upper hand when they start fighting.  Fastback takes the kids away from the fight to protect them.  Wonder Woman and her Amazons use grenades made from synthesizing Count Vertigo’s powers to slow Flash and Fastback down, but the kids come through in the end, saving Fastback and distracting Wonder Woman enough for Flash to take her out.  Wally offers to go back to Fastback’s home world to help him, but Fastback declines.

Short Review: Once again, there’s a definite formula to these issues, but this used the formula well.  I liked Fastback, and I liked even more the creative team’s handling of him.  He looked and seemed like a cartoon compared to the more realistically drawn Flash family, but yet he was a useful and heroic character.  Flashpoint Wonder Woman posed a credible threat, but the Vertigo grenades do have a certain “isn’t that convenient” factor.  In the end, it was a solid enough story, and I liked the cross-universe team-up more than I thought I would.

Score: 4/5

Convergence Week 5 Final Thoughts:

Maillaro: After the terrific stories we got in week 4, I really felt this was a huge step backwards.  Part of the problem was that DC seems to want to only favor their main characters.  The Flashpoint characters got a little more development that the Extremists, but for the most part, they seemed only there to do the job.  I thought it was way out of character for Catman to throw the fight...and it seems like that would have been a violation of the rules Telos established and forfeited both world.

I also thought it was odd that each book tried to connect together by having an earthquake of some sort shake the planet.  But you can tell this was purely editorial mandate because in all ten tie ins you get a scene like “oh...the planet is shaking...I wonder why...let’s move on.”  It was so badly integrated into the stories.

Weaver: “Do you think the bad guys caused that?”  “They seem just as surprised as us.”  “Okay.  Moving right along…”

I didn’t comment on the earthquake because I had that much disdain for it as a plot device.  Obviously it’s a tie-in to something that they’ll be doing in Convergence, but it hasn’t even made me wonder what.

Speed Force was the only one I read that did a favorable job of interpreting the alternate universe characters.  Wonder Woman seemed fine, and Fastback was great. What I’m seeing increasingly is that Convergence is strongest when the writers actually spend some time humanizing and/or characterizing the other universes beyond being cookie cutter bad guys, which the Extremists really felt like.  I wonder why...with these titles all being below par, pretty much...this was the slate they chose for their first week of cycle.  Maybe they thought people would buy the first week regardless of quality...and maybe so, but that doesn’t get repeat buys.