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

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by Mike Maillaro and Mike Weaver

Pretty much the same set up as last week.  There is a Metropolis that was taken by Telos right around the same time as Zero Hour.  It was put under a dome, everyone in the dome lost their superpowers.  A year later, Telos takes the dome down and orders “champions” to represent each dome in fights against other other cities.  Last city standing will be left alive, all the other cities will go to their doom.   Pre-Zero Hour Metropolis is featured in a bracket with Metropolis from Kingdom Come, San Diego from the Wildstorm Universe, and Electropolis…which I know very little about other than it features Lady Quark who appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Convergence #2 by Jeff King and Carlo Pagulayan

Summary: Telos has encased all of the Earth 2 heroes in metal goo while he has the domed cities fight to the death in the tie-in series.  Apparently, the Earth-2 heroes have been tasked with deciding who the winners are.   Batman is insistent that people won’t fight.  Telos says he can make them fight, and shows OMACs from Future’s End are attacking Just Imagine Universe.

The Earth 2 heroes are able to break out of the goo, and they attack Telos.  Green Lantern is able to channel the power of the planet to hurt Telos, but it only stops him momentarily.  Telos decides the heroes aren’t worth his time and vanished.  Batman takes Dick Grayson to explore a nearby Gotham.  The other heroes decide to head towards a Ruined City that Green Lantern senses holds the secret to defeating Telos.

In the Batcave, Dick encounters Alfred of that world, and Thomas Wayne of Earth 2 meets Bruce Wayne, the Batman of this world.  They seem to have a heart to heart off panel. Thomas tells Bruce that his father would be proud of him.  Alfred gives Grayson an armored suit and weapons to help in their fight.

The Earth 2 heroes reach the Ruined City and find a lone man being chased by Telos’ drones.  They rescue him and he reveals that his name is Deimos and he can lead them off this planet.

Short Review: I hate to admit this, but when I first read the last page, I was thinking “Who the hell is Deimos and why should I care?”  And then a lightbulb went off. DEIMOS?  AS IN WARLORD’S ARCH-NEMESIS??  HOLY SHIT!!   I am a huge fan of Mike Grell and The Warlord.  I was forced to give up my Warlord Fan Club for not recognizing him.  Though in my defense, this version looking very little like the Deimos I know and hate…

This was a little better than the first two issues, but I think it’s focused way too heavily on the Earth 2 heroes.  There seems to be so much going on here, and the tie-ins are only basically focused on 4 specific cities (10 books per city).   I appreciate they are trying to set them in specific points in the DC universe, but I would have rather 40 books covering 40 different cities. This issue did finally seem to tie Future’s End in that was appreciated...but it was very quick.  I did like that Thomas Wayne and Bruce got to have a quick chat, though it was off-panel, which I actually liked.  It leaves it up to the reader to fill in the blanks.  Nothing that could have been written will match what your imagination could come up with.

I also think I have figured out where this story is going.  It occurred to me that NONE of the cities in this book are from the current main DC Earth-0.  I suspect the end of this will be the winning “city” probably combined with pieces of the surviving cities, will get implanted on DC Earth-0 setting up a new status quo.  Which is kind of a cool idea, but sounds exactly like Battleworld from Secret Wars.

All in all, the tie-ins have been much more interesting than the main series.  

Score: 3.5/5

Convergence: Aquaman #1 by Tony Bedard & Cliff Richards

Summary: Aquaman has had a rough time trapped in Metropolis.  Early on, he fought Chemo in Metropolis Harbor, which ended up poisoning the water.  Since then, Aquaman has been landlocked, which weakens him.  When the dome comes down, he’s set to face off against Deathblow, who ends up slaughtering an DEO office to find out Aquaman’s weaknesses.

Short Review:  I complain a lot about covers that don’t match the interior art.  This time, it was a blessing.  The cover on this book was just awful, but the art on this comic was excellent.   I did think at times this issue might have contradicted some of the other things in Convergence, suggesting that Telos was providing food, water, and electricity to those under the dome, but I might be reading a little too much into things.  I actually enjoyed this issue for the most part, though I did think Deathblow felt terribly out of character.  Why is he going around killing innocent people just to try and get an edge in a fight against Aquaman.

Score: 3.5/5

Convergence: Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 by Larry Hama and Philip Tan

Summary: This issue is set towards the end of Knightfall.  Azrael is still Batman and wearing the armored costume.  Bruce Wayne has basically just come back, still recovering from having his back broken.  They both get trapped in Metropolis, and both are undercover trying to do what they can to protect Metropolis’s food supply from criminals, including Tobias Whale.  Even though they basically hate each other, the two Batmen decide to work together.  The dome comes down, and Pilgrim and Jester from Wetworks are inserted into the city to fight them.

Short Review:  It really feels like this could have been a missing issue from the time.   It captured the feel of Knightfall perfectly, and that has long been one of my favorite Batman stories.   Larry Hama did a great job with Azrael, Batman, and even made Tobias Whale into an entertaining character.  I actually sort of wished they had forgotten that it was a Convergence tie-in.  I don’t care much about Wetworks.  I actually like quite a few Wildstorm books…why couldn’t we have gotten Stormwatch instead?

Score 4.5/5 (would have been 5 out of 5 if they didn’t shoehorn in Wetworks)

Convergence: Catwoman #1 by Justin Gray & Ron Randall

Catwoman begins the issue fighting off a rival group of thieves attempting to get the same score as her: a precious necklace belonging to a spoiled heiress.  This scene was somewhat confusing as Catwoman seems to reference the scarcity economy, but it’s later revealed that it happened before the dome came down.  With the dome in place, Catwoman takes on the role of protecting Suicide Slum, and beats up some guys planning to sport kill the poor people who live there.  Intergang plans to control the creation and distribution of medicine by kidnapping most doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chemists, etc.  When they capture someone who had previously been supplying medicine to Suicide Slum residents on the cheap, Catwoman breaks in and rescues her.  The dome goes away at the very end of the issue, and Kingdom Come Batman is already hot on Catwoman’s case.  

Short Review: This issue had basically nonstop action, but still told enough story to string it all together.  Although Catwoman spends her time fighting nameless thugs instead of any recognizable characters, it worked well for the story.  I do feel that the cold opening was confusing, and we didn’t get to see enough of what happens when the dome comes down, but all in all, it was an engaging issue full of Catwoman kicking ass.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Convergence: Green Arrow #1  by Christy Marx + Rags Morales

Summary: Both Ollie and Conner Hawke end up trapped under the dome in Metropolis.  Ollie hasn’t died yet, and Conner has never met him, though he knows Ollie is his father.  Ollie is running around in full costume as Green Arrow trying to keep Metropolis safe.  Conner runs a small sanctuary.  Meanwhile, a white supremacist survivalist group wants to take over the city.  The survivalists attack the sanctuary.  Conner sets off a flare to get Ollie’s attention.  Ollie saves the day, and Conner reveals their relationship.  Ollie is very reluctant to try and be a father now.  The dome comes down, and they end up facing off against Kingdom Come’s Black Canary and a girl who also calls Ollie dad.

Short Review: I loved the scenes with Ollie and Conner.  I know I read them back in the day, but I don’t really remember what happened in the comics where Ollie and Conner realized they were father and son, so this was a great issue for me.  I’m actually a huge fan of Conner, especially the short time he was in JLA.  Christy Marx had a terrific handle on these characters, and I loved that their opponents further complicate the situation.  I did think it was strange this issue spent time building up a white supremacist group just to have them get beaten in one panel basically.

Score: 5/5

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1 by Tony Bedard and Ron Wagner

Summary: Kyle Rayner had pretty much just become Green Lantern when the dome came up taking his powers away and stranding him in Metropolis.  Hal Jordan has also lost his powers, and voluntarily had himself put in jail because of his actions as Parallax.  Hal is haunted by what he’s done, and Kyle visits him often, unsure of whether to think of Hal as a hero or villain.  The dome comes down, restoring both men’s powers.  Parallax wants to take Telos down for good, though the Hal Jordan part of his is resisting.  Kyle and Hal are attacked by Princess Fern from Electropolis.  This pushes Hal over the edge.  He takes Fern out and decides to wipe Electropolis off the map.

Short Review: The interactions between Kyle and Hal early on in the issue were pretty cool.  One thing I have enjoyed about Convergence is the opportunity to tell these kinds of stories in chapters of the DC Universe that never quite happened.  I was kind of pissed that Kyle went down so easily though to a character called Princess Fern.  It actually sort of tainted the whole issue for me, to be honest.

Score: 4/5