Front Lines - Convergence Week 3 (part 2 of 2)

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Convergence: Justice League of America #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Chriscross

Summary: This issue actually starts after the dome came down, which is pretty different from most of the tie-ins.  Also, it’s narrated by Sue Dibny, as she talks about her husband Ralph getting his powers back and getting the Justice League back together.  He gets Vibe, Vixen, and Steel (the cyborg, not the Superman character), and tries to get them a practice session in a gym while Aquaman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, and Gypsy try to figure out what’s going on.  All of them get ambushed by the Tangent Universe Secret Six, and appear defeated until the last panel with several of the heroes returning to the fight and setting up a rematch in the next issue.

Short Review: I didn’t suspect how hard it would be to see typical pre-Crisis Sue hanging around.  Her chemistry with Ralph and narration duties made me nostalgic.  A big detail here that’s starting to bug me (but I don’t fault this comic for it) is that we can’t seem to decide from tie in to tie in whether the “main reality” of the tie in went to hell with the dome or ended up with everyone pulling together and making life as good as possible for as many as possible with the dome.  I wish that a main decision was made on this and everything had to reflect it.  I feel like we got a good summary of some pretty obscure Justice League characters, but we don’t really have much on the Secret Six for people who never read Tangent.  All in all, this felt like a comic legitimately from the pre-Crisis era, and I applaud it for that.

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence: Hawkman #1 by Jeff Parker & Tim Truman

Summary: Hawkman and Hawkwoman come to the assistance of some cops pinned down by rioters, partly to catch you up to speed on how they were cops on Thanagar through dialogue.  At the end, they discover one of the rioters is a Shadow Warrior agent, who seems to know some things about the dome.  They theorize that the whole thing is a Shadow Warrior plot.  They then spend a bit of time in their civilian identities, where Shayera reveals her secret identity to museum goers while Katar confirms, then reveals his identity to the museum director.  They go off to find the Shadow Warriors, and end up having some Manhawks thrown at them by the Shadow Warriors. They fight their way into the Shadow Warrior base, where they discover that the Shadow Warriors have done some research and had some success penetrating the dome, and are aware of what’s on the other side of it.  No matter what happens, they feel it’ll be bad for the Hawks (and themselves).  Then the dome comes down, the end.

Short Review: This issue was difficult to judge.  Parker does a great job of bringing people up to speed on the Hawks, which is no easy task because Hawkman continuity is notoriously murky.  We got enough on the Shadow Warriors to get them too.  Hawkwoman’s reveal in the museum was really great.  There were, however, large portions of this comic that were more or less useless.  The Manhawks seemed to only exist to make us laugh a little about the silliness, for instance.  Scenes didn’t naturally flow into each other, it was pretty jarring whenever the scenes changed.  But the biggest crime is that we don’t get even a little glimpse of what heroes they’ll be up against.  And if you’re selling me these mini’s based on heroes of two realities battling it out, you’ve lost me here.

Score: 3/5

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Stuart Moore and Gus Storms

Summary: Unlike the other “Pre-Crisis Gotham” bracket issues this week, this issue features 30th century Metropolis vs. Durvale, the home of the Atomic Knights. Superboy and the other Legionnaires are trying to keep people’s spirits up and make Metropolis continue to function while Braniac-5 tries to figure out what exactly is going on.  Brainiac-5 gets a vague message from the planet, but is interrupted by the rest of the Legion before he can figure it out.  Lightning Lass makes a pass at Superboy, who is mired in feeling sorry for himself about being even more ostracized from his home than anyone else.  When their powers come back, the Legion tries to make plans to do recon, but instead get a Science Police alert asking them all to come to Central Square, where the Atomic Knights have arrived, riding giant dalmatians.

Short Review: The art on this issue was really off-putting.  There were several cases of blank faces or other lack of detail work.  The characters weren’t very distinct from each other.  Several times, I was honestly confused about which character was displayed and had to rely on dialogue.  The story itself was decent, but nothing really special, and by the end of the issue I was really annoyed at emo Superboy making everything about himself.  In this week’s Titans issue, a character does something similar, but it comes off a lot less annoying, so I think it wasn’t really the plot as much as it was the execution.

Score: 2/5

Convergence: New Teen Titans #1 by Marv Wolfman & Nicola Scott

Summary: A year after the dome happened, the Titans are still fighting crime via various equipment created to give them powers, like jetpacks and stuff.  Most of the Titans have basically paired up and spent most of their time in their given pair, except Donna Troy, who feels increasingly lonely and isolated.  Starfire and Nightwing are married, but Dick is having reservations about that since Starfire is starting to become increasingly desirous of killing enemies.  Meanwhile, Cyborg is slowly deteriorating, with Beast Boy relating that he might not have that long if a solution isn’t found.  The Tangent Universe Doom Patrol attacks when the dome comes down, searching for an energy source in Gotham that will enable them to go back to their world.  They discover it is within Cyborg and make the decision to take him out in order to save their own world after initially withdrawing from battle with the Titans due to not feeling good about fighting other heroes.  In the end, Firehawk of the Doom Patrol contacts Nightwing with a cliffhanger “We need to talk.”

Short Review: This comic did a lot of things that I had wanted to see in Convergence, but had very rarely seen so far.  We got a lot of scenes taken from the Tangent Doom Patrol’s perspective so that we see both sides of the conflict.  Most issues have focused solely on the perspective of the title heroes, so this level of depth...especially with both groups having reservations about the conflict...was really refreshing.  The art was serviceable, the story was great, and while there are some flaws, they’re pretty forgivable.

Score: 4.5/5

Convergence: Swamp Thing #1 by Len Wein & Kelley Jones

Summary:   About a year ago, the skies started to turn red.  Swamp Thing and Abigail Arcane go to Gotham to ask Batman if he knows what’s going on.  The dome appears, cutting Swamp Thing off from the Green.  Swamp Thing is basically near death, though Abigail does everything possible to keep him alive.  Finally the dome falls, Swamp Thing recovers, and vampires attack.

Short Review: It was real odd that they started this issue with a lengthy retelling of Swamp Thing’s origin.  Especially since after the story ends, they had a nice two page recap of who Swamp Thing was before this issue.  This issue seems like it would be a great way to start a new Swamp Thing series..but not a two-issue tie-in for a massive tie-in. It spends so much time setting up the character and premise that the issue is over basically just as anything interesting is about to happen.

Score: 2.5/5

Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 by Larry Hama And Joshua Middleton

Summary: Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are stuck in Gotham under the dome.  Wonder Woman doesn’t have her powers, but she’s still doing her best to help people.  With her friend Etta Candy, she visits the elderly and shut ins.  Etta is obsessed with a church that believes this whole dome thing was caused by angels.  The head priestess of the church (Miranda) even seems to allow an old woman to die because that was what the angels wanted.  Wonder Woman insults Miranda and Miranda knocks her out, planning to sacrifice her because Wonder Woman represents pagan gods.  The dome falls, and Wonder Woman’s powers return.  

Meanwhile, vampires arrive at the church...Miranda assumes they are angels, so she lets them in...and the massacre her and the other women in the church.  Trevor and Etta arrive to find the the attackers are vampire versions of The Joker, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy from the Red Rain universe.

Short Review:  More than any other issue this week, Wonder Woman seems determined to tell a story that fits two realities together.  Vampires being viewed as angels was an inspired idea, and immediately made me interested in where this story was going.  This was a very good Wonder Woman story and fits very well in the context of Convergence.  I would have loved to see many more tie-ins like this.

Score: 4.5/5

Final Thoughts on Convergence Week 3

Weaver: From skimming your issue reviews, I’m seeing a lot of the same criticisms I have of this week.  Some Convergence stories are becoming really really formulaic. Maybe that’s a function of being forced to tell essentially the same story over and over again with different characters, but you’d hope at some point editorial would step in and either reduce the number of tie ins or force some to change a little.  The best issues seem to be the ones that give a lot of thought to both of the realities Converging, such as your Wonder Woman one and my Teen Titans.

Maillaro: Yeah, I totally agree.  Part of it could be that we are reading 40 issues real closely to do reviews, but the flaws and repetition feels real amplified.  I also really have no idea where this goes from here.  Is this one last hurrah for these characters, or will a lot of them be sticking around?  If so, I am worried that they made some of these characters almost unredeemably unlikeable, especially the ones from the “other” cities.  Tangent Doom Patrol were just about the only characters given any positive depth...and that is for all three weeks.