Corrina: I was initially excited about this event, which brings back some of the versions of DC characters and concepts I love, such as Oracle, and Lois and Clark being together, and Renee Montoya as The Question, and the Cassandra Cain Batgirl.
Mordechai: Interjecting to note that as a big White Collar fan, I was looking forward to seeing show runner Tim King’s first big comic book work. His TV work shows him to have a great ear for dialogue and pacing.
Corrina: But as I read my issues, my heart sank. I thought I was getting stories centered around their worlds. But essentially, all the realities (various version of Gotham) are dealing with the same thing: a big dome that cuts them off from everything else which then morphs to a giant voice in the sky saying that champions will be chosen to decide if their version of reality survives. Oh, by the way, no heroes have had powers when the domes are intact.
Mordechai: Except when they do, which is just annoying. I think there’s a Metropolis or two in there as well though, just based on the that last page.
Corrina: Basically, we’ve got one big Battle Royale. I wasn’t quite up for that. However, I enjoyed most of the issues, if not as much as I hoped.
Story by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell; Art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz
Mordechai: Why does it always have to be Evil Superman? Ugh.
Corrina: He does get squashed fast. And Val-Zod lives. So there’s that. Also, you cannot go wrong with celebrating being reborn by kissing Dick Grayson, especially if you’re a red-head.
Do you need to read this issue? Well, maybe if you’ve been reading Injustice or Earth:2 or Futures End. Otherwise…?
Buy it? Nah.
Convergence: The Question #1
Story by Greg Rucka; Art by Cully Hamner.
Mordechai: On the one hand, yay, a comic written by Grek Rucka! With art by Cully Hamner, no less. On the other, really never cared for this version of the Question. Still, it stands out for being about more than just the big fight.
Corrina: This was my favorite all of the Convergence issues because of that depth. It’s about people, including Renee, coping with despair, and the relationships are complicated, particularly between Renee and Two-Face/Harvey Dent. The art perfectly sells all of this. The other Convergence issues are about fighting, to some extent, and this isn’t about that. Also: the last panel probably sent off a little Tumblr-quake.
Buy it? Yes!
Convergence: Nightwing & Oracle
Story by Gail Simone; Art by Jan Duusema (pencils) and Dan Parsons (inks).
Corrina: One of my favorite Gotham duos, Babs (Oracle) Gordon and Dick (Nightwing) Grayson. I liked it only a little bit less than The Question because it did have more of the whole “trapped in the dome, let loose to fight for your city’s life” angle that I wished didn’t exist. Gail Simone, as always, writes a terrific Barbara Gordon and I need to scan that last panel because it’s awesome.
Mordechai: This issue gives us our first continuity blip, with a villain from Convergence: Batman and Robin apparently committing two crimes at the same time, and having the same “Meh, whatever” reaction. It’s far more well done here.
This issue also kind of threw a big spotlight on my major issue with this entire wave, so I’ll rant here: Gail Simone (wisely) has Dick interact with Kory, a character featured in another book. Beyond that, there’s negligible inter-book interaction. This may sound like a stupid quibble, but we’re talking about several inter-connected characters in one city, fighting a major threat over a year. Seems to me there should be a lot more connection.
Corrina: If they’re the same versions. Are we sure they’re not just close cousins?
Also, the Hawks beat up people. As they do.
Buy it? Yes!
Convergence: The Atom #1
Story by Tom Peyer; Art by Steve Yoewell (pencils) and Andy Owens (inks).
Corrina: Ray Palmer runs around Gotham beating up people because he’s crazy and has a weird new power that he shouldn’t have. Only interesting for the walk-on by Ryan Choi at the end, but that could mean part two is very good.
Mordechai: I’m an Atom fan. Both Ray and Ryan are great. Turning The Atom into a kind of nutty guy with a weird power works and doesn’t. That it works at all is a credit to Tom Peyer, a writer whose name I wish I saw more in credit boxes. It doesn’t because it’s hard to believe that all of Ray’s other friends trapped in Gotham (Wally, Clark, and Bruce for starters) are just ignoring their apparently insane friend. But at least a random person named Maria is not, and they have a somewhat touching scene.
Let’s not even talk about Deathstroke’s whole “Well, he keeps talking about me, so I have to kill him.” That’s some Arrow level logic, there. All Slade had to do was stay not Deathstroke. But no, that wouldn’t work.
Buy it? Corrina suggests you wait until issue #2 to see how it resolves. Mordechai thinks it’s worth it for Ryan Choi.
Convergence: Superman #1
Story by Dan Jurgens; Art by Lee Weeks.
Corrina: Love the Lois and Clark banter and relationship. Loved Superman going out on rooftops in Gotham. But the rest of the plot was “meh,” unless you like the Flashpoint universe. Which I do not.
Mordechai: Not going to lie, I let out a squeal of joy at the sight of pregnant Lois.
Jurgens and Weeks do a solid job here with their dynamic (even if this must be the 30th “even without powers Superman would be a hero” story in my lifetime). But I’d go so far as to say the Flashpoint aspects take away from it. Particularly since Flashpoint Kal apparently has the same motivation as Flashpoint Aquaman–a dead woman (should we start calling it FridgePoint?).
Buy it? If you’ve been jonesing for Lois & Clark? Yes.
Convergence: Speed Force #1
Story by Tony Bedard; Art by Tom Grummett (pencils) and Sean Parsons (inks).
Corrina: Wally West takes his twin superpowered kids on a mission and ends up trapped under a Gotham dome. He kinda goes a bit crazy. However, cool use of the speed force when his powers do come back.
Mordechai: I miss when Tom Grummett was inked by Al Vey in the ’90s. I felt like his work was a bit stronger then. Very much an artist who is impacted by his inker. He’s also an artist who draws kids well, with Jai and Iris looking like more than just smaller adults. More importantly, he does a great job drawing Fastback, a funny animal hero, side by side with more his more serious, Neal Adams-influenced style.
Buy it? For Wally West fans, and it does give us a nice glimpse of the overall Convergence storyline.
Convergence: Titans #1
Story by Fabian Nicieza; Art by Ron Wagner (pencils) and Jose Marzan Jr. (inks).
Corrina: Did we need the return of one-armed Arsenal??
Mordechai: I really hated the One-Armed Arsenal aspect specifically because this was promoted as “Look, Arsenal and his daughter, just like you wanted!”
Not like this, damnit.
Corrina: Okay, we’ll bring back the dead little girl to just use her as a pawn. Is that what you wanted?
I suppose this might get fixed next issue. But I remain skeptical.
+1, however, for Kory and Donna being best buddies again.
Mordechai: Nicieza is a writer who has banked a lot of credit with me and I’m usually willing to give him slack, but this being a giant callback to Cry For Justice means it’s so tainted I can’t deal.
Do not buy.
Convergence: Batgirl #1
Story by Alisa Kwitney; Art by Rick Leonardi (pencils) and Mark Pennington (inks).
Mordechai: We just got Stephanie Brown “back”, but now we really get her back. As a self-doubting, out of practice hero who now has to represent her world. Good hook, but feels weak.
Corrina: I enjoyed Stephanie a great deal in Batman: Eternal. She’s fine here but trapped in a lesser plot. And I’d hoped for more of Cassandra Cain!
Mordechai: And I’d hoped for less of Red Robin. Who apparently loses his mind a bit in battle.
We really should give writer Alisa Kwitney (with whom I am totally unfamiliar) credit for bucking the overwhelming story pattern of these minis. Instead of showing us what happens before the dome drops, then everyone staring at the dome dropping, then a fight or fight setup, she gives us the fight first, then a “how did I get in this mess” flashback. It’s almost a palate cleanser. Sadly, just like in gastronomy, this cleanser has a mild flavor.
Buy if you’re a Cass or Steph fan.
Convergence: Batman & Robin #1
Story by Ron Marz; Art by Denys Cowan (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks).
Corrina: Bruce and Damian Wayne fight the bad guys in their domed Gotham. But Damian becomes jealous when Jason Todd/The Red Hood reappears.
Mordechai: Lame. Lame and pointless. We get a rehash of the same Mister Freeze moment as in the Oracle and Nightwing issue, but with more blood. Oh, and a rehash of “Damian fights past Robins to prove he is worthy.”
Also, if everyone loses their powers under the dome, how is Kirk Langstrom still Man-Bat. Instead of being mindless, he should have reverted (much as Poison Ivy has). Killer Croc is arguable, because that’s just who he is, but Man-Bat is powered.
Buy it? Just an okay issue for me, not a must buy.
Convergence: Harley Quinn #1
Story by Steve Pugh; Art by Phil Winsdale (pencils) and John Dell (inks).
Mordechai: This book is proof that the New 52 got at least one thing right: Harley. This version is annoying. Well-written annoying, but annoying.
Corrina: Aww… this version of Harley kinda broke my heart. Good writing all-around, especially with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, and Harley’s new “puppy.” I felt so bad for her near the end.
Mordechai: I did cop to well-written! And I will say that the last page is kinda great.
Buy it? Yes!
Convergence: Justice League #1
Story by Frank Tieri; Art by Vicente Cifuentes.
Corrina: Ostensibly, the female JLA members are throwing a baby shower for Jesse Quick (that is Jesse Quick, yes?) and get caught in Gotham under the dome.
Ugh, that art. All the women look alike. And the clothes… my eyes!! Karen Starr isn’t Daisy Duke. Yeesh. I could write a whole column on the horrible fashion in that issue and I’m so far from a fashion maven it’s not funny.
Mordechai: People have joked “the ’90s called and want their comics back” regarding the New 52. For this series, one can say “the ’80s called and want their fashion back.” Also, that was Powergirl? I thought that was Supergirl?
Corrina: Who could tell with the faces all the same? Kara always makes me think Power-Girl lately. But, whatever Kara it was, Daisy Dukes not good.
Mordechai: This story is a pretty solid example of why I don’t generally care for Frank Tieri’s work. I get that this is supposed to set up an all-female league in an organic way, but they got together for a baby shower a year ago and, what, have just been hanging out? For a year?
Corrina: The dome closed in on them as baby came along. Yes, trapping everyone in every story in a version of Gotham takes some serious suspension of disbelief.
Mordechai: Kara’s cousin is there, as well has Cassandra and Stephanie–why would she be hanging out with (essentially) co-workers when she has close friends and family there?
Also, just like with the Batman and Robin issue, if everyone lost their powers, how is Congo Bill still in the Congorilla body to be a baby-sitter. And wow, what a waste then. Not that babies aren’t important, but c’mon, he’s the one guy with powers. Even if he’s “just” a gorilla with a human intellect, that’s huge.
And Flashpoint Aquaman? Kinda rapey.
Modechai: And let’s not even talk about the last page threat. The Extremists are great antagonists… but fricking Carny?
Buy it? Can’t recommend it.
Pretty mixed bag for the first week. Let’s see how next week does.