Corrina: I have to start this with a disclaimer. If you’re a reader grabbing an individual issue because of beloved characters, some of this stuff we’re going to complain about will bother you less. For instance, you won’t be getting the “Voice of Doom in the Sky” two-page spread a zillion times. You’ll just get it once.
But take the whole lineup and its myriad alternative realities, hit spin, then add The Multiversity #2 with all its’ alternate realities and I feel like I’ve just eaten two cases of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs–overstuffed and near to bursting.
And I like alternate reality superhero stories!
You’ll also notice most (but not all!) of our Buy It! recommendations are built on nostalgia for forgotten characters. It had to have been hard for the creators to come up with a brilliant story with this silly “Under the Dome” prompt. I received review copies, so I didn’t have to pay for any of it.
Last Note: all of these end on cliffhangers, so you’re on board for two issues, not one.
Mordechai: Let me add to that that if there was going to be a week for you to snag issues for characters, this well may be it. Why? Read on.
Story by Jeff King; Art by Stephen Segovia
Mordechai: Some junk about time travel, Telos basically flirting with Dick Grayson, nonsense in Skartaris with time travelers… me. I’ve run out of new and creative ways to point out what a waste this book is.
Corrina: This one was more coherent than the last issue. It also ties in with the Booster Gold issue, with a bit about time travelers that may be leading to beating the Big Bad. So, not awful, but, still, part of a not-good event.
As a gag gift for someone you hate, maybe.
Convergence: Detective Comics #1
Story by Len Wein; Art by Denys Cowan
Mordechai: How about that Bill Sienkiewicz cover? I need that as a poster ASAP.
Corrina: I agree, though I was busy being distracted by the awesome Cowan art inside this book. Why isn’t Cowan doing a monthly DC or Marvel comic? Can someone please explain that? In the meantime, everyone should run and buy the classic Denny O’Neil/Denys Cowan Question collections, start with The Question, Volume 1, Zen and Violence. If you like the crime comics of Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, or if you loved the Daredevil Netflix show, you need this collection.
The story by Wein features Earth-2 Dick Grayson and Helena Wayne’s Huntress up against the Soviet Superman once again. Love the personal moments between the pair, but I’m not so fond of Helena’s violent streak. She’s an attorney and grew up in the gentler Earth-2 world, so I’m not sure how she got so bloodthirsty.
Mordechai: And it’s weird, because you’d think Len Wein would have nailed the older tone. Sadly, it appears Helena’s shtick is now retconned to “the Gotham hero willing to go father than Batman.” Ugh. But, hey, loved that Robin (complete with horrible-but-well-meaning-Adams costume from the era) and Red Son Superman acted like heroes. There’s something to be said for that.
For the art, yes, and for any Earth-2 Huntress/Robin fan. But, first, go buy that Question collection.
Convergence: Shazam #1
Story by Jeff Parker; Art by Doc Shanner.
Mordechai: Parker and Shanner’s Flash Gordon series was my absolute favorite book last year, and they’re the perfect team for a Captain Marvel book. And that will always be his name. Not Shazam. Ugh.
Corrina: I’m digging the classic-feel of this artwork and I absolutely loved Tawky Tawny being bad-ass, the Marvel kids being heroes without their powers, and the confrontation with classic villains. Hey, why isn’t this team doing more than a mini-series?
Mordechai: I know, right? Seriously DC, you’re starting to do some cooler, more diverse stuff now. Give us a Parker/Shanner Captain Marvel or JSA or something.
YES. Emphatically yes. Buy two and give one to someone you love.
Convergence: Action Comics #1
Story by Justin Gray; Art by Jean-Claude St. Aubin
Corrina: “She always said Superman and Lois Lane is the greatest love story in history. She especially looked up to you, Miss Lane. A hard-working independent woman taking on the tough stories and always putting herself in harm’s way to bring people the truth.”
Ah, the comic starts well enough, with depowered Clark and Lois under the dome, still inspiring people. I even like the bits of Red Son Superman trying to save his city, though the above quote is undercut by showing a Lois Lane firmly married to that universe’s Lex Luthor. Most of all, I didn’t like Kara (Power Girl Kara this time) fussing over her looks because she’s not super anymore. It’s a decent story, however, though it seems like Lois is pregnant in this Earth-2 reality as well.
Mordechai: I’m going to respectfully disagree on the Kara thing. I thought it did a good job of showing how she was handling being human. Every other book has been “telling,” while this one has shown. Extra points for that. Top notch writing here, and the contrasting with Red Son prior to the fight helped build actual drama and tension. The actual fight will be next issue, and I’m looking forward to it.
Corrina: Yes, I liked it well enough and the creative team gets bonus points for the Voice of Doom taking up only a page and a half.
Mordechai: Absolutely yes.
Convergence: World’s Finest Comicss #1
Story by Paul Levitz; Art by Jim Fern
Corrina: Aw, the Seven Soldiers of Victory with a particular focus on Shining Knight. If you loved that episode of Justice League United with Shining Knight and several B-list heroes facing off against a mutated General Eiling, you’ll enjoy this. Sir Justin is sort of a medieval Captain America except the wings belong to his horse. It’s Justin’s very earnestness that’s endearing. But I wasn’t familiar with the narrator of the story. Mordechai, is he a new character?
Mordechai: Not even a little new. Scribbly Jibbet was a humor character and dates all the way back to 1936. It’s from his stories that we get the original Ma Hunkel Red Tornado. Levitz using him was brilliant, and it’s fun reading all the little cartoons they added in the background.
Know what’s not fun? Seeing Green Arrow and Speedy fall to their death. Dang. This really may have been the most depressing Convergence book. Except in this case, that’s the mood the writer is actually going for. Seriously, powerful stuff
Quibbles: Stripsey is dead here but in another book. Also, apparently the magic that keeps Sir Justin young comes back with the dome, but the JSA’s magic doesn’t. Editorial?
Yes, as long as you don’t mind the dark undertone.
Convergence: Blue Beetle #1
Story by Scott Lobdell; Art by Yishan Li
Maybe. Ted Kord fans will be happy to see him back and the art is worthy.
Convergence: Booster Gold #1
Story by Dan Jurgens; Art by Alvara Martinez
Corrina: Booster Gold is a time traveler and he always seems to deal in alternate realities. This issue does that, times two, with an older and younger Booster Gold trying to save the multiverse with the help of his “son” Rip Hunter and sister Michelle Carter. This ties in directly with Convergence #4, with the time travelers locked up and needing to be freed.
Boostle shippers particularly will love the last page.
Mordechai: This is a case of a character’s creator working on the book. Booster Gold as a character is one DC keeps trying to bring back and make important, and it looks like this is yet another attempt. The New 52 Booster’s origin version (crook, instead of future Pete Rose) is an interesting twist.
All in all, it’s a fun book. Something we don’t see enough of.
Convergence: Crime Syndicate #1
Story by Brian Buccellato; Art by Phil Windslade
Corrina: What a weird disconnect with this story featuring evil doppelgangers of the Justice League, especially after seeing them be over-the-top planet destroyers in a recent DC crossover. In this story, I feel bad for them. There’s even a hint of friendship between them as the story centers around saving evil Lois from execution.
Mordechai: And don’t forget the way Buccellato contrasts the Crime Syndicate with the future League from Justice League One Million. Like in Action Comics, this sets up both sides of the upcoming fight as equal parts of the story, instead of just gimmicks.
Yes because as a story, it hold nicely.
Convergence: Infinity Incorporated #1
Story by Jerry Ordway; Artist Ben Caldwell
Mordechai: Short of hiring Roy Thomas, Ordway really was the most appropriate creator on this. Kudos to DC for that.
Corrina: He was. I’d forgotten just how dysfunctional Infinity Inc. was, at heart, before I picked up this issue. For those not familiar, this is the original second generation of the Earth-2 heroes, taking place about the same time as their original series, which was cut short by the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. All the some members of the team have in common are being the children of superheroes–unlike the Teen Titans, where the members were not just sidekicks but also mostly fully functioning heroes. So there’s angst in Infinity Inc. For those wondering, yes, Obsidian is clearly gay in this book and fully accepted for that.
Mordechai: I recently re-read Infinity Inc, but even I had a hard time remembering how raw they were around this time. I really enjoyed the dynamic. Most of the stuff was kept pretty much in line (Jade and Obsidian’s dynamic, Sylvester’s need to prove himself, Brainwave Jr’s being odd man out), but at the same time Ordway managed to add a layer to the weakest aspect of classic Infinity–Fury. Lyta Trevor never felt like the daughter of an Amazon or team powerhouse. She mostly seemed to exist to be Hector’s girlfriend. Not so in this issue.
Corrina: My main complaint is for the artwork, which is of a style not suited to this comic, It needs to be used more in a horror story or a grittier, street-level superhero story. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a mesh between the stories here and in Convergence: JSA, which threw me.
Mordechai: Honestly, I liked it. The street clothing bits popped, and while the super hero costume scenes looked a tad off, it worked well with the Hex cast. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t notice the two continuity glitches. Firstly, Stripsey is alive and well here but dead in Convergence: World’s Finest. Additionally, Northwind’s abilities work here, even though other books have characters with natural powers that don’t.
Corrina: This is probably the last time Infinity Inc. ever appears, so… maybe?
Mordechai: I’m going to say yes.
Convergence: Justice Society of America #1
Story by Dan Abnett; Art by Tom Derenick
Corrina: This should be called “Supermen of a Certain Age” because it’s about four men at the end of their lives trying to be useful. (I had to wonder, did any female JSA members make it into the book?) It’s well-written, especially the conversations between Jay (Flash) and Carter (Hawkman) and Jay at the bedside of the comatose Kent Nelson, but it wastes a two-page spread on the Voice of Doom when maybe we could have seen more than that.
Mordechai: If Huntress counts as a member, then technically there’s a female member but agreed–what a sausage fest. That said, it’s definitely well-written. I like the hook that the JSA’s artificial youth would count as a power–although then why doesn’t it come back on it’s own too?
Corrina: Kudos to Tom Derenick and Trevor Scott on art because so many characters, especially classic ones, aren’t easy to draw and this looked like a classic JSA-style comic.
Again, if you like the characters, yes.
Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters #1
Story by Simon Oliver; Art by John McCrea
Corrina: Hey, if you have Freedom Fighters, you need bad guys, yes? And Nazis definitely fit the bill in this story told in flashbacks as the Nazi supervillain takes over life under the dome, despite the best efforts of Plastic Man, Phantom Lady, Doll Man, Human Bomb, the Ray, Black Condor and, of course, Uncle Sam. In this case, the Voice of Doom is in the background and the dropping of the dome is our heroes’ salvation–at least temporarily.
Note: I appreciated that artist McCrea didn’t pose Phantom Lady as sexually alluring while in handcuffs. She’s even wearing a dress. It’s not often a superhero comic passes up that chance.
Mordechai: I was expecting this to be the weakest book of the bunch. I mean, how do you do Earth X in this scenario and not basically root for it to be destroyed? Yet the art and story are both compelling.
In summation, we have what is clearly the strongest week of Convergence. I personally think that this is because the majority of these books tell a story about the cast, using the event as a framework, instead of making them fit the event. If all the books were like this, I’d be recommending them.
Next week will bring us the second issues of the original Convergence wave. Will they improve?