Welcome to the latest installment of Convergence. Our long national nightmare is almost over, folks, as another set of books wraps up. This week, as you recall, features books from around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths. There’s a lot of notes of Crisis in here, and it doesn’t help to remind readers of a much stronger crossover.
But on with the books!
Convergence: Hawkman #2
Story by Jeff Parker; Art by Tim Truman
Corrina: After reading this two-part story, I desire a Jeff Parker/Tim Truman Hawk series, perhaps even set on Thanagar. Having discovered that enemy Thanagarians are trying to save the city (well, themselves), the Hawks take flight to fight an army of bats who are being controlled by an army of… rats? Clearly, I’ve missed something to do with this alternate DC reality.
Mordechai: Not just any rats, but rats led by Ratsputin! This is the earth of Kamindi: The Last Boy on Earth. It’s a classic DC series and very fun. Unlike a few other comics in the series, the battle here really worked for me.
Corrina: I loved Hawkman’s rousing speech, the old-school escape from the death trap, and the bond between the Hawks. This is one of the few Convergence teams that should head up a series. Please, DC?
Mordechai: I will read any comic Jeff Parker puts out. In fact, I urge you all to buy his epic Flash Gordon series. It had hawkmen in it too.
Buy it? Abso-hawkly!
Convergence: The Adventures of Superman #2
Story by Marv Wolfman; Art by Roberto Viacava
Corrina: If those waiting for the new Supergirl series want to know what she’s like, this issue is a terrific encapsulation of who Kara Zor-el is. Yes, it says “Superman” in the title but it’s her story. The cousins battle prisoners in the Phantom Zone, while Kara comes to grips with a glimpse of her fatal destiny in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Mordechai: While I admit to enjoying the New 52 version of Kara, this was a great take on her. The concern she shows for Superman, even after learning her own fate, shows what makes her a hero: caring about the entire universe more than herself. It comes through with every word balloon. This series is not only a great example of a Supergirl story, but of Marv Wolfman’s writing. If DC does a digital Supergirl series to go with the show (as they have with Flash and Arrow), then they could do a lot worse than call Wolfman.
Buy it? Two copies. One for you, one for someone interested in the TV show.
Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes #2
Story by Stuart Moore; Art by Peter Gross and Mark Farmer
Corrina: One of my first comics was an issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes in which a soldier from an atomic war was resurrected and, believing the war was still in effect, went on a rampage with new powers granted by lightning. The Legion stopped him by pretending to be his fellow soldiers and telling him the war was over and he could rest now. The soldier died, finally at piece.
The inclusion of the Atomic Knights in this issue felt a great deal like that classic Legion story: a team of post-apocalyptic warriors trying to protect their small circle because it was all they had. I’ve never read a story with the Atomic Knights, but this issue gave them enough personality for me to care about them.
Mordechai: Indeed, I’m a big classic Legion fan, and this had that feel to it. Moore and Gross are another team I’d love to see continue on with their Convergence books. They nail several characters, particularly Brainiac 5. My one quibble is their choice of love interest for Superboy, a character who will later be revealed to be a lesbian. Just feels mildly like erasure. Of course, at the time of Crisis she was dating guys, so I should probably unclench.
Buy it? Yes.
Convergence: The Flash #2
Story by Dan Abnett; Art by Federico Dallocchio
Corrina: Here’s a change up–instead of spending the issue battling, Barry Allen and the uber-Superbeing spend most of the issue talking instead. Super-being eventually deduces that the Flash is more important to the multiverse than him, in another reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Mordechai: You’d think a bunch of pages of two guys standing and talking on a rooftop would be dull, but Dallocchio infuses the pages with sufficient energy to make it work.
Then, when we get to the actual fight, it’s just great. I never read any books with the Tangent Superman, but Abnett makes me want to. A great book, showing what a hero actually is.
Buy it? Yes.
Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #2
Story by David Gallaher; Art by Steve Ellis
Corrina: Once again, the focus is on Guy Gardner and that’s all good with me, as he’s my favorite Lantern–perhaps because he doesn’t fit the heroic mold. (I love television John Stewart but comic John Stewart has made less of an impression.) Without powers, Guy sets off to find the source of the whatever is keeping all the cities captive on a strange world. Along the way, Guy has an arm wrestling match with Hercules, wins, and dons the invincible armor. That seemed random, but a lot of the characters showing up in this series seem randomly chosen. A fun read.
Mordechai: It was a much, much stronger issue than the first one, and taken together they make a very good mini for those who enjoy Guy from before he became a pastiche. Agreed on the arm wrestling bit, but I suspect they had to meet some kind of mandate with alternate characters. I admit to him not being one I expected to see.
Buy it? For Guy Gardner fans.
Convergence: Swamp Things #2
Story by Len Wein; Art by Kelly Jones
Corrina: The Swamp Thing is transported to a world ruled by vampires. (Different from the world in Wonder Woman? I have no idea.)
Mordechai: Swamp Thing is from the same Gotham that Wonder Woman takes place in. The Joker-Vampire was sent to Pre-Crisis Gotham while Swamp Thing was sent to Red Rain Gotham. And at no point in either comic do I care.
Corrina: The best part of the issue is that it’s drawn by Kelley Jones, the original artist on the original Batman vampire story, Batman & Dracula: Red Rain. It’s stylized art that sometimes twists anatomy into weird shapes, but that suits a story with a swamp being who can change his “body” at will.
There’s even some poignance at the end, as Vampire Batman confronts his fate.
Mordechai: Noble Batman is seriously the only good part of this otherwise “meh” comic. I don’t know why I don’t care, but I just don’t.
Buy it? If you love Kelly Jones, go for it.
Convergence: Justice League of America #2
Story by Fabian Nicieza; Art by CrissCrpss
Mordechai: Um, so, yeah… that was a certainly a comic book that was published this week.
Corrina: Hey, you Cisco fans from The Flash, Vibe is in this issue, along with the rest of Justice League: Detroit. But the stars of the issue are Sue and Ralph Dibny. Ralph by keeping his team together while Sue comes up with the idea that frees the team’s heavier hitters. Bonus points for including Jim Gordon and Renee Montoya. Hm… the detective team of Gordon and Dibny has possibilities…
Mordechai: While I enjoyed Sue being pivotal to the plot, I’m not quite sure how she had that scientific knowledge. Also, the story itself just felt boring. It was so dull that I couldn’t even find an image worth grabbing.
Buy it? I guess if you’re one of the dozen people who missed JL:D.
Convergence: Wonder Woman #2
Story by Larry Hama; Art by Aaron Loresti
Corrina: If you recall, I had a great deal of praise for the first issues. This second one is a bit of a letdown, as it’s mostly one fight scene after another and, really, no army of vampires, no matter how strong, should be able to stand up to Wonder Woman. Or it may be because I have Joker fatigue. WW wins this round, but the victory felt hollow.
Mordechai: I think calling it “a bit of a letdown” is putting it lightly. It’s a generic, dull book. Nothing like the first issue. Wonder Woman wins, but her supporting cast is now dead. The idea of pre-Crisis Wonder Woman having such a hard time fighting vampires is hard to swallow. This is the direct inversion of Hama’s other Convergence series Shadow of the Bat, which opened weak and ended stronger. This is just disappointing.
Buy it? No reason to.
The Convergence: The New Teen Titans #2
Story by Marv Wolfman; Art by Nicola Scott
Corrina: The problem with this story is that it wants to simultaneously be about the relationships between the Titans and have a fight scene. This leads to some very odd edits, where Joe goes off to paint when the team is expecting an attack or trying to rescue Cyborg. Top notch art from Nicola Scott who, yes, draws a great Nightwing but also draws a powerful-looking Starfire.
Mordechai: Despite the above great image (for those not in the know, Dick Grayson’s rear end is presently a running gag in Grayson), the choppiness of this story prevents me from suggesting it. Woflman’s Titans run is a classic of super hero comics, but this story does not represent that.
Buy it? No.
Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #2
Story by Marc Andreyco; Art by Carlos D’anda
Corrina: The team battles the suped-up OMAC–One Man Army Corps. It’s nice to see the team, and I’ve forgotten how much potential Halo had–a complex but essentially optimistic personality with light powers rarely used to their full extent. I noticed the art, particularly the bright covers in several scenes, has a style that really pops off the page.
The story itself is fairly basic, however, as the team battles and Batman comes up with a plan to literally short-circuit OMAC.
Mordechai: “Basic” is the word here. This is a totally forgettable story. Andreyco nails the Katana/Halo dynamic of the era, but that’s about it. It’s a disposable story with forgettable moments. Pictures are pretty, though.
Buy it? No.
Story by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell; Art by Aaron Lopresti
Corrina: I want to say something positive. Let’s talk the art. I can only imagine how many difference references the art team must have needed for this cast of multiple versions of the DC heroes. Well done, team. As for the story? I believe the vaguely less evil guy who controls the planet defeated the truly evil guy who came from the Warlord’s world. Then reality breaks apart, as it does.
Mordechai: If we’re trying to find nice things to say, I have to admit that “Of course I dare, I’m Hal Jordan” may have just been the perfect line. I like how they’re remembering just how powerful Parallax was, and having him just step in was perfect. Not perfect? Lobdell’s annoying Oracle, who is the most blatant rip-off of The Watcher since… ever, really.
Corrina: Next week is the conclusion. I can’t wait, meaning “I’m so thrilled this event will finally be done.” Please give the art team a great story next time, DC.
Buy it? Oh heck no.
Mordechai: You just nailed the issues with this crossover. With Secret Wars, we were mostly waiting for it to start. With this, we’re waiting for it to be over. It certainly doesn’t help that DC keeps releasing these preview comics that largely feature far more interesting stories.
Still, I’ll take back every mean thing I have said about Convergence if we get a Jeff Parker DC series out of it.