Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
I gotta admit that I’ve had trouble getting into the main Convergence comic. I’ve read all the crossovers and still love the idea of them, even if I didn’t enjoy reading all of them. But this main book has felt strange to me. It’s an odd crossover core comic because rather than go big, with lots of splashy action, gaudy costumed heroes and universe-spanning action, this comic has gone oddly small. It has only a few costumes, takes place in obscure corners of the DC Universe, and features a seemingly never-ending parade of obscure DC characters thrown together for no especially good purpose. In other words, it’s just felt off-center and odd.
And though Convergence #4 basically is more of the same, I found myself getting into this comic the more I read of it. I started to like it for its omniscient central villain, because all universe-spanning crossovers have to have an omniscient central villain. I liked it for the crazy number of two-page spreads in this issue, as writer Jeff King, artist Stephen Segovia and seven inkers are looking to create a widescreen epic that will knock readers back on their asses. More than anything, I enjoyed this comic for its zany handwaving that justifies almost any scene that the creators want to show.
More than anything, the most important aspect of a giant crossover comic is that it feature an epic level of plot handwaving as a way of telling the story. In these sorts of tales, where we have no grounding in anything that happens and in which literally any occurrence can be explained away as just part of the omniscient antagonist’s plot, it’s all about the handwaving. There’s lots of that here, and in its joyful wackiness it made me smile. This may seem like faint and sarcastic praise, but I’ll opt for joyful wackiness every chance I get.
– Jason Sacks
Convergence Action Comics #1
I remember now why it is I really disliked DC when I was a kid. It’s for the same reason I’m disliking the Convergence crossover. There are far too many variations of the same damn characters for almost anyone to keep track of. This goes for Action Comics #1 as well.
Whether it be grey-tempeled Kal-El or the Russian Superman, these characters (including Power Girl and Lois Lane) all seem washed out and without meaning. While there are some interesting scenes for Power Girl where she mentions that the loss of her Kryptonian genetics is truly an inconvenience to her beauty, there’s just not enough in this book to make me want to read another issue ever. The art is acceptable, the colouring as well, but really this book gives no sign of playing even a minor roll in the upcoming crossover. I happily will decline the chance to read issue #2.
– Kristopher Reavely
Convergence Blue Beetle #1
The thing you notice most when reading all these Convergence books is how damn inconsistent they are. It’s not just the fact that characters in the same cities have dramatically different experiences from each other, or that the worlds never seem completely consistent with each other. No, you also notice stuff like how the rules in Blue Beetle are different from other books. Somehow Ted Kord is able to make a fracture in the dome around Hub City, which is nice and cool but isn’t reflected in any of the other comics in this crossover. Also, contradicting events in this week’s Booster Gold, a future Booster appears in this comic and then… disappears without explanation — not here, not in Booster’s comic, not anywhere. It just kind of… is.
My pal Scott Lobdell’s Convergence two-parter is decent enough. It fits the same category that a lot of these comics have fit: a lot of scenes with characters we don’t care much about arguing with each other. Yay. At least that fits this deeply Steve Ditko-oriented universe, where it makes sense for characters to talk politics and fascism and never really get along. It’s a bummer that this isn’t the funny Blue Beetle, and that his scene with the otherworldly Booster Gold stays very far away from silliness, but the art by Yishan Li is attractive, and it’s a kick seeing Captain Atom in his goofy 1960s costume.
– Jason Sacks
Convergence Booster Gold #1
When I first looked at the cover of Booster Gold#1 I actually thought I might be in for a surprise from Convergence. Dan Jurgens’s cover is excellent and reminds me of why I’ve always liked his style.
Opening the book I found that only the cover was pencilled by Jurgens, which was not a good start to my fan boy dreams. Luckily Alvaro Martinez is an excellent craftsman and he never let me down with his art. The story could be a limited series all it’s own and doesn’t really need to be a part of the crossover, which is nice since so far Convergence hasn’t blown anyone away. I don’t think Booster Gold is required for Convergence readers but it is required for Booster Gold fans, especially for the final page of the book, it actually makes the read worth it.
– Kristopher Reavely
Convergence Crime Syndicate #1
They call themselves the Crime Syndicate but there’s honor among thieves, and this group of super-powered evil Justice League doppelgangers actually aren’t very evil and actually seem to care quite a bit about their friends. There’s a bit of a moral center in this comic, with deep and lasting friendships as a theme that gives some heft and power to a comic that otherwise would have been a fairly ordinary chapter of Convergence. Writer Brian Buccellato does a wonderful job of showing the family that has grown up for the Crime Syndicate, and their headfast attack, machine guns blazing, on a prison felt like the final scene The Wild Bunch — though sanitized for you safety.
Too bad I had no idea what was going on in the adventures of the 853rd century Justice League Alpha, which takes up half this book. There’s some glossy doppelgangers of the JLA in the far future too (and Kristopher is right… jeez, DC loves those damn doppelgangers, don’t they?) who are going to oppose the criminals and that Superman and Batman don’t like each other and zzz who cares.
I guess I’ll be rooting for the heroic criminals to beat the unheroic heroes in this two-parter.
– Jason Sacks
Convergence Detective Comics #1
Part of the appeal of this book was the art team of Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz, whose work I last saw together on the wonderful Dr. Zero from the Shadowline imprint of Epic Comics. They do not disappoint. They should always work together.
The other part of the appeal was the Huntress and Robin from Earth-2, complete with Robin’s ridiculous homage to Batman costume. Robin had a lot of ridiculous costumes as he got older and never became Nightwing (not on Earth-2). And while Dick Grayson was Bruce Wayne’s ward, the Huntress is Helena Wayne, the daughter of Bruce and Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. See? This is the kind of stuff I loved about pre-Crisis Earth 2.
This issue gives almost equal coverage to the “bad guy,” as it were, in Red Son Superman. It’s actually nice to see, as every other Convergence book has focused exclusively on the titular characters. And when Huntress and Robin square off against Superman, Dick decides they should talk things out instead of fighting, which is probably the smartest thing anyone had done throughout Convergence.
And here’s where the confusion kicks in. The Huntress refuses to talk it out and decides, instead, to first attack Superman and then blow up the Batmobile — with her in it! — to try to kill him. Why? I literally have no idea. I cannot for the life of me understand why she suddenly goes completely insane. It’s as if Len Wein suddenly realized he’d written himself into a corner with no tension and just had Helena Wayne go bonkers to help him out. It’s baffling and ruins what was otherwise a fun issue.
– Kyle Garret
Convergence Infinity Inc #1
The pre-Crisis DCU has strangely become a symbol for me. If you can get past the fact that most of the characters are indistinguishable from the others, you’ll see something unique to the DCU: generations. It is one of my favorite things about the DCU, something which took post-Crisis DC years to rebuild only to be wipe away again with the New 52. It is one of the few things that sets DC apart from Marvel, yet those in charge of DC don’t seem to understand this.
Convergence Infinity Inc. #1 is almost a great comic. The art from Ben Caldwell is wonderful and fits the tone of the book perfectly, at least while our heroes are still civilians, trying to make a life for themselves. Once we switch to the battle with the future version of Jonah Hex, it’s a horrible fit, to the point where the last few pages are unclear and crowded, which is just as much a problem with the script as the art.
Still, the first 2/3 of this comic are excellent and make me miss these children of the Justice Society. I miss the crazy dynamics that come from having a dad who is Green Lantern or Hawkman. I miss the push and pull between generations. I miss the wonderfully DC-ness of it. It’s too bad that it’s gone.
– Kyle Garret
Convergence Justice Society Of America #1
And conveniently enough, the alphabet has determined that the next book on this list is the Justice Society one, a title featuring some of the parents of some of the Infinity Inc. kids. This issue also serves to underscore one of the problems with the pre-Crisis DCU, though: it’s about four old white dudes. It could be Cocoon III.
This is a very talk-y comic because it follows the formula we’ve come to know very well: former heroes adapting to being civilians, big voice in the sky removing the dome, super powers return, set up for big fight. But while the glimpse we got of their kids’ lives were interesting, it looks like our four old guys have done more or less nothing for the last year (particularly Dr. Fate, who’s in coma). Alan Scott still has a radio station, Hawkman has a rooftop garden to grow food, and Jay Garrick goes around visiting them. It’s as interesting as it sounds.
That said, the ending contains a nice wrinkle. Dr. Fate restores all four of them to their former glory, but the price of his spell is that they will all burn out. In other words, this is legitimately the last hurrah for these characters, as becoming young again will lead to their deaths. Not that I expected to see them again after Convergence, but this is probably the most final storyline we’ve gotten.
– Kyle Garret
Convergence Plastic Man And The Freedom Fighters #1
I love alternative histories, so Earth-X (or Earth-Swastika, as creator Len Wein first wanted it to be called) is one of my favorite alternative Earths in the DCU. Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters takes place on Earth-X, or at least a city on Earth-X, and I dug the hell out of the setting. The Nazi version of the Statue of Liberty is wildly over-the-top, the Nazi evil under the Dome is gloriously underplayed and banal (kids learning German in school! OMG!) and our heroes are slowly oppressed under the iron boots of the Nazis.
It’s not quite as glorious and weird as I would have liked, but Plas and FF has some gorgeous moments from artist John McCrea that feel iconic and powerful, a wonderful splash of heroic poses and delightful set-pieces that almost make this glorious. It’s a shame that McCrea is never given the chance to go really over the top in this story, as he enjoys doing; if he had been allowed to really go wild and give us thrilling scenes of Uncle Sam fighting Nazis, this could have been one of the most fun of the Convergence crossovers. Heck, it’s one of the most fun anyway, because who’s more fun to root against than Nazis?
– Jason Sacks
Convergence Shazam #1
Being very selective about my purchases have allowed me to enjoy a good amount of the Convergence tie-ins. Sure, eyes are bound to glaze over once Telos’ big speech interrupts the narrative, but these nostalgia trips have been largely fun. Speaking of fun, Convergence: Shazam! #1 by Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner is easily the best thing to come out of this event.
Whether you’ve been keeping up with Convergence or opted to save some money during April and May, this is worth picking up. Why? Because Parker finds a way work within the framework of the event and ignore it completely. Sure, there are some elements here and there that reminds us that Convergence is happening, but strip away a few lines of dialogue and you end up with a solid Captain Marvel adventure. That’s right – Captain Marvel. Not only does the Big Red Cheese show up in all his glory, but so does Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Talky Tawney. Like The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1, this is a fun, bombastic throwback to the classic Fawcett creation. Also, it’s worth every penny spent.
– Daniel Gehen
Convergence World’s Finest Comics #1
Part of the reason that DC has always been like crack to me is that whenever I was introduced to some new concept, I knew that it existed, in some form, years and years ago. And because I’m OCD, I had to go back and find those appearances, if even they were drastically different than the current version.
My research into the original Seven Soldiers came about because of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series and I found the old stories to be enjoyable enough. They were an odd team, these Seven Soldiers.
So it was somewhat disappointing to discover that nearly all of the Seven Soldiers were eliminated half way through this issue. In fact, by the end we’re left with our POV character (a newspaper reporter/cartoonist) and the Shining Knight, who is probably the least interesting of the bunch to me.
Here’s hoping that some how, in some way, we see more of the team next issue, even if we surely won’t see Green Arrow and Speedy.
– Kyle Garret