“Convergence: The Tenth Circle, part 5”
Plot and Pictures: John Byrne
Script: Chris Claremont
Inks: Jerry Ordway
The JLA investigate the mysterious new players in this case, the secretive and spooky Doom Patrol. Wonder Woman gets some help, but Superman is still out of luck and under duress.
Man, what a beautiful cover. All of the major players, unwrapped against a multitude of foes as if someone just opened an early Christmas present of kick-ass! Byrne excels at these full body shots, where everyone looks like their iconic self and his command of anatomy and composition shines.
Inside, each of the threads percolates nicely in an old-school Silver Age way (i.e., good storytelling). Wonder Woman, anxious to aid her friends, is still in grave danger from her injuries. Atom receives an unexpected ally in his miniature world. Crucifer’s lackeys and ex-allies continue to draw the spotlight, but their mysteries are for the most part intriguing. Crucifer himself instigates an arcane ritual to bring his demonic brethren to life. And we learn that the Doom Patrol are all aware that many of them are supposed to be dead. In fact, it’s the new criterion for membership.
This last leads me to think Byrne may make some nod to continuity, as the Doom Patrol the rest of us know was, respectively, killed by the Brotherhood of Evil, became hermaphroditic, went off to live on Danny the World, is only one of a multitude of copies, was beheaded, etc., etc.
Not so interesting:
I don’t mind that the League is being used as a launch pad for Byrne’s new series. I’m happy to read him on a dream project, and his art remains top-notch. However, as he’s shown whenever he gets to reboot a title, he likes to return to the original formation (or his own dim memory of whatever that was, despite years of not always unworthy intervening continuity), which is going to take some doing for this storied team. An instant reset, after Morrison’s now-iconic revelations, isn’t going to cut it.
Also, what’s up with Byrne and gorillas? He spent a substantial portion of his Wonder Woman run getting one ape involved in a dead-end subplot, and now he’s got another one centrally featured in this series. Yes, looks cool, but big protective brutes are beyond cliché, no matter how many arms they have.
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