Front Lines - Convergence Week 2 - (Part 2 of 2)

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By Mike Maillaro and Mike Weaver

 

Convergence: Justice League International #1 by Ron Marz & Mike Manley

Summary:The Justice League International (Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, Martain Manhunter, Captain Atom, Fire, and Ice) were trapped in the dome.  Most of them have lost their powers, but they continue to protect an unappreciative Metropolis from threats like Metallo.  The dome comes down, and several heavy hitters from Kingdom Come arrive to challenge them.  

Short Review: When you are reading a massive crossover like Convergence, I constantly have to ask “did this comic have a reason to exist?”  There honestly wasn’t anything wrong with this comic, but there are 40 Convergence tie-in series coming out over the next two months, and I just felt this one was flat.  When you see JLI, you expect it to be funny.  This book dealt some with the trauma of the heroes losing their powers and trying to serve while the general populous wished they were better heroes.  But, in the end, that just means you get a comic of characters brooding and basically nothing happens.  I was real disappointed in this issue.  

Score: 3/5


Convergence: Suicide Squad #1 by Frank Tieri and Tom Mandrake

Summary: This issue starts with the death of Amanda Waller, theoretically at the hands of a member of the Suicide Squad who worked with Kingdom Come Green Lantern in order to do her in.  Then it backs up to tell us how we got here.  

Deadshot and Captain Boomerang have continued to work as hired killers under the dome, as they rely on tech and skill and not powers.  When the dome comes down, the power paradigm changes, and suddenly they aren’t the top dogs anymore.  Meanwhile, Amanda Waller and Oracle are given a new Suicide Squad to work with, containing new recruits Bane, Black Manta, Star Sapphire, Cyborg Superman, and Deathstroke, plus returning members Poison Ivy, Deadshot, Count Vertigo, Captain Boomerang, and Bronze Tiger. Their mission is to take out Kingdom Come Green Lantern’s floating fortress of New Oa.  Oracle then attempts to recruit Kingdom Come Lex Luthor, and seems successful.

Short Review: At times, I was reminded of the origin of the original Suicide Squad.  The opening hit a lot of the same notes.  Some time is devoted discussing the scarcity economy in Metropolis since the dome came up, which was a nice touch.  There seemed to be a large “isn’t that convenient” factor to who Waller was given for her team, especially Bane and Black Manta who decidedly don’t frequent Metropolis.  We didn’t get to see much action in this one, basically it was limited to three gunshots, but there was an engaging story.  I’m definitely interested in seeing where it goes.

Score: 4 out of 5


Convergence: Superboy #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Karl Moline

Life under the dome hasn’t been so good for Kon El.  He’s trying desperately to find a way to get his powers back.  It’s revealed that the problem isn’t that he isn’t absorbing the sun’s energy, but rather that he can’t use the energy that he has absorbed.  This puts him into a fit of depression, made even worse when he stops by a Superman statue and has to endure people talking up how awesome Superman was.  Thankfully, at that moment, the dome comes down, and Superboy takes flight, happy to be back in business.  Red Robin and Kingdom Come Flash try to lure Superboy into a trap in order to take him out quickly, but Superboy manages to defeat them both.  In the end, Kingdom Come Superman descends to ask Kon if he’s Superman, or “just a child pretending to the mantle.”

Short Review: There was something about this issue that I didn’t quite like, and it’s hard to put my finger on it.  It started out with a really engaging story of how the dome affected Kon, and how all of that weighed heavily on him, then as soon as it was gone, we just went straight into action.  I feel like Red Robin and Flash got on the scene pretty fast, but hey, it’s Flash, so that isn’t a huge issue except from a pacing standpoint.  While it was a good showing for Red Robin, Flash got taken out like a rookie.  Superman appearing at the end was a high point, and I do want to see the next issue to see how that goes.

Score: 3 out of 5


Convergence: Supergirl Matrix #1 by Keith Giffen and Timothy Green II

I wasn’t prepared for this issue to be as silly as it was, but perhaps that was a bad assumption, since it promised Ambush Bug and was written by Keith Giffen.  Matrix Supergirl is working for Lex Luthor, who constantly berates her for being just a blob of protoplasm.  When the dome comes down, Lex gives Supergirl a device to help figure out a way to teleport off-planet, but a funny thing happens on the way to discovering whatever it is that she’s looking for.  She encounters Lady Quark and Lord Volt from Electropolis, who are spoiling for a fight.  It’s conceded to us early on that these are pretty obscure characters, but it was easy to pick up enough of who they were to make the issue work.  Quark and Volt fight each other more than they fight Supergirl, because their forced marriage is a giant sore spot.  Supergirl exploits this a few times in order to get through with minimal effort. Supergirl tosses away Luthor’s device out of frustration with him not really appreciating her.  Sadly, she realizes too late that it was her ticket off-planet too.  Oh, and Ambush Bug just kind of shows up at the end.

Short Review: This was mainly a comedy oriented issue that doesn’t address many of the overarching plots of Convergence, and I’m glad for that because jokes about the problems people are having may have been in bad taste.  It was kind of odd to see a domed Metropolis look as idyllic as it ever did undomed, though.  The art was a real strength usually, with Supergirl especially having a really good look and a very expressive face, but I feel like some of the Lady Quark and Lord Volt depictions were rushed and less detailed.  I’m not sure what to think of this issue, but I liked it departing from the doom and gloom and giving us something fun.

Score: 4 out of 5


Convergence: Superman: The Man of Steel #1 by Louise Simonson and June Bridman

Summary: Steel ended up better off than most heroes since his powers are all from his armor.  He has continued to work to protect Metropolis, working with Professor Hamilton, Natalya and Jem to figure out what the dome is made of and how to get rid of it.  They are attacked by Renegade former Lexcorp employees.   Jem and Natalya have secretly built their own armors.  They go out to stop a robbery, and when the dome comes down, they are attacked by Parasite.  Steel is forced to fight all of Gen 13.  Natalya tries to help him, but Parasite also joins the fight taking Fairchild and Grudge’s powers.  Steel is badly hurt in the fight.  Hamilton says that even if he survives, he will be paralyzed.

Short Review: I can’t believe how much happened in this issue.  It was a lot less formulaic than most of the Convergence books, with a local villain getting involved in the cross-city battles.  Huge credit to Louise Simonson for her triumphant return to Metropolis.  She many have actually had too many plot points here, and I have no idea if they can be resolved in just one more issue, but I really loved this comic.

Score: 5/5


Closing Thoughts for Week 2

Weaver: The main thought I have is that I agree with you that the main series isn’t as interesting as the tie-ins.  I drew a lot of the Kingdom Come ones, so I didn’t see much of how this Metropolis interacted with the other realities, but Kingdom Come was done pretty well, with the exception of Flash getting taken out easy.  Normally, when we review event comics or first issues, the question is always “Do I want more of this?”  And with every comic I reviewed, my answer was a definitive yes.  But with Convergence itself...no thank you.

Maillaro: I totally agree with you.  I am really enjoying the Tie-Ins, not so much the main series.  Jeff King just doesn't feel like the right fit for this story. 

Oddly enough, most of the ones I read were Wildstorm...which I have no idea how they quite fit here.  I also thought Deathblow was terribly out of character based on the books I've read with him over the years.  He doesn't seem like he would have to slaughter tons of innocent people to get some data on how to defeat Aquaman.  I guess you can argue that desperate times call for desperate actions, but this sure didn't feel like the act of a hero.