w. King & Lobdell
a. Carlos Pagulayan
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because Scott Lobdell takes over the reigns of Convergence from Dan Jurgens, keeping that old school DC knowledge intact, but joining Jeff King , the new blood,makes for a good comic. Then you throw in long-term Marvel-man Carlos Pagulayan as an artist and its now a near perfect comic! Pag’s artwork fits seamlessly into the over all Ivan Reis-Jim Lee-Jason Fabok look for the mainstay DC universe, each character (and there is a lot of ’em) looks just like there supposed too, and his kinetic frame breaks and layouts enhance the epicness of this book.
It opens with a bang, with Telos deciding the fate of the Injustice universe rather swiftly, we quickly learn the fate of those few heroes from Earth 2 who remained behind to battle Darkseid while what was left of humanity escaped in Starships from an Earth being annihilated by Apokolips (not just the Armies of, the whole damn Planet!)
Batman (Thomas Wayne), Powergirl, Superman (Val-Zod),Flash (Jay Garrick) , Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and Dick Grayson were transported to Braniac’s sentient planet Telos, along with a resurrected Red Avatar ( Yolanda Montez ). Confused of their whereabouts, and why they were saved, but all is made clear when Telos arrives in his now humanoid form to inspect these City-less survivors of a doomed world. He explains to the Earth-2ers, and all the Domed cities, of his plan to have the survivors of all these doomed universes battle it out, the winner being granted a surviving timeline. Or as he put it:
” Some of you came to me at a time of INFINITE CRISIS, others were brought here in the final moments of there ZERO HOUR. Whether it was a FLASHPOINT for a time that never was or a KINGDOM that will never COME, everyone here was granted life as a result of my dominion…..That changes now! ”
And it does! Issue #1 of Convergence was a great start to the series, easily branching off into all of the #1’s out this week. Each Convergence tie in shows us a glimpse of what life has been like for the survivors under the domes of Braniac’s Cities.
Each issue has a Versus page on the inside front cover, explaining what timeline/era the main characters starring will be from, as well as extra pages at the end, detailing the main characters history, great for new comers who may only be familiar with the New 52 Canon, and even better for old timer’s lke me, to help shake the cobwebs out.
This week starts with the heroes and villains from the DCU pre New 52. Cut off from the rest of their worlds and resources, how has the population of each city adapted to dome-life, especially when all the Superhumans were rendered powerless by the domes? interested???
Well your lucky folks, because here comes a Threat Level Wednesday Bonus: All Convergence #1 titles, quickly recapped and reviewed by yours truly!
w. Dan Jurgens
a. Lee Weeks
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys.
Why? Even though I wanted to resist any pull back to the previous Pre 52 Superman continuity (hey I lived through it pal! Doomsday and all. I wore the armband to school!), I was enamored by the New 52 version and all it brought with it, no marriage, dating Wonder Woman, more of a loner etc. I really dug the breath of fresh air.
I thought I didn’t miss that old stuff. But this creative team captured the era perfectly (can you think of another two that can define the comics of the 90s ), and gave us a believable but exciting take on the continuing adventures of the pre New 52 Superman.
In Gotham City for a press conference when the Dome went up, a now powerless Superman and Lois Lane have moved on in their marriage, with Lois currently being pregnant (and pretty far along…) and the two making the most of their lives post Dome. Supes keeps up the crime fighting, borrowing a page from Batman, with Lois Lane working as an erstwhile Oracle. All seems well, until the Dome drops. Regaining his powers, and realizing what lies ahead, Superman spends a quiet moment with Lois watching the sunrise before he sets off to investigate the neighboring city, looking for help to stop Telos… what a big mistake.
The neighboring city happens to harbor the more paranoid, war prone, edgy heroes of the Flashpoint universe. Batman (Thomas Wayne), Cyborg, Captain Thunder, Abin Sur, and Kal-El of that world take Superman’s approach as a threat, and respond in kind. Superman, trying to persuade them of his good intent has their familiarity used against him as these so thought “friends” of his attack him a savagery he has never seen before, even from his worst villains!
And things go from bad to worse, the Flashpoint Kal El hears a voice he thought long dead, the voice of Lois Lane. Its not his Lois Lane. But it is a Lois Lane…When the mentally unstable shut-in finds Lois alone in her Gotham,…well let’s just say it can’t lead to anything good.
Can Superman defeat the combined forces of Flashpoint’ s fiercest heroes in time to save not only his wife and unborn child…but his entire universe????
Convergence: Batgirl #1
a. Rick Leonardi
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Red Robin (ugh I can hear the Fanboy/Girl squealing from here!) confront the Flashpoint Catman as the chosen champions of Pre 52 Gotham City. Flashbacks to their life under the dome show Stephanie giving up Batgirl for a while and trying to help Gotham’s less fortunate in more peaceful ways, like volunteering her time to help the sick, and being as non confrontational as she can, living in Gotham. Eventually, at the behest of her roommate Cassandra Cain, the Black Bat, as well as a talk from Red Robin convince her to don her Batgirl gear once more, but her new-found peacenik sensibilities will get put to the test… when Flashpoint Grodd shows up! Leonardi’s art is top-notch and nostalgic enough that it really saves the book for me, since personally, I’m not that into the Stephanie Brown, Red Robin, Cassandra thing, even when I was reading it pre New 52… now waiting for the hate mail…
w. Ron Marz
a. Denys Cowan
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Mostly because Denys Cowan till has his artistic chops, and it definitely shows in a Batman comic. When Penguin, Black Mask, Mr Freeze, Man-Bat and Killer Croc try to wrestle control of Poison Ivy’s Garden (it’s the size of Central Park, she’s the city’s sole source of fresh vegetables and fruit) for criminal means, it’s up to the father and son team of Batman and Robin to save the day!
The Dynamic Duo make quick work of these villains, but a surprise attack by Croc almost turns the tables… until The Red Hood shows up for an assist…. that’s the Jason Todd Red Hood I’m talking about!
Resentful of being saved by a former Robin, Damian goes off on his own to take out the Red Hood, proving his superior Robin-ness to himself and his father. But it looks like their going to have to team up….when the Extremists come to Gotham to wipe it off the planet! A good, fun read… further exploring the earlier moments in Damian and Bruce’s relationship
Convergence: The Question #1
w. Greg Rucka
a. Cully Hamner
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because Greg Rucka returns to his not just one, but two pre 52 characters he helped put in the spotlight, and with Cully Hamner on art (you know the guy who helped Jim Lee design the New 52 Universe as well as drew Rucka’s Montoya/ Question run) you know this is gonna be a good one!
Working with a bearded Two-Face well half-bearded ), Renee Montoya tracks down a ring of looters stealing medication, medication that should be going to the sick and dying (including Renee’s father) of the cut off Gotham they reside in. With his Coin always coming up on the good side since the rise f the dome, Renee, a the Question sees a chance to rehabilitate Harvey Dent, even against the wishes of the Huntress,her roommate and partner in vigilantism. The Question does seem to be making progress with Harvey… until the Dome drops and he realizes he can finally get the suicide he’s been looking for…. by being killed by an alternate Two Face. With the world in chaos and Harvey crazier than usual, the Huntress calls in one of the Question’s ex girlfriends to lend a hand… the breath-taking Batwoman!!
Yep folks this one has it all!
w. Frank Tieri
a. Vicente Cifuentes
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because when Zatanna, Vixen, Jade , Mera and Power Girl got stuck in Gotham City when the Dome rose, little did they expect they would soon be having an adventure like no other. And I don’t mean Jesse Quick’s baby about to be born! (and the reason they are all together in Gotham…. Baby Shower!).
A year under the Dome has changed the leading ladies of DC, but not enough they won’t save one of their own. The Flashpoint Aquaman has gotten visual confirmation from his de-domed city of this one’s Mera, who he believes is his long-lost wife (dead and decapitated by Flashpoint Wonder Woman).
Aquaman rallies his Atantean army to the shores of Gotham, only as a distraction to kidnap Mera. It’s the Justice League vs Aquaman’s aquatic army, with the fate of Mera in the balance. A nice look at the previous iteration of the Justice League (the James Robinson days!) with the insanity of the Flashpoint characters as a balance.
Convergence: Speed Force #1
w. Tony Bedard
a. Tom Grummet
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Ugh. More squealing. Yes Fanboys Wally West is back, and so are the Tornado Twins (yayyy, now the 5 fans who care and steadily complain on every message board and comment section can feel vindicated, well for at least 2 months that is, when this wraps up and we go back to Wally being a kid, black, and childless– plbbbbbhhhhhhh!– Is that how you write a rasberry?!)
Wally and Kids were racing into Gotham to assist with a chronal aberration when the Dome went up, trapping them powerless and leaving the kids without a mother and Wally without his wife. After trying everything from Batman to a pick axe, Wally finally realizes there is no escaping the dome and doesn’t take it very well. Jai and Iris actually handle the situation better than dear old dad. When the Dome drops, Wally decides he isn’t going to play by Telos’ rules and tries to escape the sentient planet. Seeing the various timelines on their lap around the world, Wally and the Twins are confronted by Flashpoint Wonder Woman, who we all know has no probably killing the family members of her enemies. Can Wally save his kids? Maybe with a little help from Fastback, the speedster turtle from the Zoo Crew! (anyone? Captain Carrot. Zoo Crew….hello?)
w. Gail Simone
a. Jan Duursema
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Now the squealing is just a high pitch note akin to a teapot! Yes it’s true, Gail Simone is picking up where she left off Pre New 52, with the ongoing relationship between the wheel-chair-bound Oracle, and the strong-independent-don’t-need-no- Batman- Nightwing blossoming as they live there lives as both Nightwing and Oracle as well as Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson.
After a night of crime fighting, Dick decides to take Barbara on a date, a date on which he plans to propose. I don’t know what was more surprising, her answer… or the sudden arrival of Flashpoint Hawkman and Hawkwoman. With the dome down, Gotham is easy pickings for these Birds of Prey (lol.)
But they make an offer to Nightwing and Oracle: accept them as rulers of Gotham as New Thanagar, or be destroyed. Now it’s up to the suddenly estranged lovers to save themselves and their city from the wrath of the Hawks. Even battling apart, these two heroes will use their own unique skills to fight this battle… and a battle its going to be! Yeah this one did bring out the fan boy in me, not so much for Gail, Dick and Barabara but what a great chance to Duursema’s take on Hawkman and Hawkwoman again. That’s was a long time coming, and well worth the wait.
Convergence: The Atom #1
w. Tom Peyer
a. Steve Yeowall
1 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because there’s always a bad one in the batch, and maybe it’s just me, but I think I found it. Despite being a fan of both Peyer and Yeowall, This issue left me wanting. The concepts seemed a little off, and didn’t really gel with the other books. Ray Palmer has not coped with his life under the dome very well, without the ability to shrink, plus the guilt of his dead wife, and the murder of Ryan Choi (the All new Atom) Palmer’ s student and protegé have left Palmer a few electrons short of… well, an Atom (ha! I KILL ME!)
Still looking for Deathstroke, Ryan’s killer in the pre New 52, Atom wanders the streets of Gotham, a well-known street person who talks to himself, or the voices in his head if you ask him. Stranger than that is his new-found superpower… when all the other heroes lost theirs, Palmer gained the ability to enlarge his right hand. Yes, that is not a typo. He can make his hand BIG. Not too big, but just big enough to occasionally lift walls and debris. Look I didn’t write it. I’m just reporting it. And just like a song getting stuck in your head, throughout the rest of the story all I thought about was the big read hand, so I’m a bit foggy, I know Palmer has a taco salad, Deathstroke is bald, Ryan Choi seemed to come back and… big red hand. BIG RED HAND!!! See what I mean.
w. Steve Pugh
a. Phil Winslade
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because Pugh and Winslade took a unique approach to the character in her post Dome life, showing a Harley Quinn on the path to rehabilitation. Without the chaotic influence of the supervillain world, more notably a lack of a Joker, Harley has moved on.
Now seeing a therapist, going to group therapy and volunteering at Hospitals, Harley no longer hears the Joker’ s voice, nor does she hallucinate….
As much as she use to that is… Still adorably wacky, Quinn has rejoined society, living on her own, taking care of herself, even dating… and he’s a cop!
But when the Dome falls and Harley is chosen as one of its champions, her former partners in crime Catwoman and Poison Ivy realize they have to bring the old Harley back… whether she wants to or not, for Gotham to survive, Harley Quinn must rise again!!! Don’t miss the Gotham City Sirens reunion we’ve all been waiting for!
Convergence: Titans #1
w. Fabian Nicieza
a. Ron Wagner
3 out 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because Donna Troy with the over complicated origin, the one-armed Roy Harper with a dead kid, and the slightly less so but still slutty Starfire are back! (the squealing has gone hypersonic, glass is breaking and the other 5 complaining bloggers will have nothing to do for 2 months). The Holy Trinity of New 52 haters have found paths and careers suited to their personalities, and seemed to have adapted to life under the Dome rather well, leaving the problems of their shared pasts behind and moving forward in life.
But when the Dome falls and the Extremists attack (villains from another universe that resembles Marvel) Starfire and Donna Troy go on the attack with Roy directing from a secret room full of weapons and tech he gathered and built, waiting for a moment like this (hey he’s called Arsenal for a reason), Roy is confronted by the worst fear from his past (and it’s not heroin!)
Forced into the field when Starfire and Donna Troy are overwhelmed, Arsenal is approached by Dreamslayer (a Dormammu/Nightmare Hybrid) with an offer he can’t refuse, kill his teammates and surrender the city and he will be given back his daughter Lian. Will Roy pull the trigger… see the cliffhanger ending to find out!
And don’t forget to check out these variant covers by Chip Kidd:
See you next week folks, when Convergence hits Zero and Kingdom Come!!!