05 July 2017

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LXVI: Convergence: Crisis, Book 1

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2015 (contents: 2015)
Borrowed from the library
Read April 2017
Convergence: Crisis, Book 1

Writers: Stuart Moore, David Gallaher, Marc Andreyko, Marv Wolfman, and Jeff Parker
Art: Gus Storms/Peter Gross & Mark Farmer, Steve Ellis & Ande Parks, Carlos D'Anda, Roberto Viacava & Andy Owens, and Tim Truman & Enrique Alcatena
Colors: John Rauch, Gabe Eltaeb, and Jon Kalisz
Letters: Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, and Rob Leigh

The basic premise of Convergence is that some as-yet-unknown foe has plucked cities out of time from all across the multiverse. Not out of the multiverse just explicated by Grant Morrison in The Multiversity, but from the continuities of bygone days. The series thus becomes a way to visit characters and premises that don't fit even within Morrison's meticulously mapped multiverse of 52 Earths. I actually picked up some of these stories in single issues as they came out: ones I had particular affection for, like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Connor Hawke Green Arrow, the Justice League International, Oracle, the Renee Montoya Question, and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle.

Yes it did mean something. Just let it go, Marv!
from Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1 (script by Marv Wolfman, art by Roberto Viacava & Andy Owens)

This volume, for example, features characters from shortly before Crisis on Infinite Earths trapped in two different cities: the Giffen/Levitz-era Legion of Super-Heroes are in 30th-century Metropolis, while three different Green Lanterns, Batman and the Outsiders, Superman and Supergirl, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl are all trapped in Gotham. The stories are somewhat formulaic: the first issue establishes what the status quo has been beneath the dome (usually it has made folks mopey), then the dome comes down and the heroes have to fight it out with the denizens of another city, only one of which can survive. As a result, some of these tales prove forgettable-- I don't give a shit about the Outsiders or the Hawks, and the Superman/Supergirl story is only interesting as yet another attempt by Marv Wolfman to atone for the sins of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Was this building on a preexisting ship, or was this original to Convergence?
from Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (script by Stuart Moore, art by Gus Storms & Mark Farmer)

But the best writers really make something of this. Like I said, I'd bought the Legion tale here, so it was a reread, but I was still surprised by how much I liked it. It starts a little on the mopey side, but as the Legion is forced into a battle with the Atomic Knights, from DC's postapocalyptic setting of the Great Disaster, there's a nice little affirmation of both groups' commitments to peace, and how difficult that can be in trying circumstances, yet it is no less important. Brainiac 5 gets some good jokes, and I like how the story discusses the transition of Superboy to Superman. The only thing to not like is that the artwork, especially that in the first issue by Gus Storms and Mark Farmer, is jarringly unlike the actual art of the era this story is replicating, too light and airy.

The ideal Guy Gardner story: ridiculous and fun. As opposed to most 1990s Guy Gardner stories, ridiculous and dumb.
from Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #2 (script by David Gallaher, art by Steve Ellis & Ande Parks)

The other story I really liked was the Green Lantern one, which focuses on Guy Gardner, but also co-stars Hal Jordan and John Stewart. When Gotham was plucked out of time, Guy was in a coma; he woke up, but powerless like all the other residents of the dome-- and discovered that while he was asleep, Hal had tried to marry his fiancée! Guy is often a joke character, but Dave Gallaher and Steve Ellis take him completely seriously here, which makes him all the more awesome. He's a hothead, but that's because he's raging at the rough hand life has dealt him: here we see his nurturing side (he's working in athletics at an elementary school) and his attempts to heal (he's visiting Leslie Thompkins for regular therapy sessions). Sometimes he's too impulsive for his own good, but he means well, and all three Lanterns overcome their differences here to save the city from a dangerous adversary. It's a fun, well-executed comic that pays unexpected dividends of enjoyment and depth.

Next Week: Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, the Flash, the New Teen Titans, and Justice League Detroit battle for their lives in Convergence: Crisis, Book 2!

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