19 July 2017

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LXVIII: Convergence: Infinite Earths, Book 1

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

Writers: Justin Gray, Len Wein, Dan Abnett, Jerry Ordway, and Paul Levitz
Art: Claude St-Aubin & Sean Parsons, Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz, Tom Derenick & Trevor Scott, Ben Caldwell, June Brigman & Ron Richardson, Jim Fern/Roy Wagner & Joe Rubinstein/Wayne Faucher/José Marzán Jr., and Shannon Wheeler
Color: Lovern Kindzierski, Chris Sotomayor & Felix Serrano, Monica Kubina, Veronica Gandini, and Paul Mounts
Lettering: Steve Wands, Travis Lanham, Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh, and Tom Napolitno

I'm assuming that what divides the "Crisis" volumes of Convergence from the "Infinite Earths" volumes is that though the characters in all are plucked from Earth-1 in the "Crisis" volumes they come from the other pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earths in the "Infinite Earths" volumes. All five stories in this volume are about characters from Earth-2, as the Earth-2 Metropolis was one of the cities scooped up by Telos for his series of battles outside time and space. Power Girl, Robin, and the Huntress represent Earth-2 Metropolis against Moscow from Red Son, the Justice Society of America and the Seven Soldiers of Victory fight the Weaponers of Qward (the first alien planet we've seen on Telos... and not just an alien planet, as Qward was in the antimatter universe pre-Crisis), and Infinity Inc. fights, um, Jonah Hex but he's from the future and has a flying saucer for some reason.

Hippolyta Hall: always badass.
from Convergence: Infinity Inc. #1 (script by Jerry Ordway, art by Ben Caldwell)

The mechanics and rules of Telos's tournament are still vague and inconsistent, and the set-up of Convergence itself is contrived. Like in the previous volume, Len Wein tries to explain why the characters in his story are in a particular city, but he doesn't do so well: Robin and the Huntress are summoned to a JSA meeting in Metropolis to deal with the red skies of the Crisis, but as they point out, JSA HQ is actually located in New York City! No one in the story explains why the JSA HQ is suddenly in Metropolis, and I'm not sure things are better for flagging it up. The whole book probably could have just used Earth-2 New York, actually, and it would have been less awkward. (Wikipedia informs me Infinity Inc. was based in Los Angeles, so it makes as much sense for them to be in any of these cities. Their story doesn't explain why they're not in LA.)

Actually, let's talk about Wein's story, because his having characters comment on things is out in full force here: the Huntress spends the whole story advocating violence against the Red Son Superman while Robin takes a more diplomatic tack, and then at the end, she's like, "Geeze, I don't know I was so violent. I'm not like that." So why did Wein write it that way to begin with? It actually didn't seem particularly over-the-top to me, so I feel like the story would have got away with it if Wein hadn't lampshaded it. At least there's some nice, moody Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz art, which is always a treat, and well-suited to the Red Son Moscow scenes especially.

Aw, Communist Dictator Superman is so misunderstood.
from Convergence: Detective Comics #1 (script by Len Wein, art by Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz)

This was a so-so volume on the whole, with the Power Girl and Infinity Inc. stories being pretty meh, and the Seven Soldiers of Victory one being flagrantly uninteresting. I did really like the Justice Society of America story, though; it was actually kind of touching to see these oldsters go into battle one last time, knowing it could be the last, and then walk off into the sunset at the end. I haven't read very much JSA stuff, but I always enjoy it when I do-- that sense of legacy is one of the best parts of DC, and in this legacy-free "New 52" era, Convergence allows for a little touch of it once again.

Why doesn't DC bring back the proper JSA, anyway?
from Convergence: Justice Society of America #2 (script by Dan Abnett, art by Tom Derenick & Trevor Scott)
Next Week: Captain Marvel, the Blue Beetle, the Crime Syndicate, Booster Gold, and the Freedom Fighters battle for their lives in Convergence: Infinite Earths, Book 2!

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