02 August 2017

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LXX: Convergence: Zero Hour, Book 1

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

Writers: Justin Gray, Christy Marx, Ron Marz, Frank Tieri, and Fabian Nicieza
Art: Ron Randall, Rags Morales & Claude St-Aubin, Mike Manley & Joe Rubinstein/Bret Blevins, Tom Mandrake, and Karl Moline & Jose Marzan Jr.
Color: Gabe Eltaeb, Nei Ruffino and Sian Mandrake
Letters: Pat Brosseau, Travis Lanham, Tom Napolitano, and Dave Sharpe

The very concept of Convergence is pretty goofy and not in a good way. Why bring these characters back but distort them by having them live in isolated cities for a year? Surely there must have been a more elegant option available. It doesn't help that no one seems to have told the writers of the tie-ins whether there were any rules for how the city battles worked: some characters are sent into each other's cities by Telos, others fly over on their own volition, some combats begin as soon as the domes go down, others have time to prepare, and this volume introduces (in just one story) the idea that the combats take place on a neutral ground.

Not pictured: some very cheesecake-y Jim Balent stylings.
from Convergence: Catwoman #2 (script by Justin Gray, art by Ron Randall)

Still, the best Convergence stories manage to do something worthwhile with the concept, usually by having some kind of emotional substrate to the battle being told. I don't think Zero Hour, Book 1 contains the best Convergence stories thus far, but it is one of the most consistent books, perhaps because the 1990s had characters with more emotional complexity than the 1970s/80s ones featured in earlier volumes. All five stories collected here cover characters from Metropolis around the time of the Zero Hour, though I'm not sure if from before or after the event itself, fighting the characters of Kingdom Come (published just two years after Zero Hour, so nice and era-appropriate).

On Earth-0, Oliver had to die and come back to life before Connor got to hear something like this!
from Convergence: Green Arrow #2 (script by Christy Marx, art by Rags Morales & Claude St-Aubin)

So this volume has some nice moments: Catwoman flirting and bantering with the Kingdom Come Batman (with some well-done Jim Balent pastiche art); Connor Hawke getting acknowledgment from Oliver Queen, the father he never knew (and something that didn't actually happen in the comics of this era, as Oliver died almost immediately after meeting Connor), while Connor gets to have an alternate-future sister for a brief moment; Blue Beetle doing his best to be a man of peace in a time of war, and making an alliance with his alternate-future self; and the clone Superboy achieving the emotional maturity needed to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Only the Suicide Squad tale left me largely cold, and even that wasn't bad, just not my thing.

Great superhero comics is teaming up with your alternate dystopian future self and cracking jokes the whole time.
from Convergence: Justice League International #2 (script by Ron Marz, art by Mike Manley and Joe Rubinstein & Bret Blevins)

I enjoyed this set. The JLI one featuring Blue Beetle was definitely the best (Ron Marz turns out to be surprisingly adept at mixing comedy and tragedy), but on the whole it was a strong volume drawing on one of DC Comics's most creatively fertile periods.

Who'd have thought that I'd feel so bad for the Too Cool For School 1990s Superboy?
from Convergence: Superboy #2 (script by Fabian Nicieza, art by Karl Moline & José Marzán Jr.)
Next Week: Steel, Batman and Azrael, Aquaman, Matrix, and Green Lantern and Parallax battle for their lives in Convergence: Zero Hour, Book 2!

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