09 August 2017

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LXXI: Convergence: Zero Hour, Book 2

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2015 (contents: 2015)
Borrowed from the library
Read July 2017
Convergence: Zero Hour, Book 2

Writers: Tony Bedard, Larry Hama, Keith Giffen, and Louise Simonson
Artists: Cliff Richards, Philip Tan & Jason Paz/Rob Hunter, Rick Leonardi & Dan Green, Ron Wagner & Bill Reinhold, Timothy Green II & Joseph Silver, June Brigman & Roy Richardson
Color: John Rauch, Elmer Santos, and Paul Mounts
Letterers: Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, and Corey Breen

This volume collects the Convergence adventures of five more sets of 1990s heroes, hailing from September 1994 or thereabouts. There's the hook-handed Aquaman (he lost the real hand in September 1994's Aquaman #2); Batman is joined by Azrael, who substituted for him during the Knightfall storyline (February 1993 through August 1994); Kyle Rayner is Green Lantern (he took over in March 1994's Green Lantern #50), and Hal Jordan has become Parallax; Supergirl is a protoplasmic blob from a pocket universe (she adopted the role in February 1992), working for Lex Luthor, who's transferred his brain into a younger, sexier, Australianer, hairier clone body (he first appeared in October 1990; the two dated until Supergirl #4 in May 1994, so there's some timeline wonkiness here); and John Henry Irons, who substituted for Superman while he was dead, is the superhero-in-his-own-right Steel (he got his own series in February 1994).

Maybe I lack nostalgia for these 1990s set-ups (I've read very little of any of them, except clone Luthor and protoplasmic Supergirl both feature in the Death of/World Without a/Return of Superman trilogy). Like all of these Convergence stories, it has to contrive to get the heroes all in the same city; apparently that was because everyone turned up in Metropolis to fight Parallax. Does this mean the city was domed during the events of Zero Hour? I don't remember the events of Zero Hour well enough to say; it seems a pretty tepid explanation that Azrael came to Metropolis because couldn't "miss a gathering of heroes like that." Additionally, the stories are inconsistent as to whether Superman was in the dome or not. He doesn't actually appear, but Kyle includes him among those who forgave Hal for his actions as Parallax, while on the other hand, both Steel and Lex mention that he's absent.

Whatever. Probably none of this really matters, what matters is the story... but I didn't really care about the stories here. It's impossible to care about Aquaman, the Azrael story was pretty uninteresting, and I don't know what planet Keith Giffen was on when he wrote the Supergirl tale, but it is bonkers, and sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, most often in a what is this i don't even way. I did like that Parallax isn't evil per se (remember Hal's actions were all in aid of trying to bring back the destroyed Coast City), so he ruthlessly fights on behalf of the city against its enemies, and Kyle has to try to stop him from going overboard. But even though in theory I do like the character of Steel, his story still didn't do much for me, even if it did reunite the actual creative team the character had back in the 1990s.

Probably part of the problem is that in three of these stories, the opponents are from the Wildstorm universe. This is definitely thematically appropriate, as Wildstorm is the most 1990s thing of them all, and thank God that Grifter doesn't turn up, but seriously, who gives a shit about Wildstorm? And these folks are like the Wildstorm also-rans; I could tolerate the Authority or maybe even Stormwatch, but Gen¹³ and Wetworks? In two of the stories, it's the denizens of Earth-6, which is kind of random, but thankfully Giffen makes a joke at the expense of that randomness. Earth-6's Lady Quark was a member of L.E.G.I.O.N., which Giffen wrote, and he has a joke about that, though it's anachronistic to say the least.

Anyway, whatever. All the 1990s stuff I cared about was frontloaded in the first Convergence: Zero Hour volume, which didn't leave me with much to enjoy here.

Next Week: Superman, the Question, the Justice League of America, Stephanie Brown, and Nightwing and Oracle battle for their lives in Convergence: Flashpoint, Book 1!

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