Continuing my look at the first week of DC Comics Convergence event. Be sure to check out Week One, Part One for my spoiler filled ramblings on Convergence #1, Batman and Robin #1, Nightwing Oracle #1, Batgirl #1 and Speed Force #1. After the break my mind wanders aimlessly and spoilery about Superman #1, Harley Quinn #1, Justice League #1, The Atom #1, The Question #1 and Titans #1.
Convergence Superman #1
As we continue our journey across the landscape of the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City we find a depowered Superman doing exactly what you would expect a depowered super hero to do. His best Batman impression. Dressed in black and fighting drug dealers in hand to hand combat. (Does Superman have any fighting experience? Even Lois remarks in this issue that Batman has trained for years to do this. Clark hasn’t.)
During the fight, Clark gets extremely lucky (as is known to happen in comic books) as the dome drops instances before he messes up and gets roasted by a flame thrower. But he’s ok as his powers have just returned. And to add another link in a long growing chain of coincidences, this formaly depowered Superman just happens to have his costume on (cape and all) under his street fighting clothes.
Superman then makes quick work of the drug dealers and rescues Jimmy Olsen along the way, because, everyone was in Gotham at the end of the universe.
Superman flies home to his small Gotham apartment that he’s been sharing with his wife Lois and we learn (well, we knew this months ago, thanks Internet) that Lois is about 9 months pregnant. They relax for a bit and talk about moving back to Metropolis for the birth of their baby (unaware they are no longer on Earth) and then listen to a recording of Telos’s broadcast that Lois made. Superman is not impressed, and shows off his Super Reading Between The Lines power as he knows aspects of the story that are not told in the broadcast.
(As an aside, hats off to the guys and gals and aliens running the servers and internet connections on Telos. As Lois and Superman listen to the message Lois is instantly able to browse the web and find stories about the Batman and Gotham of the Flashpoint universe.)
Cut to the Flashpoint Gotham City where we find their versions of Batman (Thomas Wayne), Shazam (Captain Thunder), Kal-El (Project Superman), Cyborg and Green Lantern (Abin Sur) divided on whether they should try to team up with their counterparts in other cities or go the kill or be killed route.
Superman is on his way to make peace when he is attached by Captain Thunder, Cyborg and Green Lantern. Superman almost convinces them to stand down when Jimmy Olsen shows up and does Jimmy Olsen things and messes the whole thing up.
Meanwhile, Batman takes a stroll down memory lane and shares the end of Flashpoint with readers. One of the key moments of that series is when Thomas Wayne gives Barry Allen a note to take back with him to his timeline to give to his son Bruce, who has died in the Flashpoint timeline. Of course, Barry ran his way into the New 52, not the good old DCU, but the note remained intact and was delivered and we got to see Batman cry. I’m not sure that was a good thing.
If you haven’t read Flashpoint and it’s glut of tie-ins, I’d recommend it. Sort of a DC equivalent to Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse storyline. Lines are blurred, good guys are bad guys and vice versa, Bruce Wayne is dead and Thomas Wayne is Batman, lone Kryptonian survivor Kal-El is not raised by the Kents but locked away and studied.
The Project Superman storyline is one of the highlights of the event. What you need to know here is that in the Flashpoint universe, Lois befriends the captured Kal-El but is killed shortly after. So when Kal-El finds there is another Lois on Telos he arrives at pre-Flashpoint Gotham to rescue her, whether she likes it or not.
Convergence Harley Quinn #1
This issue starts with one of the few pre-dome sequences and hence a look back at the true Pre-Flashpoint DCU. We find jester Harley Quinn (not super sexualized corset and not much else wearing New 52 Harley Quinn) and her inept gang of criminals and hyenas attempting to steal a multi-million-dollar hyena skill encrusted with jewels. Don’t ask. Needless to say, things aren’t going well. As the crew square off with the police everything grinds to a halt as the dome appears.
Flash forward a year and we find an apparently reformed Harley trying to live the good life through drugs and therapy and her new boyfriend, the GCPD officer she almost killed in the first act. Key to her recovery has also been that she’s been cut off from The Joker. (Wait…so with all the convenient “they just happened to be in Gotham at the time” with the likes of Superman and Flash, you’re telling me that the Joker, who’s made Gotham his base of operations for like the last 75 years, just happened to be on vacation at the end of the universe?) DC has been pretty consistent with the theme that live under the dome is depressing everyone and the therapy business has been booming.
Meanwhile, Poison Ivy has become a bit of a savior in the dome for her ability to grow fruits and vegetables for its inhabitants. It also makes her a target. In this issue a gang of thugs are attacking her rooftop greenhouse and Catwoman lends a hand to save the day. As the brawl is nearing a close, Telos broadcasts his message, drops the dome and informs the citizens of Gotham that Harley has been chosen as a champion and has to fight…Captain Carrot! Ivy and Catwoman aren’t all that freaked out by the fact that Captain Carrot is a giant bunny, but are concerned by his cape and upper body mass. And since Harley is Molly Homemaker these days, like Stephanie Brown over in Batgirl, the Pre-Flashpoint Gothamites have reason to be worried.
Fearing the worst, Ivy and Catwoman take matters into their own hands and attempt to transform Harley back into her badass hilarious self.
As an aside, Ivy’s appearance seems to work here continuity wise with her appearance in Batman and Robin which must take place the day before. Which I guess means that I might have been too hard on Mr. Freeze’s appearances in Batman and Robin and Nightwing Oracle. The timing still seems odd, but if Mr. Freeze’s attack on Ivy is the day before he is captured by Nightwing, I guess it makes sense.
Convergence Justice League #1
This issue feels like it is a bit of “monkey see, monkey do” between Marvel and DC. Following Marvel’s announcement of an all female Avengers team in A-Force we have DC countering with an all female Justice League. It might be just a big coincidence. Like Convergence and Secret Wars being seemingly identical events.
Speaking of coincidence, our team of female heroes just all happen to be in Gotham at the time of the dome drop. That seems like it has happened a lot.
Like the Harley Quinn issue, we start in the pre-dome Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City as Supergirl races to get Jesse Quick to the hospital after she starts contractions at her baby shower, which for no reason was being held in Gotham City. Which all feels like one of those “let’s tie up some loose ends we left upon launch of the New 52”. As Jesse is giving birth, the dome appears and our female heroes including Jade, Mera, Zatanna and Vixen are left powerless.
Until a year later when Telos drops the dome! Surprise everyone!
Cut to the Flashpoint universe where SOB Aquaman makes good use of that fine, fine Telos wifi signal and instantly has surveillance camera footage of the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham and is able to spot their version of his former love Mera out of a city of millions. Like Kal-El “rescuing” Lois in Superman, Watson’s buddy has no desire to waste this opportunity to get her back. (FYI, Flashpoint Mera was beheaded by Flashpoint Wonder Woman. That Flashpoint universe is a fun place to live.) This issue concludes with Flashpoint Aquaman sending his army who successfully kidnap Mera and bring her to their underwater lair.
Hold on, hold on. Wait a minute. So DC has made it quite clear at every opportunity that only cities from each universe have been brought to Telos. And that they have been plunked down self-contained in the middle of nowhere on the planet. And that the rest of the planet is a barren desert wasteland. So how exactly does Flashpoint Aquaman get to Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City with his army and ships? Portage? The script tries to address this by having Aquaman say that he was in the waters around Mera’s Gotham City because he was planning to attack it. But that still makes no sense. If he was in the waters of any Gotham City (by coincidence of course) and subsequently brought to Telos, it would be the waters of the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham. We have seen that Telos is a living planet and can morph at will, so maybe when the domes were dropped Telos created a vast ocean (brimming with sea life that Aquaman plans to use to attack the Justice League next issue!) between the two Gotham Cities. Yes, I’ve thought way too much about this.
Convergence The Atom #1
One of the weaker stories so far, but part of that might be chalked up to my never being an Atom fan. Regular followers of Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi might feel differently.
This issue starts under the dome. Like the other super heroes, The Atom has lost his ability to shrink. But for some reason he can still do his best Foo Fighters impersonation and radically enlarge his right hand.
As hinted in Speed Force, the city at large believes that Ray Palmer is losing his mind. It doesn’t help when he openly shares with the media that he keeps hearing a voice in his head and routinely talks back to it.
Palmer calls out Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke, who for some reason has joined the likes of Batgirl and Harley Quinn in retirement. Palmer wants justice for the murder of Atom #2 Ryan Choi back in the Pre-Flashpoint days. Deathstroke obliges, but before Palmer can get his revenge he is conveniently transported away from Gotham to fight as one of the champions. (I’m beginning to think this event should have been called Convenience.)
Palmer’s shrinking abilities have returned with the domes down and he will need them as another Extremist from Angor by the name of Barracuda takes center stage. (A band of Extremists also appear for battle in Batman and Robin.) Palmer makes quick work of Barracuda and in what’s sure to be the least surprising plot twist you read this week, learns that maybe that voice in his head wasn’t an illusion after all.
Convergence The Question #1
The return of the Pre-Flashpoint Question has been one of the most hyped aspects of Convergence. Artist Cully Hamner describes it as a “coda” to the work he and writer Greg Rucka had done with the character in Detective Comics before the New 52 came along and wiped Renee Montoya out of existence.
I haven’t read that run (surprise!) but I do like what I’ve read of Rucka’s work. He had a fantastic run on Marvel’s The Punisher between 2011 and 2013. The bearded Two-Face in the pages of this book reminded me very much of the Frank Castle from that run.
Heading back to discuss things under the dome, DC continues to paint a picture of the bleakness of Gotham (because it was cheery happy land previously) as people struggle to adapt to life with no knowledge of what is happening outside the dome. People can’t take vacations, supplies and food are limited to what can be produced locally, don’t even think about trying to watch a rerun of Friends.
I won’t get into much detail here, as the bulk of the issue is about the interactions between Montoya (in and out of Question guise) and a Two-Face who flips a coin every day with a gun pointed to his head. The coin never tells him what he wants to hear.
An excellent issue on its own, and one I’m sure will have fans of that Detective Comics run in their glee. It definitely spices my appetite to go back and check them out.
Convergence Titans #1
Well, if this first week of Convergence has taught me anything, it’s that my DC-fu is super weak. I’m familiar with our trio of heroes show above, but my knowledge of their backstories is very limited. (Arsenal had a kid? And she died!?!?) But I’ll keep chugging along as our resident DC expert Tom Kelly is too busy writing up Secret Wars articles for me to read…because my Avengers-Fu is super weak as well. Man, do I even read comics?
One of the biggest hat tips to fans that DC has attempted to do with this revisit to the pre-Flashpoint DCU, has been to focus on things that never made it to the New 52 relaunch. Biggest examples being the Wally West Flash, Stephanie Brown Batgirl, Donna Troy, Lois and Superman’s marriage, Barbara Gordon as Oracle and Renee Montoya’s Question. (Where’s my Dick Grayson Batman story!?!)
This issue does a good job recapping the life of Roy Harper to bring slackers like me up to speed. Currently, Roy is one of the few we’ve seen that hasn’t fallen into depression under the dome. He’s used a grant from the Wayne Foundation to establish “Lian’s Place” to help displaced families.
It’s not long before the dome is dropped and Roy contacts his friends Donna Troy and Starfire who are thrilled to find their powers are back. As the girls head home to change, Roy reveals that Lian’s Place is not just a shelter, but he’s hidden his own “bat cave” in the basement. Weapons, surveillance equipment covering the entire city and his now functioning robotic arm await him. (And why did his arm stop working in the first place? I get that super beings powers were suppressed, but there has been no mention of technology falling victim as well. And if it did affect special technology like this, what of say Flashpoint Cyborg? He seems right as rain over in Superman.)
As the girls were changing Telos informs them that they have been chosen as champions of Gotham and to be prepared for battle. (Interesting timing on that message Telos, you pervert.) When they arrive at Port Adams they discover our good friends from Angor, more Extremists! This go round we find Gorgon, Lord Havok, Dreamslayer, Tracer and Diehard. (These Marvel rip-offs should be more familiar to you than the last group Tom.) The girls battle valiantly, but it isn’t until Arsenal shows up that the tide is turned. Because, you know, the most important person in this fight is the guy with the arrows and not two strong women with the Power Cosmic (or something).
Dreamslayer has a trick up his sleeve though. He offers Arsenal his daughter back. Saying that he has the power to travel back in time and save her before her untimely death. But in exchange, Arsenal has to betray his friends. Arsenal is torn. This is his daughter after all. He would do anything to get her back. But not this…right?
And that’s it for week one. Tune in later this week for coverage of week two which will focus on the pre-Zero Hour DCU and the world of Kingdom Come.