Review by Frank Plowright
Convergence was DC’s 2015 event method of restoring most original versions of DC’s superheroes, supplanting the ‘New 52’ characters introduced four years previously. It’s achieved via the usual massive dust-up involving dozens of superheroes, with the greater novelty found in eight tie-in graphic novels, issued as a Book 1 and Book 2 per theme, each containing five stories running two chapters apiece. These can be enjoyed without reference to the main Convergence graphic novel, and are aimed at older fans by featuring the characters as they were in earlier eras, this collection featuring lead characters traditionally associated with Earth 2 such as Power Girl, the Huntress and the Justice Society. We visit assorted cities home to superheroes trapped in impenetrable domes where they’ve been for a year. Something about the domes removes super powers, and early in each segment the heroes are told they’ll have to fight another batch of heroes to the death for their city to survive.
Two stories feature the Moscow where an infant Kal-El arrived from Krypton in the world of Superman: Red Son, and writers Justin Gray and Len Wein respectively make good use of the Soviet society. Both writers alternate between that and the preoccupations of Power Girl and the team of Huntress and Robin to roll out suspenseful tales building toward interesting endings via several surprises. The art styles employed Claude St Aubin and Denys Cowan are very different, but equally capable of setting a mood, and both these stories are among the Convergence highlights.
At one point before rejuvenation the Justice Society were old people, and this is the era visited by Dan Abnett and Tom Derenick, poignantly seen over the opening pages as Flash with a walking stick visits a comatose Doctor Fate. Their youth can be returned along with their powers, but at a cost. Abnett’s point is how youth and super powers are gifts, but it’s made early, and little else resonates, although Derenick puts a lot of effort into the art.
Infinity Inc’s era as the sons and daughters of the Justice Society is now long forgotten, giving Jerry Ordway a hard task in making us care about 1980s teenagers now lacking super powers. A lot of explanations are necessary, but the novelty of pitting them against a short-lived incarnation of a long-running DC character spikes interest. Ben Caldwell’s art becomes looser the longer the story continues, and eventually June Brigman takes over, providing a consistency, but this never catches fire. At the end it briefly follows-up on Abnett’s closing idea.
The 1940s Seven Soliders of Victory are even more obscure than Infinity Inc, but Paul Levitz is better at reintroducing and establishing them, first showing them in action, along with Jibbet, a cartoonist and reporter through whose eyes the heroes are seen. Despite the odd strange figure, Jim Fern draws attractively and clearly, with Shannon Wheeler providing Jibbet’s cartoons, but Ron Wagner’s closing pages aren’t the same quality. This is a satisfying story steeped in melancholy, the homage to Sheldon Mayer nicely treated, and the heroism underlined.
Its presence tips the quality scale back up, making this a better Convergence tie-in, with hopes high for Book 2.