Friday, April 10, 2015
Review: Convergence Justice League #1
The Convergence event started in earnest this week with Convergence #1 and a bunch of the Convergence mini-series being released. I have been trying to wrap my head around this whole event for some time. The cynic in me thinks it is a simple money grab, a way to deal with the physical move of offices, and a way for DC to try to showcase some of its history to older fans while snubbing those same fans by bringing back the 'New 52' universe when its over.
And yet, the fan in me is thrilled to see some of these characters again. I have been wanting to see a classic Superman, old/new school Supergirl, and a Steph Brown Batgirl. So how can I not be excited. And Supergirl is a big part of 2 of the series.
Convergence Justice League #1 came out this week and showcases the James Robinson era Justice League, a book and a time that I really enjoyed. This was truly a legacy League. Dick Grayson was Batman. Kara was 'Superman'. Donna Troy was 'Wonder Woman'. Jessie Quick was the 'Flash'. Jade was 'Green Lantern'. Oh, and there was the blue Starman and Congorilla too. It was different and fun and fresh. And even though there was a 'Dark Supergirl' turn, Kara was treated well, in line with the post-New Krypton sensibilities and emotions that Sterling Gates was doing in Kara's main title.
So I was looking forward to this book. I was hoping to love this book. But, like Convergence, I need to wrap my head around it. Because I think it is something of a mixed bag. Writer Frank Tieri brings these characters together and has them square off against the Flashpoint world. And Vicente Cifuentes does the art. There is definitely an Ed Benes feel of cheesecake here.
We start with a nice Supergirl moment as she speeds Jessie to a Gotham hospital. When the Justice League comic was canceled, Jessie was pregnant. Here, she is in active labor and Kara needs to get her to the hospital as quickly as she can.
It is a fun opening scene and it shows how just how much of a friend Supergirl is.
Now she is sporting a pretty tight shirt, a skirt with slits up the sides to the waist, and her high heels magically become boots in the span of 3 panels. Skimpy outfits is definitely a theme in this book.
But the sentiment is nice.
It turns out that Kara, Zatanna, Jade, and Vixen were all in Gotham to have a baby shower for Jessie when the contractions started. At least we have a reason for all of them being in Gotham when the city is captured and placed in the dome.
Under the dome everyone loses their powers. Jade reverts to a more human skin tone. And suddenly everyone is trapped.
One year later ... one year. Interesting. Even though the city is domed, life has gone on normally. People work, eat, and party despite being trapped. I am surprised that chaos hasn't ensued. Or that people haven't questioned where the water and food comes from.
But our first shot of this world is Kara beating someone up. This guy grabbed her while at a bar and she is defending herself. Despite being powerless, she is able to put him into the wall with one hand.
And even though this was her defending herself, it just smacked a bit too much of the barely clothed, angry, 'punch first' Supergirl that we had moved past when this League was together. I suppose when averaged out with everything else in the issue, I can try to tolerate this moment.
This picture screamed 'Ed Benes' to me. I keep seeing some page from 'Candor' in my mind. Was this a swipe? Do I have to skim 'Candor' to see? I don't want to skim 'Candor'!!
There is a funny moment. The women leaguers are out on the town leaving Congorilla to have to babysit Jessie's son 'Little Johnny'.
Still, if Kara's personality is a bit too edgy and angry, it is still better than Mera who really gets treated pretty badly in this issue.
She was also in Gotham at the time of the doming. (Was she a guest at the shower?)
Mera is depressed because she misses Aquaman soooo much. She is supposed to be having a good time with the rest of the gang but instead she is moping on the balcony of the club. Now I know that this would be a sad time for many. But I hope there is more to Mera than just this sadness.
I was hoping to see some strength or determination in her.
It turns out that the nearby Gotham is the Flashpoint Gotham.
And, as per usual in the Flashpoint world, everyone is gritty, dark, and stabby. And so we see Aquaman torturing and ultimately killing an unnamed man for daring to mention Mera's name.
I forgot just how much I disliked the Flashpoint universe.
So, as in all the Convergence books, Telos arrives and drops the dome. Everyone's powers return. And the concept of a tournament of timelines is established.
Again, I like that Kara's first thoughts here are to make sure that the people of Gotham remain safe. It is suddenly clear that this is one of many Gothams on this planet. They aren't on Earth anymore. And the safety of the people is paramount.
She almost sounds like the leader of this group!
Meanwhile, the Flashpoint Aquaman has used his technology to peek into this Gotham and sees that a Mera lives there. Obsessed, he sends his flunkies who kidnap her, bringing her in a submarine back to the other Gotham's harbor.
To cover the getaway, Aquaman has sent a Kraken. Kara says 'I got this' and basically bashes it away with one punch.
I loved that Supergirl was the 'muscle' of that JLA. So seeing her eliminate the threat quickly was perfect.
But that outfit. Or lack thereof. It reminds me of a line from the old movie 'The Sure Thing'. "She has beautiful skin ... and so much of it!"
And are the boots a call-out for the Earth Angel Supergirl? (That's not this one.) Or some nod to Wonder Woman?
Now over the last decade Mera has been shown to be one of the strongest, steeliest, intelligent leaders in the DCU. She was fierce and independent. So here, seeing her on her knees before Aquaman, squeezed and kissed, responding only with a slap and a 'my friends will save me' is just wrong. This isn't the Mera I am used to seeing. And I can only imagine what hard core Aquaman fans and Mera fans think of this.
Kidnapped in an alley. And then manhandled like this? Terrible.
So what to think of this? I, for the most part, like Supergirl here. Although there is a bit of that edginess from the earliest adventures of this incarnation that rub me the wrong way. I really don't like the treatment of Mera. And the art skews to cheesecake.
I guess that means overall it is something of a mixed bag.
Overall grade: C+