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+


Martin Gray said...

I do see your points, especially about they Mera acts - or rather, doesn't. I suppose it's a sign of the goodwill I feel towards Convergenge that I'm looking for reasons, excuses even, to explain the bits that make no sense. They're all over my posts at Too Dangerous For a Girl this week, but just so this isn't blatant pluggery, I'm thinking Mera either doesn't know her powers are back, or she's getting the measure of Bad Arthur. If she's this rubbish in the continuation, I'll be unhappy.

As for Kara's outfits, this is the version that started out drawn by Benes, so I can go with it - it's not like Kara hasn't worn skimpier, and she was on a night out at the start of the issue.

Anj said...

I agree that I am much more interested in these universes than most of the New 52. So I am also giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Hopefully Mera will sort things out.

And this is so Benes-esque I guess I need to roll with it.

Anonymous said...

Given that it sounds like Mera is acting rather helplessly after being kidnapped by Flashpoint Arthur, I guess Mera's characterisation is one of the few things the New 52 has over on the Pre New 52. Still, it sounds like Kara was decently portrayed if nothing else went right here.


Anonymous said...

Being stuck in this domeworld for a year atleast Kara has her cousin Clark, cousin-in law and future niece/nephew, that she is not alone. Also her bff Stephanie Brown.

I really wish the pre-new 52 heroes have their happy ending. If we might not see them again, I would to rest knowing they are happy and healthy somewhere in the multiverse somewhere. Like send them somewhere in a vibrant planet equivalent to an tropical island with an electric running huts where they do nothing all day but laying in the beach sipping rum or pina colada. In another have them somewhere happy.

Jay said...

That's what I was thinking too, that the survivors of dead continuities out of Flashpoint will be given their own world in the multiverse that's essentially a paradise world, a place of retirement, so to speak.

Jay said...

Convergence I mean, not Flashpoint, lol.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you don't like the Flashpoint universe, that was so well written. It's gritty sure, but the whole point was to show a world in crisis where the politics of super heroics took a deep shift.

Saranga said...

I'm fine with Mera being sad and not tough in this. She's just having a bad day. It happens. II'm not sure there's any reason for her wanting her friends to rescue her, rather than rescuing herself.
I didn't mind Flashpoint Aquaman here, I think because he's only one option, and not the definitive Aquaman.