Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Convergence Superman #1

Convergence Superman #1 came out last week and was the hit of the week for me. Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Lee Weeks have the luxury of going back to the pre-Flashpoint Superman, a more classic interpretation of the Man of Steel, one in love with Lois and trying his best to fight the never-ending battle.

While I enjoyed Morrison's Action Comics, and have seen glimpses of greatness in Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder's run with the character, I feel as if the New 52 Superman isn't the Superman I need. It seemed that the places that had a classic Superman were the out-of-continuity places - Superman Unchained, Adventures of Superman, and Smallville. Heck, even The New Avengers over at Marvel had a more traditional Superman analogue than the New 52.

So when I heard that Convergence was bringing back this Superman, I was thrilled. And Dan Jurgens, one of the main creators surrounding Superman in the 90s and 00s, doesn't disappoint. I'm not surprised. Lee Weeks on art brings a more classic appearing Superman as well, a big brawny guy without a steroid bulk and definition so popular in comics these days.

But no introduction to this book could be complete without mentioning how big a part Lois is in this book. Here she is brave, smart, devoted ... a true partner to Superman. And she's pregnant!

Much like all the other Convergence books, we start in Gotham City. Clark and Lois just happened to be there attending a journalism convention when the dome dropped. Given the timeline we saw in Convergence Justice League, we are probably a year into captivity. And crime seems just as prevalent in Gotham even in the dome.

With a deadly drug trade sweeping the streets, a depowered Superman decides to go all Gangbuster, dressing up like a ninja and fighting crime. Even without powers, Superman feels the need to right wrongs, even if he is at risk.

But even better than that is the fact that Lois is 'Oracle', on line with him and talking to him throughout the encounter.

Of course, he isn't Batman. Taking on a gang armed to the teeth is dangerous.

As luck would have it, Telos drops the dome at the exact time that one of the crooks blasts Clark with a flame thrower. With his powers back, the ninja suit burns away revealing the Big Red S.

'He's fine.'

Yes! And he's back!

See what I mean about Week's Superman? He looks thick and strong but not musclebound.

With his powers back, Superman is able to fly home for the first time in months.

And there is Lois, quite pregnant, ready to great him.

For those of us waiting for Lois to return to a place of prominence in the Superman mythos, this was wonderful. Seeing her greet him as 'my Superman' and hugging him was great.

And while the dropping of the dome and Telos' monologue about cities battling cities is a pressing matter, even Superman knows that it can wait a moment.

Instead, he decides to just enjoy a quiet moment with Lois.

Fantastic. Just fantastic.

But this is tournament is a fight for ultimate survival. Of course some of the darker Earths might decide to be proactive about this whole thing.

And one of the darkest universes is the Flashpoint universe. That Earth's League decides to strike first.

Now I didn't like much of Flashpoint but the Scott Snyder/Gene Ha Project Superman was a highpoint. So I liked that this scrawny Clark is present, a dissenting view. And even though he was hidden away for years, he still saw 'plenty of bad'. That war torn world is an abattoir. And remember he fought a Super-Doom himself.

That said, I don't like this universe. So I can't believe I have to read about them in two of the Convergence mini-series I am buying.

Superman decides he needs to investigate this crazy planet with its other cities. While flying over the barren landscape between cities, Captain Thunder and the Flashpoint League ambush him.

But this is old school Superman and he isn't easily vanquished.

I love this panel. You can feel that punch delivered by Superman. There is a sort of Wayne Boring barrel-chest look to Superman as he rocks Thunder.

And despite being attacked, he doesn't want to fight these versions of his friends. He doesn't want to take part in this arena-style death match. And that is completely consistent with what I want in my Superman. He shouldn't be punching first. He should be trying to reason things without violence.

I love this Superman.

This is the Superman I want to read.

But there is one more interesting wrinkle in this story.

The Flashpoint Superman loved  and lost his Lois. That Lois died in the battle with Doomsday. Much like the Flashpoint Aquaman wants to be reunited with any version of Mera in Convergence Justice League, this Superman wants to be with any Lois. But unlike the creepy Aquaman, this Superman just wants to be with Lois and protect her.

Still, this is creepy ...

And the pre-Flashpoint Superman is too busy in battle to fly here to intercede.

I very much felt sympathy for Project:Superman so I hope he isn't portrayed to badly here. I  think the ethics of Superman exist in this guy. He is just hurting, emotionally fragile, and immature. He hasn't had a lifetime of interactions to help guide him. He might not realize that this could seem threatening.

I loved this issue ... every part of it. So far, this is the winner of Convergence in my mind!

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Wasn't this a treat? It was my favourite too, until I read Speed Force. It's still a close second. Given Dan Jurgens is writing this, I don't fear for Lois and the baby - this is the chance the suddenness of Flashpoint denied writers of his generation, the chance to say goodbye properly to the Lois and Clark loved by a generation.

And hopefully, we'll get to revisit them soon.

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Anonymous said...

Seriously I cannot wait to read this issue for myself! :D Your glowing review shows this is definitely my kind of Superman as well. One who is willing to use diplomacy and reason before force and violence, who's willing to put his life on the line with or without powers and acts warmly and friendly towards his friends and loved ones. How I've missed the Pre New 52 Superman, I can't believe people actually prefer the New 52 version -_-


Jay said...

Decent issue, but does read kind of slapdash, like most of the Convergence titles this week. Just doesn't read like the utmpost thought was put into the situations of each domed world, y'know? Outside of that though, glad to see more of a early-to-mid 90's Superman representation here, as opposed to the mopey dud of the '00s.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this story. It was so nice to see this version of the characters.

I agree with Jay in that the over all premise tying all these titles together wasn't all that compelling to me.

For what it's worth my favorite of the Convergence titles I've read is The Question.

However, I really really enjoyed seeing Clark and Lois together again. I've missed that.

Anonymous said...

Please Superman of the 00s was not a mopey dude until the New 52 came along. There's a disturbing amount of support for New 52 Superman on the CBR forums as it is and worse, they have the gall to say that New 52 Superman isn't much different from Jurgens' depiction of Superman.

Superman had plenty of good writers in the early to mid 00s; Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek are just some examples of a non mopey Superman in the 00s.

And I also agree that it's good to see Clark and Lois together again, I've missed that great romance.


Jay said...

Its said because its true. New 52 Superman isn't much different from Jurgens' Superman from the 90s. That's because New 52 Superman is more like the classic Superman (Silver/Bronze Age) than any other version, but Jurgens' early to mid-90's take, in attitude, was closer to classic than the rest of the post-Crisis era.

And why is the fact New 52 Superman gets support from some circles disturbing? There's no such thing as invalid versions of Superman to be a fan of.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic but I absolutely loved Kurt Busiek's run. For me at least he brought a bronze age sensibility with a modern twist. It's been one of my favorite runs post crisis. I just loved it. So much so that I can still remember when he announced he was off the title. I wasn't happy but the tears in my eyes? Dust.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments! This book felt like home and was the most nostalgic for me.

Maya, I also loved Busiek's run!