Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Convergence Superman:Man Of Steel #1

When Convergence was first announced, I thought it was a silly idea to bridge the temporal gap while DC Comics moved offices.

When the titles were first announced, I was thrilled. These two issue mini-series would be a chance for me to revisit some of my favorite characters in their prime.

After reading a couple of weeks of series, I think I am going to end up falling somewhere between silly and thrilled.

And Convergence:Steel is probably the poster boy of that sort of regression to the mean. This is John Henry Irons, inspired by Superman to become Steel, and training his niece and nephew Natasha and Jemahl. This book is written by Steel legend Louise Simonson. And it is drawn by another comic legend, June Brigman. It has everything going for it!

And yet, this story is sort of a middle-of-the-road, sort of pedestrian issue. Yes, I get Irons in the suit, fighting villains, and trying to protect his city. But I also felt like Simonson might have been trying to stuff as much Steel mythos as she could into the issue and that may have diluted things. So we see Natasha, Jemahl, Professor Hamilton, and Bibbo. But that's a lot for 20 pages while having to move the Convergence story as well.

It starts out great!

I mean this is a classic opening splash page with Steel flying into his lab, hammer in hand. Just fantastic.

And, most interesting for me, Steel has his 'powers' under the dome because he is tech based. Only biological powers are muted by Telos. So Steel can operate, defending the town.

And there are Steel's supporting cast: Natasha, Jemahl, and Professor Hamilton.

It was like the late 1990's all over again!

Unfortunately, other tech-powered individuals have their powers as well. That includes Team Luthor scrubs acting as rogues around the city.

Now there is a bit of comic luck to move the plot along. Two rival Team Luthor rogues who are battling each other just happen to crash into the IronWorks lab. Steel follows them out to try to stop them from wreaking too much havoc.

Of all the places to crash through! Maybe a bit too much comic book 'luck'?

I do like that we have seen in a number of books that the inhabitants have been experimenting on the dome in hopes of breaking through. In Steel, Hamilton has somehow extracted some of the techno-organic nanobots which power the dome.

Now I don't know what he is hoping to do, but he injects the nanobots into the pet cat. They bond to the kitty who becomes something of a cat version of the X-Man character Warlock.

Trust me, this is going to follow Chekov's gun rule. If you see techno-organic robots in act one, they'll be bonded to someone important in act three.

Behind Steel's back, Jemahl and and Natasha have made their own armor and fight crime as well. After all, Steel can't be everywhere.

But doesn't this seem like a stretch even for comics? John Henry wouldn't have noticed this? Either the creation of the suits in his factory or them sneaking away? The Metropolis news wouldn't cover these guys? 

Now I know Natasha has donned armor in the past. But has Jemahl?

They head to Bibbo's to break up a minor skirmish. And just at that moment, the dome drops.

It turns out that one of the barroom brawlers was a depowered Parasite! And he suddenly has his powers back!

Now I liked this turn a lot. If all of these superheroes could be captured under the dome, why not villains?

And then even more stuff gets added to the mix. It turns out that Telos has sent Gen13 to fight Steel for survival. And then Natasha and Parasite show up to make this a big old mess.

One of the things that bugs me is that DC has yet to really explain the 'rules' of this tournament. Is it all the heroes in a city (like here and Superboy)? Is it a 'champion' like in Batgirl? Do the readers vote? Because all of Gen13 fighting Steel seems like a mismatch. Heck, Fairchild alone might give him a good fight.

With the Parasite draining people and Gen13 out for blood, a true melee breaks out. And Natasha almost gets killed until John jumps in the way of a Gen13 double blast. The armor gets gets shattered and his spine gets pulped. While John survives, he is paralyzed ...

Oh wait ... we saw techno-organic nanobots merge with an organism in act one!!

So overall this was a fine if maybe overly stuffed issue. Between all the characters and all the plots, this felt a bit too busy. Maybe I wanted to get more John Henry and less of these others. And frankly, I have little use for Gen13.

Still, this wasn't a bad issue. I was entertained. It was good to see these characters again. Simonson captures everyone's voices nicely. Brigman's art is solid and classic. But I wonder if this story would be better served with three issues instead of two.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I enjoyed the feel of this book and lot, and just seeing Bibbo made me happy, but by gum, I do agree we could have done without the Gen 13 types