Anticipation and preconceived notions are double edged swords. For comics (and really any medium), they can fan the flames of ardor, making passionate fans that much more eager to read a book. But when expectations are high, they are often not met. And fans who have been chomping at the bit might feel crestfallen or underwhelmed.
I had high expectations for Convergence Superman:The Man of Steel. I have fond memories of the Reign of Superman era, a time when Superman mattered and creativity was high. There was a 'bring the band back together' feeling of writer Louise Simonson and the Steel character. And we had covers from Walt Simonson and internal art by legend June Brigman. I was ready for something special and spectacular. Even with Gen13 around, a group I don't care too much for, I was ready.
Unfortunately, this book was sort of pedestrian, a simple slugfest with a couple of nice moments. And so, I will share the nice moments and a couple of key plot points.
Last issue ended with Steel being paralyzed from a battle which included the repowered Parasite and the Gen13 who were heeding Telos' command to fight. Steel's niece and nephew, Natasha and Jem, decided to join the fight, donning armor they had put together on their own.
John Henry had significant guilt for trapping his family with him in this city. And that guilt has plagued him. He has tried his best to keep them and the whole city safe.
Like many times in comics, from tragedy heroes can be born. This spurs the brother and sister to once again put on the armor fight Gen13 and the Parasite. They have to take on the mantle of protector.
And, no big surprise, John Henry wakes and demands that the experimental nanobots get injected into his body. We saw the family cat become a Warlock style feline last issue.
There isn't time for anything else. These are desperate times. Dr. Hamilton does what he is told and pumps Irons with the nanites.
We all knew this was going to happen right?
We get several pages of Gen13 skirmishing with the Parasite. Finally (and maybe implausibly),they combine their powers to defeat him.
One thing I liked was the acknowledgment that a year off from using their powers has made them rusty. I took some time to feel the beats again, to learn to fight like a team.
But there is no time to rest. The Steel twins decide to attack while the Gen13 team is winded from the Parasite fight. In reality, Gen13 has serious powers and the twins a sort of bargain basement Iron Men.
In fact Gen13 is about to deal some possibly lethal damage to the two heroes when Steel, now sort of organic metal man, arrives.
Just like the Gen13 needed time to get into team mode, it takes some time for their leader, the genius Kaitlyn Fairchild, to start thinking like a leader. She wonders if they are doing the right thing by simply following Telos' orders as opposed to thinking things through.
I love Brigman's work on faces and expressions. That lower panel is gorgeous.
After a couple of pages of a melee best described as a stalemate, Steel decides it is time to step up as a leader and hero.
He asks everyone to stop fighting. Maybe his nanotech control, based on the dome technology, gives him an advantage against Telos. Maybe everyone can team up and win instead of fighting to the death.
As the elder hero, the role model, it was a nice moment for Steel. He was, after all, the 'heart of Superman' when he first arrived. He should be the one trying to calm things down.
Now one of my problems overall with Convergence has been the lack of stability and continuity even among the mini-series. What are the rules of this tournament? How does one win? Is Telos even watching? In some mini's, one champion has been chosen to fight another outside city limits. In others, it is a free-for-all.
Here, despite no battle happening, the Gen13 crew is whisked away by ... something. And Steel just stands there wondering what it all means.
I am wondering what it all means.
This wasn't a particularly great look back at Steel. It wasn't a particularly good story. It doesn't seem to impact Convergence at all. It simply is.
And when you are an average comic that I had super-high expectations for, you feel below average.
Overall grade: C-