Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: Convergence Action Comics #2

Convergence Action Comics #2 came out last week and continued an interesting mix of Classic Earth-2 characters and the Red Son world. I miss the earnest Kal-L and the feisty Power Girl and their straight and narrow heroism. And we see that here, making this one of the better Convergence mini-series in my mind.

Writer Justin Gray has a great handle on this Power Girl, no big surprise as he riffed on her with Jimmy Palmiotti in her recent solo title. And for me, Karen is the high point of this series. She is strong, powerful, opinionated, and determined. She isn't going to sit by and watch as events play out around her. She is going to handle them head on. This makes cousin Kal the best sort of co-star. He is the veteran, thinking ahead and deciding the next steps, but acting when the time is right. It is fun to see them play off each other like they do, a throw back to the 'Super Squad' days of All-Star Comics.

And the art here is fantastic as well. We start out with the fantastic Amanda Conner covers, showcasing Power Girl in her scoop neck costume. Claude St. Aubin does wonderful work on the interiors, inked by Sean Parsons.

One thing I do know, after reading this book and Infinity Inc and hearing great things about Convergence Justice Society, I miss that Earth 2.

After a year of being without powers and being together with Andrew Vinson, Karen heeds the call of duty sent out by Telos. She is going to face the champion from the nearby city to try and save her own.

I thought this was a nice scene where she professes her love and kisses him goodbye for what might be the last time.

We don't get a similar scene between Clark and Lois. In fact, Lois' edginess from last issue isn't touched upon here. The focus is really on Karen.

But that love for Andrew is tempered by her anger at the situation.

I love this fierce sort of internal monologue, where she states she wants payback for this year under the dome.

Power Girl isn't one to suffer fools lightly. She isn't going to be happy to have her fate determined by someone else. This read true for me. Edgy but to the right degree.

The bulk of the issue is a prolonged fight between Power Girl and the Red Son Diana. The skirmish is pretty even with each having the upper hand at times.

But the early part is the best when Power Girl demolishes the invisible jet.

And that verbal jab - 'Admit it. You love me, now don't you?' - is just the right amount of snark. And I think she is saying that more to the readers than to Diana.

Yeah, I'll admit it. I like this Power Girl. Always have.

I have never read the Red Son graphic novel and so last month admitted a little ignorance on how true the characterization was. I found it interesting that in the world of Communist Superman and Wonder Woman, that Lex Luthor would be the 'good guy' and that he would be romantically involved with Lois.

In this issue, that is turned on its head a bit as Lex does a heel turn, deciding that he will use GI Robot troops to eliminate everyone loyal to Stalin and decide the city's fate himself. It is will be a messy and bloody coup, no doubt. And while Lex says he is doing to make sure Lois is safe, it feels more like classic Lex narcissism.

So a nice little character turn, even within the confines of a 2 issue mini.

Meanwhile, Power Girl and Wonder Woman continue to trade blows until Superman shows up to try to steady everyone's nerves.

He spouts the usual platitudes. The Diana he knows is good and just.

Aubin's expressions are great here. Kal looks earnest and maybe a bit disappointed. And Diana looks irked knowing he hasn't lived her life.

Just when things seem to have calmed, Power Girl dusts off the rubble she is buried under and tries to start the fight again. Superman is there to separate the combatants, realizing that this fight isn't helping anyone.

I do like the panel construction here. By making the second panel wider than the upper, you get a sense of Superman's strength as he pulls Karen and Diana apart. It gives the illusion that he widened the panel, which infers great power. He has strength to move mighty panel borders!

While the Lex character turn seemed natural, Diana's sudden reversal of ideology felt a bit rushed.

Superman questions whether having power means you have to use it. He also wonders why the heroes are blindly obeying the voice of Telos.

And just like that, Diana falls in line.

I suppose if this was a 6 issue story we would see Diana's resolve slowly erode instead of instantaneously melting away.

But she does have a change of heart. Heading back to Moscow, she stops Lex's plot of mass genocide. Instead, these two cities will work together to try to figure out who is behind all of this.

I am always happy when a Luthor gets their comeuppance.

But Diana also decides it is time she takes over completely. She strips Stalin of his power too.

Moscow is free!

Amazing what the inspiration of a good Superman can accomplish.

With the planet rumbling and shifting into the main universe, the next goal is clear. Kal and Karen have to face the threat behind this world, at this point it being Deimos. They say goodbye to their partners and head into battle as super-cousins. I like as they streak to battle, Clark tells Karen how much he loves her. I love it when the super-family is a super family!

Convergence was an odd mini-series, convoluted and discombobulated. The associated mini-series were a mixed bag. Some I thought were excellent reimaginings of some beloved characters from my past. Others fell short. This issue was mostly a brawl between heroes but it included some plot progression, some character turns, and some spot on characterization for this era Power Girl. Add to that the clean art of St. Aubin and Parsons, this mini-series was an entertaining story, one of the better Convergence crossovers I read.

Overall grade: A


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

RED SON was the last decent comic Mark Millar wrote.

Anj, if you do decide to buy it on Amazon, I'd suggest also buying JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES. This Earth is still in Grant Morrison's guidebook, and it is a very surprising take on when/where Superman arrives on Earth, but also another character that, in a way, makes perfect sense. Two Elseworlds are collected, it is one of my favorites in my collection.

Saranga said...

You've not read Red Son? You must! I really love it. I felt like the characterisation in this mini was true to form.

Craig said...

I was happily surprised with this book. It made me happy to read about Kara as more than just a bunch of boob jokes, and it gave me a thrill to see another Superman and "Supergirl" be so family oriented and so inspiring.

Millar is someone I avoid at all costs; he is homophobic and misogynistic, and seems to be just able to write "gritty" versions of iconic super heroes. However, Red Son, I read years ago, and I remember I did enjoy it at the time, now I don't know. In any case, I thought that Diana responded as she did not only because she realized the truth of everything, but also that our original Superman's presence and character added to what he said. You know, how apparently awe inspiring and epic New52 Earth-2 Dick Grayson is.