‘Convergence’ Week Two: Azbats, Gen 13, Kingdom Come’, Other Things Everyone Definitely Loves
Over the past couple of weeks, DC Comics' Convergence event has resulted in some of the most exciting and most bizarre announcements since the company threw out their previous shared universe canon in favor of the "New 52" reboot -- especially since the core idea of next April's big crossover is that they're bringing back a bunch of the versions of characters that they got rid of for a big battle against the new batch. Last week was particularly enticing for long-time fans, teasing us with Greg Rucka's return to writing Renee Montoya in The Question and Gail Simone going back to the fan-favorite pairing of Nightwing/Oracle.
This week, they've attempted to top that with a whole new roster of books, and this time they're set in a pre-Flashpoint Metropolis. The second week's launches will see the return of characters from 1996's Kingdom Come and the landmark Justice League International, plus Louise Simonson writing Steel. Of course, we're also getting Azrael and the return of Larry Hama to writing Batman, so someone out there needs to stop wishing on the Monkey's Paw already.
A couple of observations about this week's announcements. As revelaed by Blastr and HitFix, these are ostensibly set in a "Pre-Zero Hour" Metropolis, but that doesn't quite match up with the characters on display, which I imagine is more down to the time-shaking premise of Convergence than anything else.
What's really worth noting, however, is where the creators from that era have ended up, and how it's not at all what you might expect if you're familiar with those titles. Last week, we mentioned that while the crossover marks a very welcome return for CA favorite artist Tom Grummett, he's not drawing Superboy, the character that he's arguably most identified with thanks to his run on the mid-90s Superboy title alongside Karl Kesel. This week, we get Superboy, but drawn by Karl Moline instead.
Along the same lines, the Catwoman issue features the purple Catwoman costume of the '90s, but drawn by Trekker creator Ron Randall rather than the artist who, for better or worse, defined Catwoman's look for the entire decade with a run of 77 issues (plus annuals and specials), Jim Balent. Same goes for Keith Giffen, who isn't writing the '80s JLI series with the characters that he, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire defined, with writing duties on that title given to Ron Marz, who famously co-created and wrote Green Lantern Kyle Raynor in the '90s, which is in turn being written in this crossover by Tony Bedard.
That's not a knock on any of the creators involved, of course -- I'm actually a pretty big fan of everyone mentioned above. Scheduling logistics is very possibly the reason why some old pairings were't repeated (of course, Balent is likely busy writing and drawing his long-running creator-owned title, Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose), but it's nevertheless interesting to see some creators are matched up with the books they were writing back in the day (like Louise Simonson on Steel), and others are being given a shot at new characters.
BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT
(Writer: Larry Hama; Artist: Philip Tan and Jason Paz, with color by Elmer Santos)
A year ago, Batman got trapped in Metropolis when hunting down Azrael. Now he must team with the man that replaced him, and see how differently they operate as Batmans.
SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL
(Writer: Louise Simonson; Artist: June Brigman and Roy Richardson, with color by John Rauch)
Metropolis was taken when Superman was missing, so it’s up to Steel to guard the city from the heroes of GEN13 in his absence.
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL
(Writer: Ron Marz; Artist: Mike Manley, with color by Sotocolor)
The levity of the JLI team collides with the severity of the world of Kingdom Come.
(Writer: Justin Gray; Artist: Ron Randall, with color by Gabe Eltaeb)
A year under the dome can change anyone, even Catwoman. She's set aside her life of crime to become the protector of Suicide Slum, but when the dome falls she will face her greatest challenge—Kingdom Come Batman.
(Writer: Keith Giffen; Artist: Ramon Bachs, with color by Hi-Fi)
What do Supergirl, Lady Quark, and Ambush Bug have in common? Well... nothing really. But that didn't stop us from sticking them in a story together. You are SO welcome.
(Writer: Fabian Nicieza; Artist: Karl Moline and Jose Marzan Jr, with color by Hi-Fi)
Has Kon-El earned the right to be the man of steel? Kon will have to prove his mettle in battle against the Superman of Kingdom Come! But what if the only way to save Metropolis is to lose the fight?
(Writer: Tony Bedard; Artist: Cliff Richards, with color by John Rauch)
Trapped in the domed city, Aquaman struggles with the loss of his hand as he confronts a deadly adversary—Deathblow.
(Writer: Frank Tieri; Artist: Tom Mandrake, with color by Sian Mandrake)
When Kingdom Come's floating fortress of New Oa threatens Metropolis, it’s up to Amanda Waller to put together a team of the city’s deadliest villains to stop it.
(Writer: Tony Bedard; Artist: Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold, with color by Paul Mounts)
Rookie Green Lantern Kyle Rayner gears up to battle invaders, but is he ready to fight Hal Jordan, also known as Parallax?
(Writer: Christy Marx; Artist: Rags Morales and Claude St-Aubin, with color by Nei Ruffino)
Oliver Queen meets Connor Hawke for the first time, but is he ready to hand over the Green Arrow mantle to his son?
We'll have more on Convergence as it develops.