Convergence Superman #1
Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Lee Weeks
Good lord have I missed classic Superman. You know the guy, noble protector of the innocent? Earnest hero sworn to uphold justice? Just all around good guy, the kind of guy that is actually inspiring. For so long I’ve had to pretend I gave two craps about New 52 Superman. What’s that? Superman isn’t with Lois? He’s left the Daily Planet to be a blogger? He now has the power to explode? Yeah, stuff it all in a pillow and drop it in a river because with “Convergence Superman” I finally get my Clark Kent back. He’s good natured, noble, but most of all: He’s wearing the red underwear!
I usually start off by praising the story of the book or the characterization of the main cast and I will, they’re very well done in this book. But my priority right now is to really praise the art because this shit is pulling some double duty. Not only are the scenes beautifully drawn, the art reminiscent of classic 50s Superman art, but the action is composed with such a beautiful clarity that half of it should be reprinted as posters. Lee Weeks and Brad Anderson really need to be commended for a spectacular job on the art. Superman gets to be his classic self, fighting off hoodlums without batting an eye. Then, the book takes a turn as he is forced to fight the heroes of another universe. And then it morphs into every classic superhero smack down that old Supes has ever done in the pages of a comic book.
It starts with an homage brawl between him and Shazam (but he’s from the Flashpoint universe so he has the moronic name Captain Thunder—not making this up) where they absolutely wreck each other and all the surrounding area. The fight is absolutely incredible. Each hit reverberated through my bones, when Clark uppercut Shazam the impact threw me from my chair. And if that’s not enough, Cyborg and Green Lantern show up to lay the hurt on Superman. It’s another classic image, Superman on the one side trying to fight his way forward as lasers and explosions force him back. This book puts Superman back where he rightfully belongs, him standing in the way of certain annihilation.
Sure this story may be a bit flimsy. Somehow a malevolent, godlike creature has captured universes and is treating them like a March Madness bracket. There’s no good explanation for how, even the why is as see through as cellophane. But that really doesn’t matter, the point of this crossover is to showcase all that makes DC great… and some of it that isn’t so great, and throw it all in a gladiator ring. So the point of this book is to get the reader to route for Superman which it does astoundingly well. First, the set up. Each universe is a single city walled off with powers inhibited. In this universe, Clark was trapped with Lois and Jimmy in Gotham. So what does he do when he loses his powers? He picks up a thing or two from Batman, prowling the night and jumping between rooftops. This shows us just how intrinsic protecting people is to him. Even though he is now mortal, he still goes out to make sure those who can’t protect themselves are looked after.
The second thing this book does that’s really smart is its choice of villains because they aren’t really villains. In many Hero vs. Hero stories, I often find myself rolling my eyes. “These two would never fight each other. Even if he killed his brother and he took a deuce on the American flag!” But in this case, Superman’s adversaries are the heroes from the Flashpoint universe. These heroes come from a place where aggression is rampant and survival is hard to come by. Any threat or provocation they see elicits an immediate response. These guys aren’t fighting Superman for some trumped up tantrum, this is a case of: Better him than us.
To compare Invincible to Superman is to compare “Star Wars” to “The Hidden Fortress”. My point is that while I may think one is better, I wouldn’t have one without the other. Invincible follows all the troupes that Superman pioneered back in the day. Do you see the issue here? If I compare Superman fighting other heroes to Invincible fighting his own father, that’s a reference to Superman fighting his boyish counterpart, Superboy-Prime. Or perhaps a comparison of Superman fighting for Gotham to Invincible fighting Conquest for Earth? Which is itself suggestive of both Kryptonians and the bottled city of Kandor. All I can really say is that while “Invincible” employs all the tricks that Superman invented, “Convergence Superman” puts on an exhibition of the greatest hits.