Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
So the premise of Convergence is that different cities from different DC continuities have been trapped under domes on an alien planet for a year and now the super-powered protectors of each will have to fight each other, as only one city can survive. Which is pretty silly, but it’s given us a chance to see some old favourites who have been in publishing limbo for years, so let’s go with it.
And in this comic we see a trapped 30th-century Metropolis and the original, classic, accept-no-substitutes Legion of Super-Heroes. From details in the story we can pin the era to somewhere after “Reunion” (vol. 3 #9) and before “The Greatest Hero of them All” (vol.3 #38), and I would guess probably before "Unto the New Generation (vol. 3 #14).
Ok, that’s enough background. What about the issue itself?
Let’s get the bad out of the way. I hate the art with a passion. Gus Storms (who is a new name to me) has fundamental problems. His faces never look like real faces and his characters all have bizarre body types. I thought at first it might be part of the plot, and we would find out that the Legion had all been impersonated by Durlans. Stupid Durlans, who had never studied Human anatomy. But no, I think Gus Storms just can’t draw very well. Oh, he also has serious problems with perspective. Look at the group shot on page 17 and try to figure out why Lightning Lass in the foreground is half the height of Brainy and Superboy in the background. (And while you’re looking at that page, try to figure out where Shady’s and Brainy’s faces are. Storms regularly skips random details like that. Maybe he was running out of time. Or it’s Durlans.)
The art is further dragged down by the coloring of John Rauch, who seems to have a key colour missing from his paintbox. Specifically, blue. A problem when your main charatcer is Superboy, who now wears a kind of pale grey. Lightning Lass is in turquoise, and Shadow Lass looks like a pale grey corpse rather than a healthy blue Talokian. Oh, and while I was trying to work out the timeline I was thrown by the inclusion of Ferro Lad, who should be dead – until I realised it was his statue in the Hall of Heroes, which Rauch decided to colour in flesh tones. Did he even bother to read the script? And then a few pages later he correctly colours him as a metal statue. So, we can add incompetent editing by Marie Javins to the list of things wrong with this comic.
So is there anything good about the issue?
Well, yes. It’s that Stuart Moore is a great writer, and his script is beautiful. Despite being hampered by what is clearly an editorially-mandated lame duck of a plot (“You get two issues: in the first put in plenty of exposition about the domes cities and in the second have a big fight with the Atomic Knights”) Stuart Moore rises above it to produce a script I really enjoyed reading. I would love to see him take on a proper series with these characters.
All the characters act like they ought to act, though the page limitation means Moore can only flesh out a few of them in depth. But he shows he knows the characters and cares about them (or at least is good enough to fake it) and put some serious thought into how they would react to the situation they find themselves in. Superboy is all publicly confident and inspirational and privately just a boy missing his Ma and Pa and his dog. Ayla (not yet “out”) is still finding out how tough she can be. Brainy is the right level of irritable without the obnoxious personality that became his default under more lazy writers. Even the characters who only get a couple of lines, like Dirk and Gim, ring true.
This is the Legion of the era in which I fell in love with the Legion, and these are clearly the guys that I fell in love with. And I missed them.