With the first month of Convergence nearly done, can Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Metropolis heroes save the day, or will they have to fight it out with another city to see who survives? The answer just might surprise you in Convergence: Detective Comics #1.
Previously in Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Metropolis: If you are’t super familiar with the world of DC Comics before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, you’re gonna be really confused to see the Earth-Two heroes running around. Yadda, yadda, yadda, world will fight, worlds will die… CONVERGENCE!
HUNTRESS IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL HERE
Long ago there was Earth-Two, a place where Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle got married and, got it on. The couple’s happily ever after brought forth Helena Wayne. Helena would eventually became the heroine, Huntress, following the death of her father (hint: Batman) and her mother (hint: Catwoman). Meanwhile, young Dick Grayson grew up and continued to be a hero, modeling his costume on a combination of Robin and Batman. Then the Crisis happened, and all was lost.
Or was it…?
Once upon a time, a doomed planet rocketed its last son to a small planet called Earth. There, the boy would be raised to become the Soviet Union’s greatest hero – SUPERMAN! If you aren’t familiar with Red Son, you really need to listen to the Major Spoilers podcast where we discuss the Elseworld’s title in much detail. Needless to say, the Communist Knows All mentality really takes a toll on the depowered Superman who has to lie his way through the situation to keep Moscow from erupting in violence. Len Wein takes a character we should be at odds with, and turns him into a very sympathetic person. Likewise, Huntress and Robin have had a year of minor attacks in Metropolis, but for the most part, the duo have been living in Wayne Tower, with the only major squabble is when Dick will get rid of his Bat-Robin costume and simply become Batman.
What Mr. Wein does in this issue is really interesting from the writing perspective; he brings back all the cheesy-cornball dialogue and makes this feel like a comic book one might read in 1985. On the one hand, some readers might roll their eyes at how characters interact with one another, but on the other, this book feels like it was lifted from a period just before Crisis on Infinite Earths and kicked into high gear. It’s also interesting that Earth-30 (Red Son) was selected to be the other city in this conflict as in 1985, the Cold War was at an all time high when the only good commie was a dead commie. Remember, Reagan wouldn’t make his famous “tear down this wall” speech for another two years, so when Superman and Robin decide to make the first step towards glasnost, it becomes a really emotional and memorable moment.
The ending of the issue is a bit confusing, as it seems to fly in the face of who Helena is, but Mr. Wein would know more about the character than I would at this point. On the most recent Dueling Review podcast, I revealed that I really didn’t get into comics until 1987, the year AFTER Crisis on Infinite Earths ended, so my interest in these Pre-Crisis worlds meant little to me beyond the World’s Finest issue I read on a family vacation in 1981. But I was alive during the Cold War, I saw Reagan in Germany, and I saw the Berlin Wall come down a few years later, so the themes and message that run through this issue are elements that I can connect with on a very deep level. In a sense, the Nostalgia Factor isn’t about the love for these characters, but rather the memories of my youth this issue brought back to the surface.
NAILING THE ART
While the Pre-Crisis art by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkeiwicz doesn’t look like the “popular” comics from the early 80s, the art team did a great job on capturing the style of the period. The clothing, cars and buildings from the time period in the comics is represented quite well. When I landed on the title page, I was instantly transported to 1987 and DC Comics The Question series, which means Denys and Bill have done their jobs expertly (the duo were the art team on the series). Even though there are only a few action sequences in the book, every panel is perfectly composed. The layouts are wonderful. The character design feels right. In short, the art is just as good as the story, which means the two together create a very powerful book.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT
There have only been a few books that have been released in this Convergence event that have actually surprised me, and that I have actually liked. Convergence: Detective Comics walks in the rarified air of what happens when smart writing, solid art, and an understanding of the time period work together to tell a story. If I have to read a series where heroes from the Multiverse have to fight one another, THIS is the book I want to read.
[signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]