Before the Crisis On Infinite Earths, there was Earth-2, where the heroes of the DC Universe began their careers in the late 1930s and into World War II. By the 1980s, the children of the Justice Society had grown to become heroes in their own right… Your Major Spoilers review of Convergence: Infinity Inc. #1 awaits!
Previously in Convergence: Infinity Inc. #1: On their world, Superman actually debuted in 1938, Batman a year later, and the Justice Society formed in the early days of the War. When the Crisis On Infinite Earths threatened their world, the JSA and their children, Infinity Inc., gathered in Metropolis to fight the good fight and protect whomever they could, only to find the entire city swept up into space by Brainiac. That was one year ago. This is a tale of (just barely) Pre-Crisis Earth-2.
SNATCHED AWAY EARLY IN THEIR CAREERS
The opening sequence of this issue is a performance of ‘The Tempest’, Shakespeare’s tale of a shipwreck, which even the characters in the book think is kind of a heavy-handed metaphor for Metropolis being hijacked to who-knows-where. The membership of Infinity Inc (The Star-Spangled Kid, Obsidian, Jade, Nuklon, Fury, Northwind, Silver Scarab and Brainwave, Jr) have had a rough year under the dome, with references to their first and second missions being their only ones, which has led SSK to once again feel as unappreciated as he did when he joined the JSA back in the day. Fury has a job with the local constabulary, Jade is acting, but mostly the Infinitors are drifiting through life without direction. As with so many of the Convergence books, there’s a lot of character in this first issue, but as someone who read the original issues, it’s not actually true to what was going on in the mid-80s, even if some of it (Brainwave’s alcoholism, Obsidian hiding his homosexuality from his sister and teammates) is interesting stuff. When the dome comes down, Infinity Inc heads out to confront an invading force, coming from the nearby city of Atlanta, GA, circa an apocalyptic 21st Century.
TAKING THE FIGHT TO HEX
After part of the issue is devoted to the fact that nobody remembers Infinity Inc., seeing them suit up and go into action feels pretty good…
…until Jonah Hex and his apocalyptic warriors immediately take them down with brute force. Jonah also provides the bulk of the action in the issue, as he’s more than willing to take down anyone if it means his freedom, and the children of the JSA just like like “fancy lawmen” to him. I’m intrigued by Ben Caldwell’s art in this issue, a very modern, angular sort of work, a little bit reminiscent of ‘Chew’, but there are some weaknesses in the way this issue is put together. One of Jonah’s lieutenants shoots the Infinitors out of the sky, but we don’t SEE it happen, just a shot of the Centurion firing bolts out of his hands, followed by Jonah explaining that he just shot down the ship. The art seems to work better in the quite character moments (a conversation between Obsdian and Jade is beautifully blocked and drawn), which makes me wonder how next issue, which will presumably have more battle fighty-fighty, will go…
THE BOTTOM LINE: JUST SORTA MEH
In short, while it’s good to see Jade, Fury and the boys again, neither the art nor the characterization is really reminiscent of the stories in the period they’ve been taken from, as if the in-universe worry that nobody knew who these guys are somehow drove the writing process. (The fact that writer Jerry Ordway was co-creator of the original series seems to put the lie to that assumption, though.) All told, Convergence: Infinity Inc. #1 is a strange beast, defying nostalgia while seemingly putting a new spin on characters who we probably won’t ever see again in this form after the crossover, and delivering an okay-but-puzzling reading experience, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. This is one that I’ll be back for next month, not because it was super memorable, but in order to see whether it turns into something I can fully love and/or hate…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]