Last time around, we spent some time with Batman, Black Lightning, Geo-Force, Halo, Katana and Metamorpho just before the dome dropped and returned their powers for the battle with warriors from the future… Your Major Spoilers review of Convergence: Batman And The Outsiders #2 awaits!
Previously in Convergence: Batman And The Outsiders: In the future world that’s coming, utter schlub Buddy Blank is chosen by living computer Brother Eye to serve as OMAC (One Man Army Corps), super-powered agent of the Global Peace Agency. Years ahead of his time (figuratively speaking, as the book came out in 1974, but dealt with issues of alienation, mechanization and loss of identity that still have great power today), OMAC was later revealed to be the grandfather of Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth, explaining his presence on Earth-AD when Brainiac arrived and stole New York City from that future time-line.
Why am I telling you all this in a review of Batman And The Outsiders? Thereupon hangs our tale…
AN O.M.A.C. I CAN ENJOY
The thing about Kirby’s original O.M.A.C. series with Buddy Blank was that it was a series with themes that resonated, while the post-52 incessant use of armies of OMACS (whose headpieces, by the way, look reeeeeee-diculous) as the new army of ninjas or thugs completely removes the “humans overwhelmed by technology” part of the equation. This issue returns that to us, as the original O.M.A.C., Buddy Blank, is being manipulated from afar by Godmother (one of his strange world’s villains, who was last seen selling hot young bodies to rich old people at a titanic cost), while The Outsiders regroup and deal with a character who gave Superman a run for his money. With a little teamwork, their unique powers, and some Batman-strategy (alongside the Outsiders is one of the times that I find the “Batman always has a plan” trope to be in any way palatable), they take out O.M.A.C. with a non-lethal attack, leaving him frozen in stone, and winning the combat for their city. Interestingly, there is an audible announcement of that fact by… Telos? Maybe? I’m not sure, to be honest, but as the issue ends, our Outsiders muse that the battle isn’t over, and that it probably isn’t going to end well for anyone involved.
I TRULY LOVE ME SOME WELL-WRITTEN BLACK LIGHTNING
As with last issue, Andreyko focuses this issue entirely on our heroes (on *both* sides of the conflict), getting inside the heads of Metamorpho, O.M.A.C. and to a lesser degree, Halo, while the battle itself proves short and hard-fought. The art is really impressive this time around, and I’ve actually saved the full-page splash of O.M.A.C. in battle for my gallery of “things I found that looked amazing”, with special attention paid to Metamorpho and the mutants of Earth-A.D. With so many characters to focus on, Katana and Geo-Force don’t see much focus, but a couple of key scenes with Black Lightning and Batman discussing their stratagem are gold for me as a reader, and the ending, while abrupt, is more of an ending than many of the Convergence #2’s have been given. Most importantly, nobody feels wildly out of character or re-written, as has been an issue here and there in the series, and Andreyko manages to balance the fact that heroes are fighting heroes well, giving O.M.A.C. a little room to struggle against being used as a living weapon by one of his old enemies.
THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL WORTH CHECKING OUT
The original Barr/Aparo (and later, Barr and a very young Alan Davis) Outsiders books are really good, really underrated comic books, and though they do use a lot of the patented Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans formula, they earn their success with the characters and the art, so of course I was excited to see a return to these folks. Though it wasn’t quite the celebration that I had hoped it would be, Convergence: Batman And The Outsiders #2 wraps the story up well, making all seven of the heroes within look good (even if briefly), with a few complex bits of story-telling, and an ending that at least gives us closure on the Outsiders adventures in a space-dome, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. It’s an issue that worked well enough to get past the inherent traps of these two-issue minis: limited space to work within…