After being powerless and stuck in Gotham City for a year, Barry Allen, aka The Flash, must fight the Superman of Earth-9 in order to save his universe. Now that his speed is back, is he even a match for a Superman? Will they fight? Does the book have an ending? Read the review to find out!
Previously in Convergence: The Flash: Barry Allen has been slow for a year. Translation: powerless, stuck in Gotham City, moving at a normal place just like everyone else. Then the dome went down and he found out he must fight another hero from a different universe. Turns out that hero is a Superman!
BARRY ALLEN, THE JERK SAVIOR
I started off really liking this issue and thought Dan Abnett was taking it in a different and interesting direction. The beginning and ending are strong but the middle turns into a cliché, becoming little more than a fight between superheroes. Convergence has moments I’ve enjoyed and they’re all when the story takes a swerve from the expected. I’m not interested in seeing heroes fight and would rather get a unique, interesting story. Abnett begins to give us that, as Barry talks with the Superman of Earth-9 about how absurd and nonsensical the situation is. A brilliant point is made: Why is Telos, a being with sophisticated intelligence and technology, making heroes do something as primitive as gladiatorial combat? There are some good Star Trek jokes made and Superman makes some strong points that the battle between the two would be no contest. He would win. It’s all good stuff and I was looking forward to seeing how the two work things out. Unfortunately, Barry decides to be a jerk.
In what seems a bit of mischaracterization, Barry believes Superman to be a liar intent of throwing him off his game, so he punches Superman in the face. For the next several pages it’s a mere brawl between the two and while it’s fun to see, it’s also a little boring. I was let down because Abnett was doing so well that this felt like “filler fighting” or an excuse to have action. The real kicker is that Superman eventually trumps Barry using his telepathy, making Barry acknowledge that Superman’s statements weren’t boasts. Guess he should have listened the first time, huh? Superman then sees inside Barry’s mind and realizes that not only is he displaced from his reality but all multiversal timelines. He shows Barry visions from the Crisis and while Barry doesn’t know what they all mean, Superman tells them he is important in saving all of hypertime. It’s a nice moment and another showing what made Barry Allen a great hero, even though its become something DC feels the need to force feed readers over and over. Superman yields, destroying his city, saving Barry’s and ultimately, all universes. At the end, Barry knows that there is something significant he must do and that he won’t run from it. My only problem with this ending is that by showing Barry his death, it messes with Crisis on Infinite Earths. Wouldn’t Barry notice when his actions would kill him? Couldn’t this possibly change the ending to Crisis or are we to believe that Barry would sacrifice himself regardless. While I think that’s true, it would still make the events surrounding Barry’s death in Crisis play out differently. In the end, it’s an average issue with Abnett writing some good moments and dialogue but stumbling in the middle.
THE LOOK OF SPEED
Drawing a Flash comic is difficult because translating movement and high speeds in static images is challenging but essential to the character. Many artist can’t do it and the result can look like someone posed in the running position. Federico Dallocchio doesn’t have that problem and does a fantastic job at drawing the Flash speeding around. The fight has great effects, with lighting swirling around Barry as well as transparent figures of him at different moments of time. There are some awesome camera angles used and the two knocking each other back and forth between buildings makes the fight more interesting. Even calm moments look good and though there are a few figures that look skewed, nothing is blatantly out of the norm. Veronica Gandini’s coloring really helps as he adds motion blur to the images and the purple energy swirling around Earth-9 Superman is bright and adds depth. It’s really good work and helps the story during its weak moments.
BOTTOM LINE: AVERAGE ISSUE WITH A FEW NEAT MOMENTS
Convergence: The Flash #2 has some cool moments, even some that border on wonderful, but suffers from the need to have fighting just for the sake of action. Dan Abnett has the Flash and Superman interact well together but briefly turns Barry into a jerk just so the two can duke it out. I liked the ending and seeing how much Barry Allen matters to the DCU is cool even if it’s a point that’s been made too many times. The art is really well done and makes a somewhat boring fight enjoyable and pretty. It’s a Convergence title worth reading, just save the $3.99 and borrow it or wait to find it cheap.