Of all the week one Convergence books, this is the one that I have been most excited to read, and so I saved it for last.  Will it live up to my own imaginary hype?  Your Major Spoilers review of Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #1 awaits!

ConvergenceNightwingOracle1CoverCONVERGENCE: NIGHTWING/ORACLE #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Dan Parson
Colorist: Wes Dzioba
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor:Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle: Dick Grayson, after a long career as Robin, graduated from his Boy Wonder role and became the protector of the city of Bludhaven, the man called Nightwing.  Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl career was cut short due to injury at the hands of the Joker, leaving her paralyzed and in a wheelchair, but she was still a hero.  As Oracle, she not only provided much-needed intel for other heroes, she founded the Birds Of Prey, and kicked asses as necessary.  This is a tale of Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City…


The issue opens on the plains of El Inferno, the western-style world of the Justice Riders, as Guy Gardner and the inventor called Beetle are beaten down by a pair of winged assailants, alternate versions of Hawkman and Hawkwoman of Thanagar.  While the city burns to the ground, the Thanagarians angrily demand that the waiting Brainiac drones tell them what to do.  Meanwhile, in Gotham, Nightwing goes into action to defeat Mister Freeze, only to find the once-terrifying villain a shell of his former self, while Oracle provides support and backup for his activities.  Gail Simone does something that none of the other one-shots I’ve read does, as she examines the emotions of characters who have been trapped under a dome for a year through Barbara Gordon.  The issue gets pretty metaphysical, as she turns down a proposal from Grayson, and only finds her smile again when the dome drops and the Thanagarians attack her city.  There is some fighty-fighty, some excellent character conflict, and a final-page cliffhanger that is a literal “Hell, YEAH!” moment for me as a longtime Birds Of Prey reader…


The thing I’ve realized about Convergence is that it’s not possible for an event with this scope to be one coherent story, instead providing a little something for everyone, and this issue is one for me.  I like the emotional connection of Dick and Barbara, I *LOVE* the classic BOP vibe, and the use of Hawkwoman here may be the most powerful appearance of that character since Hawkworld was cancelled.  The parts of the story that don’t work for me are all related to the bigger questions of the crossover, which can’t really be pinned on the creative team.  Jan Duursema’s art is really amazing this issue, with a revamped Nightwing looking cooler than ever, some utterly badass hawk-people and none of the wobbliness that I’ve encountered in other Convergence titles.  This is probably the best use of the characters and the premise as far as I’m concerned, refusing to ignore the emotional toll of imprisonment and pointing out the effects of a year under the dome (Barbara laments the lack of ingredients affecting restaurant menus, a very authentic detail) compared to a life of endless combat for the entertainment of alien monsters.  It’s a tour-de-force for Oracle and for Nightwing, and makes me forget how weird it is that so many heroes happened to be in Gotham City at the precise moment of its seizure…


In short, Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #1 is good stuff, delivering an emotional punch without slighting the action, and making the conflict both natural and personal, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  The most interesting part of this all is that now I want to read a Gail Simone-penned classic Hawkwoman series where she kicks the bajeezus out of any and all villains who cross her path…

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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