Convergence Superman: Man of Steel #2

This captures the heart of the original series, but not the look

The covers: The Main cover is penciled by Walter Simonson and Dave McCraig provides the colors which completes the image begun on issue #1. The Parasite is off to the left, which makes him whole when combined with the previous issue, and to his left are the heroes of Gen-13, ready to kick things up with Steel. I love these combo-covers, and having the heroes face each with the villain in the center is a terrific idea. I really like the attitude shining through on each character’s face and the colors are really strong. This looks great. The Variant cover designed by Chipp Kidd, featuring artwork by Jon Bogdanove with inks by Dennis Janke, is a super close-up of Steel yelling at someone. I bought the variant for the first issue of this series and I wanted to complete the image, so I bought this one as well. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+

The story: Things did not go well for John Henry Irons last issue and things begin at his bedside in “United We Stand” by Louise Simonson. With their uncle out of action, probably permanently, since Gen-13 shattered half his bones, niece Natasha and nephew Jemahl take it upon themselves to finish the job he began. The twosome activate their metallic suits and take off, leaving Dr. Hamilton with the unconscious hero. The two don’t get to far before hearing some noises that signify trouble. The loud noises wake John, who realizes that one of Dr. Hamilton’s experiments might provide the cure to his injuries. What happens to John isn’t really a surprise as the evolution of his abilities was telegraphed last month. I expected Nate and Jem to take up the reigns of the fight, and they do, to a point, as the Parasite is definitely a villain far beyond their range. Gen-13 has had much more experience working than this pair, so the results of their battle aren’t surprising either. What was good was John’s reentry on the scene and what he’s now capable of. I did like how the battle between John and the Wildstorm team concluded, even if one group of combatants leaves the scene far too quickly. Though much of this wasn’t surprising, it was fun to see John in action and his uprgrade. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals on this book by penciller June Brigman and inker John Richardon are really clunky. The line work is really thick, making the characters appear blobby, or unfocused. This is the case with John and the kids; they needed thinner lines in their rendering. When the children are metaled up, they look poor. Things don’t improve when Gen-13 returns, especially on Page 7. The colors don’t help either, as there’s too much pink and purple to really make out what’s going on. Look at the final panel on Page 8; it looks as though it went through a copier too many times, and came out blurry. The character at the bottom of Page 17 looks completely different: she’s drawn with thin lines and she looks amazing. Contrast this character with the same image of her two panels previously–it doesn’t even look like the same character. John’s new form is really messy, with Page 21 looking the worst. There’s no background, and there’s a tight close-up of his hand in one of three panels, and every part of this page is just a mess. This is a real disappointment, as I was a huge Power Pack fan when it first began, and this is not how I’m used to seeing Brigman’s art. Overall grade: C-

The colors: As stated in the previous paragraph, the colors by John Rauch aren’t helping the visuals. He employs a blur effect sometimes on the metal clad characters, and all it does is make the visual unfocused. Take a look on Page 3 at the characters’ feet. Yes, it should be a bit blurry as they’re employing a great deal of energy to fly, and that would create a fuzziness to the art, but it’s so fuzzy, and the yellows so dim, that it looks like a printing defect. The metal characters are just odd in the glare coming off their skin; it’s difficult to get a sense of where the light source is in each panel. Again, for some reason, the bottom of Page 17 looks fantastic in art and coloring. Why wasn’t this done for every page? Two panels previously the same character’s hair has a splat of orange on the top of her head as if a gigantic bird vented itself on her. I just wasn’t happy with the coloring. Overall grade: C-

The letters: Dave Sharpe creates narration and dialogue (the same font), opening title and credits, yells, sounds, and the closing word. All are done well, with the sounds being spot on. Overall grade: A

The final line: An okay read with lackluster visuals. This captures the heart of the original series, but not the look. Overall grade: C+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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