In Review: Convergence Batgirl #2

This makes me want to see more of these characters in other books.

The covers: This Main cover perfectly sets up readers’ expectations and doesn’t disappoint. Grodd is holding an unconscious Cassandra and howls at Stephanie’s approach. The confrontation is happening in a rocky desert as proven by their background. The art is by Rick Leonardi and Dan Green and it’s great. I’ll take giant apes in comics any day, and when combined with my favorite heroes, name your price, publishers, and I’ll be there. Pere Perez and Guy Major’s Batgirl is wide eyed as the blue morass of mist leaves her. The great Convergence is taking its leave. The design of this cover is by Chip Kidd and I really like it. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant A

The story: General Grodd smacks Cassandra Cain backwards as Stephanie Brown, Catman, and Red Robin watch. The second part of “The Love Song of Stephanie Brown” by Alisa Kwitney goes back in time a day to see how the three heroes are adapting to their desert environment that looks like they’re in a John Ford film. Stephanie wonders where her opponent is that Telos has ordered she fight, but he/she/it is nowhere to be found. That’s when Cassandra tells her to be quiet, “You never know who could be watching…and listening.” On a mesa across from them, Catman is monitoring their every move. Batgirl and Red Robin have a discussion on how to approach the battle, and the scene returns to the present with the ape following Cass over the side of the cliff, with Stephanie in hot pursuit. The story goes back and forth in time showing what led the characters to make their choices in the present, and it hurt my enjoyment of the story. I went back and reread the story in the order in which it chronologically occurred and I liked it better. I enjoyed having two villains in the piece, with there being a nice twist revealed on Page 19. The fighting is not the strong piece of the story, but the interactions are. I really enjoyed just having Tim and Stephanie have a conversation. These scenes quickly established both characters’ long history while making them grow. As with Convergence Batman and Robin #2, the final three pages were the best in the issue. Kwitney has got a strong handle on these characters and could go far with them, but the intercutting between past and present needs some polishing. Overall grade: B+ 

The art: I’ve been a rampant fan of Rick Leonardi’s work since I first discovered him on the original Cloak and Dagger miniseries at Marvel. His penciling a book is reason enough for me to reach for my wallet, so I’m reviewing this book from an incredibly biased point of view. Inking him on this issue is Mark Pennington. He’s a good match for Leonardi’s work, maintaining the traditional thin line work I expect and keeping the characters fluid when they’re in action. The opening page is a great splash showing Grodd finish with a left hook, as Cassandra flips backwards. The heroes are trying to make their way up the side of a rocky cliff in a sensational desert setting. It’s beautiful. Page 6 has some terrific work with Grodd confronting Catman, and 14 and 15 continue the super simian work on the ape. When there’s no fighting, the characters are standing about, talking. Not exactly riveting sequences for an illustrator, but Leonardi and Pennington make them great; emotion pours out of Stephanie’s eyes in every panel, be it fear, concern, or anger, and the pupil-less eyes of Cassandra and Red Robin distance themselves from the star of this issue, while still maintaining emotion range. When characters embrace in this book, it’s definitely felt by the reader. The final three pages are as warm as any novel or film. Perfect is all that can be said about these visuals. Overall grade: A+

The colors: I was not expecting much color in this book set in the American desert, surrounded by rocky mesas. Brown, yellow, and tan was all I could foresee for this book’s palette. Steve Buccellato makes this book a feast for the eyes with all his terrific contributions. The first page splash has tremendous blending of colors to create a beautiful desert, which contrasts well with the dark colors on the heroes and the villain. On the first page there’s also some creative coloring in the titles, which hints at where this story may be ultimately going. The sky is also gorgeous with pale blues, greens, and grays. Stephanie’s blue eyes light up every panel she’s in, making her the focus of the reader’s attention. The flashback sequence with Grodd and Catman is amazing in violet–a color I’d not seen used like this before, but a natural fit for the story and visuals. Buccellato is the perfect choice for this book’s art. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: A two-fer on letters, with Tom Napolitano and Sal Cipriano jointly handling this chore. They provide narration, scene settings, opening story title and credits, dialogue, sounds, yells, and closing words. It’s a solid job by both, with their styles perfectly matching, leaving me unable to know who did what. I do know that I would compliment them equally for doing a fine job. Overall grade: A

The final line: This makes me want to see more of these characters in other books. I’d be more than willing to follow this creative team for further adventures. Overall grade: A-

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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