In Review: Convergence Superman: Man of Steel #1

A disappointing visual experiment. I don't know if I'll purchase the conclusion.

The covers: Walter Simonson provides the art and Dave McCraig the coloring on the Main cover. It features Steel side by side with niece and nephew Natasha and Jemahl, who also have armor like their uncle. They look to be rushing headlong into danger, and that’s shown behind them with a giant portrait of the Parasite. I could look forever at the illustrations of Simonson, and this one is terrific. The colors by McCraig are strong, using pink and orange for the backgrounds, making the grey and silver armor on the heroes powerful. A slick cover. The Variant covers on all Convergence comics feature pictures of the title characters having half of their faces consumed by a pink wash of color, suggesting that they’ve failed their test in this series. The design of this cover was by Chip Kidd and the original art was by Jon Bogdanove and inked by Dennis Janke. As much as I love Simonson, I had to go for the Variant cover because it’s such a simple idea that looks cool. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+

The story: This story seems like it was taken out of the early Nineties. Louise Simonson’s “Divided We Fall” uses narration to explain that after Superman left Metropolis a huge dome covered the city and all super powered individuals, good and bad, lost their abilities. Luckily, John Henry Irons, a.k.a. Steel has abilities due to his mechanical ingenuity, so he still patrols the city, helping those who need it. He’s just arrived back at his lab where Natasha and Jemahl are waiting for him. Professor Hamilton is also present, having inserted a cat with techno-organic nanoparticles, hoping that doing so will allow a life form to communicate with the unknown being that created the dome, as it’s constructed from the same nanoparticles. As they ponder their futures a wall breaks as three armored individuals come through, blasting at one another. The “gangbangers” are ex-Lexcorp renegades fighting over turf. Steel follows them outside to stop them from causing any more damage. The teens and Hamilton watch the battle, but they should be paying much more attention to the test cat. The teens eventually reveal that they too have armor (and that’s not a spoiler because they’re shown on the cover wearing this garb) and help their uncle. That’s when Telos’s transmission goes out to all domed structures and Steel’s combatants arrive: Gen13. The title character doesn’t want to fight the teens, but they have no hesitations. If only they had seen the villain on the cover of this book. This read just like a Man of Steel comic book and Louise Simonson was entirely faithful in capturing the tone and adventure from that time. I only wish there had been more Steel and less of the niece and nephew and Gen13. Overall grade: B

The art: Ms. Simonson’s artist from Marvel’s classic Power Pack, June Brigman is the penciller of this book, with Roy Richardson as inker. I loved Power Pack, but I’m not keen on this book’s visuals. There are some very blocky moments in this book that took me out of the reading experience. For example, the test cat looks really haggard on the first three pages, with spiky fur, rather than a soft pelt. It made me think this was a rescue cat that was now being subjected to Hamilton’s experiment. The intruding renegades on Pages 2 and 3 are good example of conflicting styles: the one on Page 2 has thick lines and a rather stagnant looking explosive blast hitting it, while the one on 3 has much thinker line work. The armored baddie in the back is not a fully completed character–look at the Gatling gun on the shoulder and its spray of bullets. The predominate character on Page 5 is a really loose construction. The Parasite looks as though he’s been feeding off the Brotherhood of Evil Mutant’s Blob. He’s just too big. More silly than scary. The line work is just too heavy for me to enjoy this. Overall grade: C

The colors: Matching the awkward artwork are the odd colors by John Rauch. Colors look intentionally distorted to provide a 3-D effect, such as the aforementioned combatants on Pages 2 and 3. I thought that there had been a printing error with my comic because the character in the foreground has such fuzzy coloring. Upon seeing the heroes scramble at the bottom of Page 3, I realized that this was an intentional effect. This blurring effect is done throughout to create a false sense of depth, and all it did was make my eyes hurt, as old as they are, trying to focus on the images. This was not a good choice. Overall grade: D+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), sounds, and the teaser for next issue are by Dave Sharpe. I liked the sound effects the most, and there are several of them in this issue. Overall grade: A

The final line: A disappointing visual experiment. I don’t know if I’ll purchase the conclusion. 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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