First things first, as with so many other “Convergence” cities, dropping the Detroit version of the Justice League in Gotham City makes no sense. However, writer Fabian Nicieza uses the terrain to his advantage, inserting both Gotham City Police Department Commissioner Jim Gordon and GCTV7 reporter Vicki Vale into a tale that shouldn’t concern them. It adds a thin layer of depth to the story and gives artist ChrisCross the opportunity to draw the DC Universe’s most recognizable law enforcement officer, but the battle at the heart of “Convergence: Justice League of America” #2 could have been just as well executed on the streets of Detroit.
Nicieza does his job well and uses the deathmatch plot of “Convergence” to elevate the Justice League of America, despite pitting them against some of the more iconic heroes of the Tangent Universe. Nicieza seizes comic book convenience and bends it to maximize intensity, taking the three most recognizable and powerful members (Zatanna, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter) of this era’s League out of the main battle, further spotlighting the Elongated Man, Steel, Gypsy, Vixen and Vibe. The writer masterfully avoids sending Vibe into the stereotypical persona that angered fans, gives Gypsy plenty to do and aptly describes Vixen’s abilities, but Steel is really the one hero who doesn’t get as much attention. Nicieza uses the Len Wein theory of writing team adventures and gives every hero a solo moment and a line of dialogue at the very least.
Nicieza uses Sue Dibny to narrate “Convergence: Justice League of America” #2. This reminds me just how much brighter the DC Universe was with Dibnys in it, especially as Sue and Ralph are able to emote without being overly dramatic or forced. It’s a nice choice, underscoring the humanity of the less seasoned Justice Leaguers in the throws of battle.
ChrisCross is given over a dozen wonderfully diverse characters to work with, and he makes every panel shine. His storytelling and page layouts are well-conceived, maximizing the action and flow of the tale while showcasing the characters. He draws meticulously patched detail into Gypsy’s skirt, adds shiny highlights to Elongated Man’s outfit and adds wear and tear to the city around the combatants. Every character is heroic and dynamic, from the Tangent Joker to Jim Gordon. That’s not to say that ChrisCross makes Jim Gordon a muscle-bound bone-breaker, but he does put Gordon in the right placement and light to own the panels he occupies. The artist clearly has fun playing with the oddities present in this adventure, from Aquaman’s flared gloves (which look much different than Vibe’s gloves), Zatanna’s purple-and-white uniform and Elongated Man’s stretch powers throughout the issue.
With more than one fight, the battle ebbs and flows, packing action and intensity into “Convergence: Justice League of America” and maximizing every penny the readers spent to acquire this comic. As the settings and action vary scene to scene, the colors from Snakebite Cortez are off the scale: dynamic when they need to be, chaotic and effective throughout and toned down to let reality sink into the panels. When Vibe uses his powers, it looks much different than Zatanna’s magic or the Tangent Universe’s Atom’s blasts. Letterer Rob Leigh augments the battles with bombastic, comic-perfect sound effects and flowing dialogue throughout the word balloons and caption boxes.
Everything comes together in “Convergence: Justice League of America” #2, adding to a visually stunning issue. The outcome is a happy ending of sorts, but the impact of the battle upon the combatants is murky at best, especially with “Convergence” winding down soon. This issue serves as a nice sample from Nicieza, ChrisCross, Cortez and Leigh, proving that the Justice League Detroit has story potential and characters worth investigating more extensively. By the final page, I find myself wanting a Justice League Detroit miniseries from this creative team. After all, it’s nice to see optimism flavor heroics once again.