After co-writing a tepid kickoff to DC Comics’ “Convergence” event last week, Dan Jurgens takes a more confident step forward with “Convergence: Superman” #1, which features a version of Superman that he’s clearly far more comfortable and familiar with. The post-“Crisis,” pre-“Flashpoint” Superman is a character that was probably shaped more by Jurgens than any other creator, and that goes a long way towards making this issue surprisingly strong, despite the forcibly contrived role it’s fated to play. Adaptably illustrated by Lee Weeks, Jurgens’ positive and optimistic Man of Steel is convincingly contrasted by the darker heroes of the “Flashpoint” universe.
There are plenty of contrivances, though, and they come at macro- and micro-levels. The larger premise of “Convergence” finds cities conveniently and randomly plucked from their times and places in the multiverse and placed in quilt-like fashion on an otherwise barren battle world, pun intended; the smaller illogical coincidences require even more suspension of disbelief. The fight card on the inside front cover promotes a Gotham vs. Gotham showdown, but what readers get is largely a Superman vs. Captain Thunder throwdown. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; there is the familiar “Superman” logo at the top of Weeks’ eye-grabbing if misrepresentative cover, after all.
Jurgens, however, provides no plausible explanation as to why Superman and Lois Lane are even in Gotham to begin with. Sure, there’s a threadbare context established for the storyline, but it seems unnecessary when the characters could have just as easily been all warm and cozy in their own familiar Metropolis without any kind of manufactured backstory. One reality’s Metropolis facing off against another’s Gotham would maintain the ketchup and ice cream dichotomy that the event seems intent on evoking. It’s also a happy coincidence that so many of the “Flashpoint” world’s heroes happened to be in Gotham when it was whisked to this world.
Implausibilities aside, it’s hard to completely dislike Jurgens and Weeks’ story. The return of Jurgens’ 90’s incarnation of Superman is a welcome one, and the state of Lois’ and Clark’s relationship is a natural extension of events from that era that beg for exploration at some point. Similarly, the reappearance of the “Flashpoint” characters isn’t entirely unappreciated; these versions of Batman and other characters are worthy of additional exploits and get that opportunity here, even if ultimately their exposure is destined to be even briefer than their original appearances.
Weeks has a very simple and unassuming style that befits all of the varying moods of the issue; Superman’s fiery introduction is bold and iconic and made even more so by way of Brad Anderson’s orange and yellow overlays. The quiet moments between Superman and Lois are no less impressive; the two look every bit the perfect couple, even with Superman in full costume. The brief glimpse of the “Flashpoint” world is appropriately dark and reminiscent of the original series, which is also helped along by Anderson with largely darker tones. The all-too-quick battle between Superman and Captain Thunder, and subsequently the rest of this ersatz Justice League, is just plain fun thanks to Weeks’ layout and Jurgens’ dialogue.
Jurgens also establishes some nice banter between Clark and Lois, giving the issue a friendly, approachable feel despite its precarious hold on believability. There are multiple reasons why “Convergence: Superman” #1 can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t work, but Jurgens and Weeks give it even more reasons why it can and does, even if just barely.