When Greg Rucka departed “Detective Comics” in 2010, most people would remember his and J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman as the big loss with the end of the title; however, Rucka and Cully Hamner’s backup feature starring Renee Montoya as the new Question also came to a close at the same time. Now, thanks to “Convergence,” the gang is getting back together again. Rucka, Hamner and Dave McCaig reunite for “Convergence: The Question” #1, and so far the magic is most definitely back.
Rucka and Hamner pick up at an undisclosed time in pre-“Flashpoint” Gotham City, a remnant of a world that no longer exists. Considering how much Rucka loves world building in his other series like “Lazarus,” it’s not surprising that this issue opens with an exploration of what it would be like to live in a city that’s really and truly cut off from everything else. Secret caches of drugs are scavenged, Poison Ivy grows fresh produce in Robinson Park and the residents act like proverbial rats in a cage. Rucka spends as much time meditating how people would react to imprisonment (and drawing a parallel to the “No Man’s Land” storyline) as we get to see it in action, and the narration meshes well with the conflict.
Rucka’s not afraid to bring back the supporting cast, either. Huntress and Two-Face are both in evidence, and we get an update on Renee’s father as well. There’s even a reference to where the old backup feature had left off — with Renee branded with the Mark of Cain — and, in many ways, it’s old home week. There’s a lot to appreciate here; the fact that the face Renee wears depends on which of her two different relationships with Two-Face is active — or the idea that probability has been altered on Telos to keep Two-Face’s coin landing on the side that helps the status quo — remain unchanged. In a city that serves as a frozen fishbowl of sorts, it’s a clever concept that Rucka brings to the foreground.
Hamner and McCaig’s art is a real pleasure and a good match for the script. Hamner’s angular characters are as sharp as ever; the Question’s smooth face is a great counterpoint to the exceptionally textured Two-Face, which is made even more so by his scraggly beard and hair. There’s an especially gritty look in the issue, as Hamner follows through on Rucka’s story, which casts Gotham into a simmering pot ready to erupt. The opening page, with the lookout on the balcony with the rifle slung over his shoulder, both swaggers in machismo even as it’s cold, thanks not only to Hamner’s poses for the character but also the pale purples that bathe the scene. There are even a few moments of vulnerability here, like when Renee tells Two-Face that she’ll be fine. Renee and Two-Face have had a complicated relationship under Rucka’s pen, and that moment from Hamner sells it all over again as you see tentative bonds of trust continually mending and breaking in the blink of an eye.
“Convergence: The Question” #1 is a reminder of what can work well in the “Convergence” event. Separated from the main miniseries, these little slices of an earlier DC Universe can not only evoke some nostalgia but also give characters one final hurrah. It’s no small coincidence that the title of this comic is “Just One More Thing…” as Rucka and Hamner return to characters that had seemed forever out of reach. If even a majority of “Convergence” miniseries are this good, April and May 2015 will bring comic book fans a lot of gems. Regardless of the other miniseries’ quality, though, “Convergence: The Question” #1 is a must-buy for fans of this era of “Detective Comics” stories. It’s great to be reunited with the old gang one final time.