There are some elements in Larry Hama’s story for “Convergence: Wonder Woman” #1 that are easy to appreciate; he takes the idea of a city being cut off from the rest of the universe for a year and creates some interesting additions to the sociological makeup of its people. In the end, however, it’s Joshua Middleton’s art that grabs the reader’s attention.
Interior art from Middleton is rare to come by these days, which makes its appearance here that much more exciting. Every panel of Middleton’s art looks like an animation cel with a huge amount of care applied to each moment. On the opening page, just look at the composition. The shadows of the venetian blinds falling across the bed are a prime example; he’s not only lined them up perfectly, but he makes sure that they alter the colors of everything that they land on. The bedspread, the headboard, even the body of the lamp: every last one of them has their own, special look that’s then muted as necessary where the darkness hits them. As you move down the page, little moments — like Steve Trevor pinching open a space between the blinds or Wonder Woman stretching — come across so realistically that it’s all the more frustrating we don’t get Middleton’s sequential art on a regular basis.
Middleton’s art is also a great match for the villains of “Convergence: Wonder Woman” #1. His rendition of the cast from “Batman/Dracula: Red Rain” is perfectly shrouded in shadow at first; the red eyes are the only hint of any feature beyond that. When they finally de-cloak, they’re both instantly recognizable and distinct wrapped up into one look, which is exactly how vampire versions of these characters should be. Above all else, their look packs a certain level of menace, and Middleton sells the moment perfectly.
Hama’s story is a little standard in places, but I love the idea that a strange religious cult would have formed within Gotham over time. It’s a strange mixture of existing religions, desperate hope and an adaption to the bleak situation that those inside the dome are trapped in. While the actual execution of the cult seems a little too trite in spots — they’re a little quick to start castigating Wonder Woman and heading into the realm of doom and destruction — the core idea behind them is a good one. It’s the sort of element in a “Convergence” tie-in that makes some of the comics stand out from the others; examining what it would be like to live in the dome has a lot of power when handled with inventiveness rather than just keeping characters plodding along with barely a change to their routine. While the rest of the comic is unfortunately along the typical “Convergence” plotting path, it’s this element that adds a bit of depth to the comic.
Finally, it’s worth noting that, under Larry Hama’s hands, Steve Trevor is much less of a useless buffoon than he used to be, which is one change for the better from the pre-“Crisis” era to now. Saying that’s a relief is an understatement. While it’s a disappointment to have Etta Candy back in the naÃ¯ve sidekick role (in this case, under the sway of the cult), I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the write-up of the characters’ past mentions the part of Etta’s history where she was sent to Hell to almost be sacrificed by a demon. Considering the circumstances, it’s somewhat excusable to have her in with the cult.
“Convergence: Wonder Woman” #1 is definitely one of the stronger “Convergence” tie-ins to date. Hama tries to make his glimpse of Gotham City stand out, and Middleton’s art can’t help but charm. If you’re on the fence on which “Convergence” tie-ins to give a whirl, this is definitely one of your better options.