“Convergence: Action Comics” #1 jumps into its premise with both feet, setting readers down in a pre-“Crisis” Metropolis that takes place after the events of “Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?” It gives readers a good look at what happens to Kryptonian cousins Superman and Power Girl now that they have been cut off from the elements and are no longer superpowered beings. At the same time, it introduces the Moscow of Mark Millar’s “Red Son” as the Soviet leaders and Lex Luthor attempt to make heads or tails of the predicament in which they find themselves.
Writer Justin Gray keeps the tone of the two cities distinct, painting Metropolis as a city of hope and Moscow as a city of frustration. Metropolis holds fast in faith that may not be rewarded: Superman and Power Girl will save them because they always save their fair city. Meanwhile, Moscow finds frustration and anger in the lack of facts surrounding the dome, which Luthor identifies as a bubble. Gray gives a sliver of each point of view to the other city as well; Power Girl represents the frustration of being cut off from her powers and Luthor represents the faith that he can solve this problem.
While all of the elements are there, the issue comes off as an uneventful and slightly confusing read. The opening page tells readers to expect a four-way war between cities and only two are introduced in these pages. Where, then, are the other ones? If they are not present in the issue, what purpose does this information serve to the narrative? It creates a blank space in the story, an expectation of an arrival that never comes. This is a production problem — not a knock on Gray — but readers may be disappointed to find future Jonah Hex, posted on the face-off page, absent from the proceedings. The story also suffers from the same problem most of the “Convergence” event titles face this past month: everything feels like superfluous setup for a final page that reveals what the real story will be the next month. Gray does have fun with this and it’s interesting that Telos has a cheeky awareness of the titles of many of DC’s past miniseries and events.
The art is handled by the veteran hand of Claude St. Aubin, whose rather open art style has found even less lines per panel than his previous work. Most of the issue involves standing-and-talking amongst plainclothes characters which don’t really play to St. Aubin’s stronger suits. His characters all stay on model but he is clearly more comfortable when allowed to cut loose, like in Power Girl’s flashback to better and more violent times. He does have fun with the fashion choices of the inhabitants of Metropolis; Kara’s workout clothes are a hilarious ode to the 80s. Much like the story itself, though, it feels like good work towards a nonexistent cause, since next month’s issue will be wildly different in tone.
“Convergence: Action Comics” #1, like many of its fellow event issues, feels like a 21 pages of waiting for a final reveal that is actually spoiled by the first page, before the story even begins. As readers delve into the second half of this event, it will be interesting to see how these stories land but — for now — this is an issue for fans of the creators or hardcore completionists only.