The Convergence books have the unenviable task of reintroducing old status quos, upending those status quos, introducing new status quos, then upending those upended status quos to introduce a fight. Mark Andreyko and Carlos D'Anda's "Convergence: Batman and The Outsiders" #1 is one of the books that manages to handle that balance well, creating an issue that walks a line between '80s and modern tones, which gives readers a glimpse at what these characters are doing now and how they've handled a Gotham City completely cut off from the world.
Andreyko uses the dome as a reflection of each character and how it amplifies certain aspects of their personality. He jumps straight to the year anniversary of the dome, dispensing with the introduction of the construct, which helps the plot move forward quickly. This issue feels like a reunion on an old TV show special as the writer does a great job giving each character ample page time, forcing them to reevaluate their place in the world.
For characters like Black Lightning and Geo Force, this means leaning in to helping others. Lightning finds peace in offering assistance to the public, using his knowledge and powers to keep their lives as close to normal as possible. Geo Force needs to distract himself, as he is cut off from his beloved Markovia. Batman, meanwhile, is given an impossible mystery and has worked tirelessly for a year to discover what is happening to them. His drive keeps him awake at night, falling asleep at the Bat-Computer. Katana, ever the holder of guilt and loss, holds silent vigil over Halo, still in a coma. The one character that actually benefits from the new reality is Metamorpho, who has been cut off from his powers and is now a normal human living a normal life. The dome means his dream has been achieved and, when it is opened at the end of the issue, he experiences the loss of the life he always wanted while the rest of Gotham is hopeful. Andreyko gives readers exactly the type of dynamic the book was originally founded on: a group of heroes coming together to serve their own agendas.
Andreyko gives each of the characters some narrative time, going into their heads and showing readers who they are now. In fact, much of the issue is centered around quiet survival. There are no big threats in this Gotham, which gives the reveal at the end some impact.
Letterer Steve Wands makes an odd call to keep these boxes all, white with no real discerning to whom the captions belong. Perhaps it's a product of the current generation of comic work, but it takes a moment during each scene shift to discern who the narrator is when the voices leading the charge change every few pages. Carlos D'Anda, more at home in big action superhero books, delivers quality work in these slice-of-life scenes. His characters convey their emotional states through their facial features and his slightly exaggerated body language gives the proceedings some visual pop. As the dome opens, he breaks the panel layouts, rocking panels into crooked chaos, driving home the point that -- whatever the new normal was -- it no longer exists.
The Outsiders have a big threat headed their way on the final page and D'Anda clearly loved cutting loose on the spread, going so far as to sign it. It's a safe bet that the next issue will involve a lot of dynamic fights that will allow the artist to make full use of his superhero expertise. "Convergence: Batman and The Outsiders" #1 is one of the comic books that has done well with the unforgiving narrative challenge this crossover has provided.