Before Telos’ dome encapsulated the city, a depowered Hal Jordan sat in a jail cell at a police precinct in Metropolis after flipping out as the megalomaniacal Parallax a year earlier. As luck would have it, Kyle Rayner also happened to be in Metropolis when the dome appeared and is therefore similarly depowered. Tony Bedard, Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold’s “Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax” #1 relies on happy coincidences like these in order to tell the kind of story that the main “Convergence” title demands, further stretching the credibility of an idea already full of contrivances. The ticket this issue is Metropolis vs. Electropolis but, by the time this battle unfolds, readers don’t really have much reason to stick around for the action.
As with other tie-ins to this event, seemingly random characters from seemingly random eras in DC Comics’ history are just as randomly placed in locations other than their home turf. Entire cities are imprisoned with technology that all-too-conveniently neutralizes any metahumans’ powers, yet an upheaval of such enormity apparently does nothing to these cities’ social orders or infrastructure. This issue typifies the kinds of massive disbeliefs that readers are asked to willingly suspend and within the span of the first few pages, no less. It also comes across as one of the more manufactured chapters on this whole storyline thus far; virtually nothing happens naturally and the events that do unfold are so preposterous that just about any character or location could be substituted for the ones featured and tell no different a tale than the one told here.
Even continuity is thrown to the wind, which is no surprise for a comic designed as part of an event manufactured to do just that. Those who read Hal Jordan’s metamorphosis into Parallax know that his reign wasn’t ended or interrupted by a mysterious power-sucking dome, yet there’s no addressing that disparity. Instead, readers asked to just swallow an apparent divergence into an alternate timeline, but it’s one full of poor characterization and hastily told recaps that don’t go down very well.
Shallow Hal is nothing more than a whiny and self-pitying wretch as he laments the dastardly deeds he committed under the guise of Parallax. As portrayed by Bedard, Hal is oblivious to everything but his own remorse, and his character would have been put to better use if he at least demonstrated to the city he’s stranded in that it needs heroes more than ever, especially with its resident hero Superman nowhere to be seen. When Parallax does return, his character is no better, reverting to the standard supervillain trope and scoffing at other characters’ lines when his are no less corny and cliched. Kyle’s character is just as linear, ever the do-gooder and voice of reason to both Hal’s depressed and deranged sides.
Ron Wagner visualizes Bedard’s story with a quiet sense of confidence; there are no fancy layouts that try to make this story into something more than it is. Simple, standard panels are Wagner’s strength and he uses larger ones only when necessary. Wisely, he doesn’t try to impress with any visual trickery that would only make Bedard’s story even more over the top. Bill Reinhold competently inks Wagner with thicker lines and adds little in the way of texture, a style that evokes the techniques of Silver/Bronze Age artists like Sal Buscema and Don Heck. It looks a little too crude, at times; a futuristic landscape like Electropolis doesn’t really pop off the page like it should, but its uniqueness is captured nonetheless. Paul Mounts’ colors are what truly pop, attractively standing out and enhancing Wagner and Reinhold’s art without dominating it.
Attractive colors and decent art aren’t enough to carry “Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax” #1, however, and the issue mainly stands out as one of the symptoms of how badly DC’s “Convergence” event has collectively worked out so far.