Before the dome drops in “Convergence: Justice League International” #1, writer Ron Marz and artist Mike Manley bring readers a Metallo attack. Trapped in Metropolis, the collection of heroes calling themselves the Justice League is less “international” and more “friendly neighborhood.”
The cast of this comic is equivalent to the group from the Giffen/DeMatteis era, minus a few mainstays such as Max Lord and Booster Gold and adding in Red Tornado. Depowered versions of Captain Atom, Martian Manhunter, Fire and Ice follow Blue Beetle’s orders into battle, as Metallo proves a decent adversary to set the table and introduce the situation. Marz doesn’t slip into the easy path and actively chooses not to allow the trademark humor of that era to drive this comic. Instead, he takes a more serious, mission-driven approach, showing how Ted Kord and crew have evolved in their time under the dome, with Kord at the center. As the dome drops, however, Marz sets up a conflict that appears to have this League painfully outgunned.
Marz is joined by Mike Manley, who is no stranger to characters from this era, having drawn the Jerry Ordway-penned “The Power of Shazam!” as well as “Knightfall”-era Batman. Manley’s art is serviceable and even very good at times. It hearkens back to Ty Templeton’s work with the JLI but, like so many of the “Convergence” titles, seems ill-matched to this particular assignment. Justice League International, just by its very name, should be more bombastic and over-the-top. Manley’s style is more reserved and perfect for a Blue Beetle story or even a story with this Justice League International while the dome has them all depowered. Manley does a fine job with storytelling and character choreography but, despite being technically sound (and occasionally exceptional) in his depiction of the powers, his construction of characters and his panel assembly feel like they need something more: maybe it’s the bombastic quality, maybe it is a wider range of line weights and maybe it’s a need for tighter coordination between the art and the color effects that Sotocolor brings in. Sotocolor punches the art up with some shading and effects but doesn’t push it into flagship team-worthy vivid tones. Furthermore, when they appear, the “Kingdom Come” characters lack mystique and power, but Manley does a nice job of presenting them to the reader for a roll call from their leader.
“Convergence: Justice League International” #1 is a fine enough introduction to the concepts of “Convergence” and the Justice League International team but, in a sea of “Convergence” tie-ins, there isn’t a strong enough hook to elevate this book above its peers. Marz and Manley deliver a solid character story with some adventurous bits of heroism and, given a little more room, might be able to serve up a transformative journey for Ted Kord. However, their assignment in “Convergence” simply doesn’t allow the latitude to enrich the characters beyond motivation and conflict.