By this point, “Convergence” tie-ins have followed a very similar pattern. We touch base with characters dealing without their superpowers over the past year and, somewhere between the halfway point and the conclusion of the first issue, the dome comes down and all hell breaks loose. As a result, “Convergence: The Adventures of Superman” #1 instantly stands out, thanks to Marv Wolfman, Roberto Viacava and Andy Owens. Not only does the dome come down in the first few pages of the comic but, for once, the characters are already in the process of a successful escape plan.
It’s a relief to get a “Convergence” comic where, after a year of captivity, the characters are not only refusing to give up, they’re actively making progress. Wolfman teams up Superman, Supergirl and Lucius Fox in a pre-“Crisis on Infinite Earths” Gotham and uses a mixture of pseudo-science and previously established devices to create a clever way to skirt around the dreaded dome. First, it keeps the characters from having to be in a holding pattern until the dome falls; we see Superman and Supergirl jump directly into the action and get a view of what the rest of Telos looks like. Second, it makes Superman, Supergirl and Lucius feel like true heroes. They haven’t given up one iota over the past year and, unlike all of the other assembled characters, they’ve actually done the impossible without having a single power at their disposal save for their minds. It’s not only refreshing, it makes them stand out. Superman and Supergirl are two of the top-tier characters in the DC Universe and I love them receiving their proper due here.
Similarly, once the duo are free and Supergirl gets a glimpse of what’s about to happen to her if she re-enters her personal timeline, we get another good example of why this character is a hero. It’s a tiny bit of a superhero cliche — willing to enter a pre-ordained death if it saves others — but that cliche exists in part because it holds a lot of power when handled properly. Wolfman skirts that by having Supergirl waiver in her decision; if she simply powered through the moment without a second thought, it might seem a little too simple. Instead, her uncertainty gives her a bit of well-placed humanity.
Viacava’s pencils are new to me, but they suit the era of these characters. Viacava draws the Curt Swan, barrel-chested Superman well; if you look at some of the foes he goes up against, it’s clear that this is a deliberate choice (rather than just drawing everyone with this physique), something that’s appreciated. Supergirl also comes across well; he and Owens play off of her indecision in a sequence that makes her seem almost frantic as she watches her future play out in front of her, head darting back and forth as if trying to find a way to escape the inevitable. The landscape of the Phantom Zone on Telos is barren yet creepy; it’s surprising how Sotocolor’s colors for the skies manage to be somewhat simple (if perhaps not quite in keeping with the ’80s aesthetic that Viacava’s going for) but still effective in making it seem odd.
In a sea of “Convergence” comics with extremely similar plotting, it’s a relief to see someone try a different approach to their tie-in. “Convergence: The Adventures of Superman” #1 both breaks with convention, yet still easily fits in as part of the greater whole. Here’s hoping some of the remaining “Convergence” tie-ins will similarly do something different.