Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes #1

Like many of the other "Convergence" tie-ins, "Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes" #1 ends just as the action is about to begin. The battle with Durvale doesn't appear until the last few pages, and most of the story is spent establishing the new status quo under the dome and rehashing important moments from the continuity of 30th century Metropolis. As a result, the issue's impact really depends on how much the reader wants to see these characters again and how skillfully the creative team portrays their conflicts. While Stuart Moore, Gus Storms and Mark Farmer ultimately have too many storylines to do them all justice, this is an enjoyable read with an interesting -- if inconsistent -- aesthetic.

As the issue opens, Superboy is trapped under the Dome with the rest of 30th century Metropolis. Along with the other Legionnaires, he tries to rally the citizens and keep the city going, but his own loneliness and fear wear him down. In this way, Superboy has one of the most compelling arcs here; he breaks down, questions himself and regains determination over the course of the issue, so his storyline feels more like a moving narrative than a check mark.

Lightning Lass also gets plenty of page time, but she spends most of it recapping for the reader. Her remembrances will definitely be satisfying for fans of the Legion; however, despite the strong personality and voice that Moore gives her, readers unfamiliar with this universe won't get much payoff from these scenes. Her almost-romantic scene with Superboy does feel partially earned, but it doesn't quite land.

There's also plenty going on for the other characters, but not all of their plot points get the time they might merit in a longer miniseries. Wildfire's death and Brainiac 5's discovery are glossed over, and other members of the Legion only get a few lines.

The artwork, however, may be the most divisive element of the issue. Most of the characters' cheekbones exist only in the coloring and, as a result, their faces can sometimes look oddly shaped. Colorist John Rauch doesn't always manage the right proportion of shadow and light to make the characters' face shapes recognizable. Storms and Farmer also can't seem to keep consistent on the linework, and Ayla's eyes change size and shape from panel to panel.

That said, the artwork intrigued me. The spare lines and block-like shading do give everything a space-age, alien aesthetic. Though the characters look less real, that also makes them look less like part of our recognizable world and more believably part of another. Rauch also gives everything a futuristic flatness, as if the very light in 30th century Metropolis has a different, bluer quality.

"Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes" #1 sets up solidly for the conflict with Durvale, but it doesn't rise much above the requirements or limitations of the event. If you missed seeing these characters, you won't be disappointed, but readers unfamiliar with this part of the multiverse can afford to skip the issue.

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