Thursday, May 14, 2015

Convergence: Justice League International #2 Review

Written by: Ron Marz
Art by: Mike Manley, Joe Rubinstein, Bert Blevins and Sotocolor
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 14, 2015

They Say It's Your...

The first Convergence: Justice League International was a bit of a surprise hit for me.  It was one of the issues that were left in the pile after Eric and myself picked which ones we really wanted to review and I ended up with it.  Honestly, I had no feelings at all going in, but after reading it, I was so glad I got it.  I really liked how Ron Marz showed how the members of the JLI continued being heroes and protected their city even when their powers disappeared.  The star of the issue was Ted Kord who reluctantly took leadership of the team and was doing the best he could by following his heart.  The issue ended with the Dome going down and the forces of Kingdom Come, led by Wonder Woman and Shazam, showing up, looking for a fight.  This is the finale, so of course they get one...but is it any good?  Let's find out...

The issue opens by showing both sides of the fight and although they come from different sides of the tracks (and realities), they are similar in being wary of accepting Telos' competition.  However, when Ted Kord meets Wonder Woman to lay down the ground rules, things change.  A brash Wonder Woman pretty much declares victory before the fight even starts while Ted just asks that the battle take place outside of Metropolis city limits.  I guess he saw what happened in Man of Steel!  Am I right, fellas?

After last issue, this beginning was not a surprise and while I liked Ted's continued characterization, Kingdom Come Shazam and Wonder Woman felt a bit off at first.  I would have expected them to be more hard headed going into the battle.  Wonder Woman makes up for lost time so quickly, however, that I just let it pass.

If you have been reading any (or all) of the other Convergence tie-ins, you have probably run into a finale where the actual battle got in the way of the good story going on.  That doesn't happen here.  In fact, this story almost ignores the battle completely.  When Ted Kord meets the Kingdom Come Blue Beetle, they head off together to find Telos and crack wise.  They really don't succeed at either, but the "find Telos" part was am epic fail.

When we finally get to the (insert earthquake here) part of the story, Kingdom Come Blue Beetle gets trapped under a giant boulder and it's Ted Kord to the rescue.  I really enjoyed the idea of the two Beetles coming together and Ted has been a hero since the first page of this series.  I would love to see more of these two together.

When they get back to the battle, it's over.  Yep, while the Beetles ran around, fighting Telos' security robots, the Kingdom Come crew kicked major ass.  That's when another Convergence problem rears it's ugly head.  After all the tough talk, Wonder Woman explains that they only beat the JLI into submission and if they accept defeat, everyone can go on their merry way.  These fights keep ending in the most unsatisfying ways!

Then the issue takes a walk on the bizarre side.  While they were avoiding the fight, the Beetles kept hinting at their special day.  When Ted Kord gets back to JLI headquarters, we find out it's his birthday.  At first it looked like he was going to be Samantha in 16 Candles, but one person remembered...a time traveling Booster Gold who left a funny present for the Blue to his Gold.  Funny, but strange especially considering that Ted has to believe his city is doomed after loosing the battle.

This is such a tough issue for me to score.  On one hand, I love Ted Kord and really enjoyed seeing him struggle with what he thinks is the "right" way of doing things.  I also loved seeing him with his Kingdom Come doppelganger.  On the other hand, the issue was hardly a satisfying conclusion to the Convergence story started last month and the ending just felt off considering what's at stake.  In the end, my guy feeling was more positive than negative, hence the score below.

Another reason for the score was Mike Manley's art.  I really enjoyed it except for one thing...Wonder Woman.  She looks better as the issue progresses, but at the beginning she just looked off...and different in a couple of panels.

Bits and Pieces:

This is an odd finale to the Convergence: Justice League International story.  Ron Marz continues using this event to give readers a great character study of Ted Kord and we even get his Kingdom Come counterpart along for the ride.  However, the issue pretty much throws the whole Convergence part of the story aside and while I enjoyed the Beetle heavy issue, it felt incomplete.  It was fun, but when it ended with a defeated Ted Kord getting a happy surprise, it went from fun to goofy.  In the end, the great art and personal story won me over enough to ignore most of the flaws and smile while reading it.  This Event hasn't given me enough smiles, so I'll take them when I can get them.


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