Friday, May 15, 2015

Convergence: Batman and Robin #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue is moderately better than "Convergence:  Batgirl," but it still suffers from problems that make me wonder whether anyone is really at the helm of this effort.

On the plus side, the story at least flows a little more smoothly than "Convergence:  Batgirl."  Batman and Robin help protect Poison Ivy from a group of super-villains so that she can continue to grow food to feed Gotham.  (The super-villains, led by the Penguin, not unreasonably saw the opportunity to profit from Ivy's endeavors.)  Just as Croc seems to get the upper hand on Batman, Red Hood arrives with Scarlet and saves him.

Jason's presence in Gotham seems to be a surprise to Bruce, because he hadn't appeared in the year since Telos had domed the city.  But, it fits with the idea that all these cities were plucked from their realities the moment before their timeline ended; this version of Gotham was taken right before "Flashpoint" began.  We never really saw Bruce return from the dead and resume his role as Batman in the DCU.  He pretty much arrived in time for the DCnU to be born.  Similarly, Scarlet didn't follow Jason into the DCnU (at least as a sidekick).  As such, these characters are essentially ones that we never got to see interact.

That said, this issue still has issues.  Marz is forced to dedicate two of his 20 pages to Telos' speech from "Convergence" #1, making you wonder how the editorial staff hadn't developed a way for these authors to get across that information in just a panel or two.  Similar to "Convergence:  Batgirl" #1, it happens at the emotional climax of the story, as Damian asks whether Bruce came to save him or Jason since Damian had decided to go after Jason to...I don't know...prove his worth?  If every issue is going to take this approach, where we just have enough time to get a hint of the character's emotions but no more, then this entire endeavor is going to feel like little more than an extended "Street Fighter" game.

Finally, we also have a disconnect here with how said battles happen.  In "Convergence:  Batgirl" #1, Stephanie's name was provided to the media as one of Gotham's champions and, after a few hours or days, Telos teleported her to neutral ground for her fight.  Here, "the Extremists" appear immediately upon the conclusion of Telos' speech.  The fight happens in Gotham, and Batman, Red Hood, Robin, and Scarlet are its champions without anyone telling them that they are.

Looking at the big picture, it's hard to feel the warm fuzzies that DC wants me to feel about seeing old characters if we only get to spend ten pages with them before they have to fight some nobodies that appeared in an annual 30 years ago.

** (two of five stars)

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