What I’m Reading Today: 4/8/2015

Ooooooh my gosh! The event I’ve been waiting for, Convergence, is finally starting! Normally I don’t like events, but this one was practically tailored expressly for me. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Convergence involves Braniac making bubble worlds where various timelines and universes that we haven’t seen in awhile will exist and do stuff. Or something. The point is, a ton of characters from before the new52 are back, and doing things, and I’m excited even though I know it’s just an attempt to make money off my nostalgia. Characters I will get to read about again who I have missed: non-slimeball Roy Harper (and maybe Lian?), Jai and Iris West, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, Babs-as-Oracle, and Renee Montoya. Ohmigosh I’m so excited.

So let’s get to some comics (I promise it won’t all be DC).

Marvel Comics

All-New Hawkeye #2
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Ramón Pérez, Ian Herring w/Pérez (colors), VC’s Joe Sabino (letters)

The way this team uses the art to tell their story is pretty fantastic. I don’t recall seeing anything like it before. The modern parts are similar to the style from the Fraction/Aja run, the flashbacks are in watercolor purples, splashed with red in the violent scenes, and when Clint can’t hear there’s no color at all. It’s really amazing to read; it’s a beautiful way to use the medium. Anyway, Kate decides, in a very Hawkeye sorta way, to ignore the protests of [probably evil] scientists and free the kids she found in the secret room. Meanwhile, Clint fights a big dude who beats him up, which is as satisfying as ever. In flashback, we continue the story of Clint and Barney running away from their abusive foster father, and they’ve made it to the circus where (if you’re familiar with Hawkeye) we know they’ll stay for awhile. The two parallel stories are really good, and I think this is something Lemire is particularly good at (judging on Trillium). Two issues in, and I know this may be a bit… controversial, this is sort of my favorite Hawkeye run so far.

Favorite panel:

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Spider-Woman #6
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artists: Javier Rodriguez (pencils & colors), Alvaro Lopez (inks), Travas Lanham (letters)

The new status quo with Spider-Woman continues to be enjoyable. As I’ve said before, Hopeless is great with Jess, and her continued adventures (and misadventures) as a non-Avenger are great. In this issue, Jess goes around New York, talking to c-list criminals about who’s blackmailing them. Naturally, they are not forthcoming. This leads to an anonymous invitation to what is obviously a trap, which Ben Urich saves her from walking right into. Then they decide to send on of those c-listers undercover, which works about as well as you’d think, since there’s some kind of shadowy organization pulling the strings. This is a good hero book, and even though I wouldn’t say the art is spectacular, it remains a welcome departure from the first four issues of the series. Newly redesigned Jess may look more modern on the outside, but she’s the same Jess as ever, and I love every minute of her book.

Favorite panel:

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DC Comics

Convergence: The Question #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Cully Hamner, Dave McCaig (colors), Corey Breen (letters)

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Renee Montoya. Since Batman: The Animated Series, I’ve been a fan, but under Greg Rucka’s amazing development she turned into my all-time favorite DC Comics character. When Convergence: The Question was announced, I was excited. When it was I saw that it would be Rucka writing and Hamner, who drew her back up feature in Detective Comics back in the day, doing the art, I was over the moon. And this book doesn’t disappoint. I read it before I read the main Convergence title, because I just couldn’t wait. It’s a Greg Rucka book, and a Question book, and a Gotham book, and it’s wonderful. Anyway, if you’re interested in the plot: Renee’s Gotham is in a Convergence bubble, and they have to Hunger Games style destroy other universes to survive. Harvey Dent is helping her, and the Question is helping him, and they have to figure out whether survival is even worth it.  Even if you know nothing about Renee, Rucka is so good at what he does that you’ll learn about her from the story. And it’s not just Renee here, it’s Harvey Dent, Huntress, and a final-page appearance form a probably-obvious-but-I’m-not-gonna-spoil-it character that means the second issue is going to be a heck of a book.

Favorite panel:

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Convergence #1
Writers: Jeff King, Scott Lobdell
Artists: Carlos Pagulayan (pencils), Jason Paz (inks),

Yeah, so interestingly enough I think the main Convergence title will be the one I care the least about. It comes up out of the pages of Earth-2, which is a book I dropped when it became more about death, destruction, and misery than heroics. I understand that a lot of people like heroes fighting against brutal odds (otherwise it and Injustice wouldn’t sell so well) but it’s not for me. I saw that it was about the Earth-2 people, but I figured it was important to read because, you know. It’s the main event title. But there’s not much I care about here. The only survivors of that world are a five men – Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Val-Zod, Thomas Wayne, and Dick Grayson – and one woman, Yolanda Montez. I’m not familiar with her, but her first action was to kiss Dick, and she seems to have animalistic powers, so naturally she’s drawn in tight clothes looking like a prowling cat. I’m not impressed. They meet up with Telos, who works “for” Braniac, and has started Convergence for… some reason or another, to prove the worthiest universe or something. Who knows, it’s an Event. The art isn’t anything special, sort of standard superhero fare, which is fine but doesn’t set the book apart. This is the most expensive title in the event, which makes sense, but there’s nothing special drawing me in at this point. I’ll see how I feel going forward, but I’ll probably wait until these go on sale in six months and read them then.

Favorite panel:

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Convergence: Batgirl #1
Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artists: Rick Leonardi (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), Steve Buccelatto (colors), Dezi Sienty & Tom Napolitano (letters), Leonardi & Buccelatto w/Dan Green (cover)

Stephanie Brown! Cassandra Cain! Catman! Oh and Red Robin, who’s cool also. That high-pitched noise you hear is my girlish squee of delight at this gem of a book. A year after a dome dropped on Gotham, Stephanie Brown, who had decided to give up her life as a costumed hero, is named as a champion of the city. She fights and wins, or everyone dies. We get some of the story in flashback and Cass and Steph are room mates and it’s wonderful and my heart grew three sizes. Steph is a good character to use for this story – the reluctant champion – and she absolutely feels true to the character from before Flashpoint. She’s a little older and more jaded, but still sarcastic, sharp, and awesome.  I think Kwitney really nails her voice. The team up of Steph, Cass, and Tim is also nice, actually, which is something I wasn’t expecting (as the only person in the universe who is underwhelmed by Tim Drake).

Favorite panels:

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Also on my radar: Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #2, ODY-C #4, Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #1, Convergence: Speed Force #1, Convergence: Titans #1, Convergence: Harley Quinn #1, Convergence: Superman #1, Copperhead #6, Spider-Woman #6, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #5, Storm #10, Saga #27, Nameless #3, Coffin Hill #17