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“Punchline”

  • Writer:  Ron Marz
  • Pencils:  Mike Manley
  • Inks:  Joe Rubinstein, Mike Manley, and Bret Blevins
  • Colors:  Sotocolor
  • Letters:  Tom Napolitano
  • Cover Artists:  Paul Renaud, Chip Kidd, Mark Campos, Ken Branch, and Kevin Conrad

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(You’ve been warned.)

Okay, a couple of things that bug me right off the bat.  First, no mention is made of Ted’s broken arm from the previous issue, and second is the title.  If the prior issue was called “It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Part 1,” shouldn’t this one be titled “It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Part 2?”

I was super excited about Convergence and was really digging it at first.  Now, not so much.  While this issue had a few good moments, overall I felt it fell flat.  And Captain Atom was really under-used.

Picking up where the last issue left off, Shazam is counseling Wonder Woman atop the Daily Planet building..  He asks if there is really a need to fight the other heroes.  Wonder Woman says she doubts the other heroes will simply surrender, as it is something they would not do themselves.  She jumps off the roof.

On a nearby rooftop, Blue Beetle and Martian Manhunter are having a similar discussion.  Beetle says he has to try and talk some sense into the other heroes, and swings down to the street to talk to Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman assures Beetle that she is not the Diana he knows and that it is her intention to fight as Telos wants.  She will not entertain the notion of anything other than fighting, and warns him that her team will win.  Beetle says he won’t put Metropolis in danger and says if they have to fight, they’ll do so outside the city in the wasteland.  Wonder Woman leaves, telling Beetle to meet her when he is ready.

Later, the two teams face off outside of Metropolis.

And it is ON.

Martian Manhunter takes on Shazam (which makes sense, as I think they are pretty evenly matched), and Captain Atom takes on Jade and the elder Blue Beetle (which makes no sense – sure, Jade and her constructs can give him a run for his money, but an old man in beetle armor?).

Young Beetle manages to get his hands on Wonder Woman’s sword, but she grabs him by the throat and flings him against a boulder some distance away.  There, he meets old Beetle, who says he walked away from the fight because he believed there had to be a better way.

The two are immediately set upon by a squad of Telos robots.  Young Beetle makes a joke which chagrins old Beetle.

The two trade jokes as they combat robots, but an earthquake (telosquake?) drops a boulder on top of old Beetle, pinning him down.  Young Beetle uses robot parts as a lever to pry the boulder off his older self and the two limp back to the battlefield.  There, they discover the JLI has been defeated.

Wonder Woman says she did what Telos wanted: defeated the other heroes.  She never intended to kill them.  Somehow, I think this goes against the spirit of what Telos said (but – as revealed in the pages of Convergence itself – Telos may have switched his loyalties and perhaps no longer gives a damn about the cities).

The JLI returns to their HQ battered and bruised, but alive.

Ted goes off to “think things through” (again with the offer from Fire to keep him company).  He’s upset no one remembered that this was his birthday, but also realizes that might not be a high priority for his super buddies.  Entering his room, he is doused by a bucket of water and finds his room decorated by the one super hero buddy who’d never forget his birthday: Booster Gold.

So the story ends.  Very little Captain Atom (he had no lines, did most of his combat off-page, and was easily defeated).  This series should have been titled Convergence: Blue Beetle.  It wasn’t bad.  I liked the interaction between the old Blue Beetle and the young Blue Beetle.  I liked the acknowledgement of how close Beetle and Booster were.  But, overall, I’m unhappy with Convergence.  It seems as if all this buildup was for nothing.  I loved the artwork of this issue and give it an A but the story limps along with a C.  Overall, I’d say this is a B book.

Also, the Bronze Age Captain Atom had a cameo in Convergence #6:

(All characters and images belong to DC Comics and I am not making any profit off this blog.)

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