Convergence: Blue Beetle #2

Telos has decreed that Earth 4’s Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and the Question battle the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes. The LSH appear over Hub City, a couple of dozen of them compared to the three resident heroes, only one of whom has actual super-powers. Legion leader Cosmic Boy seems ready to talk things out, but Blue Beetle just wants the LSH to surrender. 

Stalemate. The Hub heroes retreat to Beetle’s Bug, where assistant Tracy has used his hi-tech equipment to hack the Legion members’ flight rings, gleaning information about their powers. Beetle reckons that if his colleagues can keep the 31st century’s greatest super-teens off his back for six minutes he can come up with a plan. 

They can, and he does, managing to enlist the aid of three Legion members to fool Telos into thinking someone has won, and someone has lost, so satisfying the rules he’s laid down. Given the Legionnaires Beetle teams up with include Saturn Girl and Sensor, seasoned Legion fans will guess that some mentally boosted illusion casting is involved. 

But newer readers, perhaps those who are fans of Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and the Question? Good luck with that, kids, as writer Scott Lobdell doesn’t set things up by demonstrating the Legion women’s powers beforehand. He doesn’t have them listed by the headshots on the Bug’s screens. He doesn’t even have Beetle explain what’s happened after the fact. 

It’s pretty slack writing. As for the third Legionnaire involved, Computo, even this longtime Legion fan has no idea why the resident computer-communicator is needed.

And the story was going so well. Lobdell remembers such stuff as Cos being a history buff, throws in a cute dog for the sake of a great pun, uses the Question wonderfully against the computer-minded Brainiac 5 and gives Saturn Girl a joke, something she’s not had since about 1963. And the basic plot works just fine: having Legionnaires prove necessary for Blue Beetle and pals to be able to get one over on the (rest of the) Legion is a great way to avoid accusations of ‘jobbing’. 

As for the art, the pencils and inks of Lishan Yi are just stupendous – the characters look elegant and powerful, the backgrounds are brilliant, the compositions are gorgeous, the storytelling superb … she actually takes the time to have Legion members in different postures when flying, you know, like actual people. Where has this excellent comic artist been hiding? Gotta Google…

… Edinburgh. Where I’ve been living for 16 years. Oh. 

Anyway, it seems my neighbour has been doing lots of manga work, and international comics, things I don’t follow. So, selfishly, could someone please ask Yi to do more superhero comics? The look of this book is so refreshing while keeping everyone on model. 

Dave McCaig skilfully colours Yi’s work – for example, toning a rare background-free scene to match the character contained within turns a simple panel into Pop Art. Saida Temofonte does a splendid job with the lettering, Bret Blevins gifts us a knockout cover, and all in all I’m a happy bunny. 

If not for the casual ignoring of pretty basic information this would be a perfect issue. As it is, well, it’s entertained hugely and whet my appetite for a new Legion series, which was already pretty massive after the recent Justice League United team-up. And given how much the team has appeared in Convergence, it seems safe to assume DC is open to the idea. Let’s hope sales and reader response to this and the other tie-ins featuring the Legion merit a new book, and that when it shows up we get creators of the calibre of Lishan Yi, JLU’s Neil Edwards and Scott Lobdell on a day when he’s paying more attention to the needs of the audience. 

5 thoughts on “Convergence: Blue Beetle #2

  1. Great review Mart. I didn't fault them too much for not explaining the Legionairres abilities, it seems most of these Convergence stories just plopped people from sometimes obscure alternate universes into other titles with little backstory (maybe the idea was to get us to go get the TPB's with the backstory, the ads/editorial in the back of DC comics certainly seemed to be pushing that). And I thought it was a nice enough story. My issue was that they missed a chance to revist the 'Diktoverse' (for lack of a better term). I mean, they went and put Dikto's famous Charlton run characters together but seemed to make no attempt to write the characters in a Ditko-esque way. Question should be written in the near-nutter Objectivist skirting fashion Ditko wrote him, Beetle as a frenetic action prone hero and Captain Atom was never depicted as this kind of self-doubting, chummy fellow. It just seemed like a missed opportunity to re-present the little world Ditko created there.


  2. I can agree in a great degree on the missed opportunity of the Charlton Universe characters. First off the actions of the characters involved after a year under a dome might have left them frazzled a bit more than usual. Captain Atom (my fav), Blue Beetle (also excellent) and Question (Meh… except for what he inspires in the Watchmen story) acted to me in a believable way. And you get to see something you didn't get to see in the day, them working together.

    Now I agree, where was Peacemaker, Night Shade, Thunderbolt, etc. I wanted to see the Watchmen together… just not the Watchmen. 😀 But no, we had to have this campy story where they are grosely outgunned. Against the Legion they still would have been outgunned.

    Well ok, obviously they wanted to introduce the Charlton characters and three was a bit much for two comics I guess. Anyway, I enjoyed it.


  3. Now you have me wondering, too, about what might have been. I've never read any of the original Charlton Heroes books, are they available on Comixology, I wonder – time to check. And thanks for the kind words.


  4. I'm OK with the whole gang not being present, to remove the temptation of any kind of reaction story to Watchmen. I'd love to have seen the others elsewhere, though.


  5. Comixology have some of the Charlton Captain Atom issues available. I think those books also have Blue Beetle back-ups and included in the available run is a Nightshade appearance.


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