CONVERGENCE - NIGHTWING AND ORACLE #2

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[ KISS HER FOR HALF PRICE
I, Gail Simone, take you, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons, to be my lawfully wedded . . . uh, artists. To have and to hold. From this day in May, 2015, forward. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. Until DC Comics do us part. I may now kiss this comic book good-bye.

To QUOTE Phil Anselmo: “You see us comin, and you all together run for cover. We're taking over this town”.

THE STORY:
Let's see.  Where were we?  There was that God Machine, who harvested a bunch of  cities from continuities gone by, and planted them on a sentient planet that turned out not to be a sentient planet.  But before we learned that the planet wasn't sentient, the entity that thought it was, dropped the domes that were covering the aforementioned cities and told them to fight one another for a chance to exist.

Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon were having dinner when pre-Flashpoint Gotham City's dome dropped and some Flashpoint Thanagarians showed up for their second round of combat.  That seems about right.  There might have been a rejected proposal or two before the first issue ended.  And a call for a showdown outside of town.  And a mysteriously silent Barbara.

And that's where we pick up our story.  Part 2 of this little tale gives us the aforementioned showdown, and, of course, the big reveal of Babs' master plan to defeat the Hawks.  You knew she was going to beat them, right?  This isn't really a spoiler.

Along the way we get a few twists and turns and surprises, a shadowy figure revealed, and, surprise-surprise, reversals on the previously rejected proposals.  Oh, and some general badassery, of course.

THE GOOD:
Of all the assorted and sundry Convergence tie-in tales, there is great variation in the quality of tales told. With only two issues in which to tell an interesting story, our creative teams had quite the challenge in front of them. But there's a small group of teams that managed to deliver two issues that met all three of the criteria that, in my humble opinion (which you apparently care enough about to read this far) make for the highest quality of tie-ins:

(1) They paid tribute to the original era characters they were tasked with resurrecting, giving a logical continuation of their tale while being faithful to the personalities and appearances of the original run.

(2) They told an interesting and engaging story with challenges and resolutions that were unique to the characters involved -- on both sides of the artificial conflict.

(3) They managed to tell a story that acknowledges the underlying Convergence story line without getting bogged down in it or abandoning readers who aren't following the weekly series.
Of that small group that met this criteria, it's the team of Simone, Duursema, and Parsons that I think scored highest. This is the ONE Convergence tale that I can see myself returning to in the future to re-read and enjoy anew. Others came close, and to be fair, as of this writing, the week of pre-Crisis multiverse second parts hadn't been published yet, but let's just say that the list will stay short.

Chronology-wise, we stuck Dick and Babs under this dome shortly after the former returned the Bat-cowl to its original owner and the latter faked her death. But thematically, Simone used the unseen year of captivity to roll us back to some bare bones Grayson-Gordon awesomeness. The internal monologues of each take us even further in to the couple's relationship and the individuals' personalities than ever before while the speech bubbles give us the great wit that makes both such lovable characters.

Jan and Dan deliver another action packed issue with beautiful renditions of both our favorite power couple and their feathered arch nemeses. Nearly every frame of the Hawks is worthy of enlarging to hang on your wall. And Babs and her “magnificent gorgeous hunk of adorableness” ain't drawn too bad, either.

Did I mention the delightfully alliterative phrase “feathered fascists” is used? There's bonus points for that.

THE BAD:
As with last month, there's not too much to criticize in this issue. The only thing “wrong” with it is the nature of the Convergence cross-over itself and the lack of consistency between titles as to how the rules of the scenario play out. To put it plainly, some tie-ins show the defeated side vanish in to dust immediately upon determination of a winner, while others walk off alive, and still others draw a truce and agree to fight Telos despite being told that such an attempt would result in the destruction of both cities. Maybe it's due to the ambiguous timeframe of when the tie-ins occur in the plot of the underlying Convergence series. Maybe it's dependent on how other heroes from the defeated city are faring. Maybe it's just poor editorial planning.

Whatever it is, it doesn't really get in the way of enjoying this pair of issues for what they are. A great read, regardless of if you're in to Convergence or not.

Oh, and Jan Duursema screwed up the remains of the clock tower face in that last panel. From the inside of the tower the clock should be reversed. And there's a five where the four – or, actually, a reversed eight – should be. See, not interfering with your enjoyment at all.

THE MUSIC:
I was initially leaning towards a sappy love song that might be played at Dick & Babs' wedding. (Did I mention there's a wedding? Yes, if you read the first issue then I totally did. There's a wedding. Test your pre-Flashpoint skills by identifying all the attendants!) But instead of sappy I went a little more modern corny and landed on Rihanna's 'We Found Love'. Which, while it doesn't feel like a Dick & Babs wedding tune, certainly fits the scenario they found themselves in when they could finally take some time for themselves for that happiness so often denied to comic book heroes.




THE COMPARISON:
The showdown off in the wastelands of Telos got me thinking on an old wild west shootout, but with the modern toys of Nightwing (Batman always knows the perfect gift) and alien technology of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. All this technology, coupled with the sneaky twists that Barbara uses to gain the advantage in the showdown, narrowed my shootout image to one with a gunslinging robot. Like, say, Yul Brenner's classic gunslinger in Westworld.

THE CONCLUSION:
I've really said all that can be said without absolutely spoiling the issue. If you liked pre-Flashpoint Birds of Prey and Dick's year as Batman before the return of Bruce Wayne, then you need to read this story. If you wanted Dick and Babs to be a couple ever since Pixie Boots first stole a kiss and got shoved off, then you need to read this story. If you were a little uncertain about this whole Convergence thing but are jonesing for something good to read, then you need to read this story. If you're really in to Convergence and must read every tie-in to the story, well, then, you've probably already read this story. Good for you!

*** Just reading and writing and rambling in the back of the Joker's old Ho-Home-On-Wheels... Keath.