Convergence: Question #1 Review – A Hardboiled Character Study

This week marks the real beginning of DC Comics’ Convergence event, where different cities in the DC Universe are basically fighting for the survival of their respective universes.

In Convergence: Question #1, pre-Flashpoint Gotham is going to hell, and Renee Montoya (aka the Question) must work together with Two-Face to help keep law and order because the city has been literally cut off from the rest of its universe. Think Batman: No Man’s Land, but with no Justice League to bail out Gotham.

Convergence: Question #1 is written by Greg Rucka (Stumptown), who previously wrote Renee Montoya in Gotham Central52Detective Comics, and other titles. He is returning to DC Comics after a five year absence. The art is by Cully Hamner (Detective Comics) with colors by Dave McCaig (Superman Birthright).

How does Greg Rucka fare in his DC comeback?

He is still a masterful writer in the detective/superhero genre and has a strong handle on Renee Montoya, who has played a big part in some of his most compelling stories. Convergence: Question #1 opens up with his trademark voice-over narration dipping into a cage metaphor giving a hardboiled detective tone to what could be a throw-away event tie-in.

Cully Hamner gets to draw some wonderfully, brutal action scenes showing the dark side of humanity, but the main conflict is internal. The Question was a hero originally known for his uncompromising moral code (He inspired Rorschach, and Two-Face is a firm believer in duality too.

However, with all the destruction of Convergence, morality has been blurred, and Rucka uses Renee Montoya as a representation of the grey area between good and evil. He explores her quest for purpose and meaning in the bleakest of situations. Thankfully, she hasn’t lost any of her biting wit, and Rucka sums up Renee Montoya in a single snappy one-liner, “Mostly, I’m just a pain in the ass.”

How is Cully Hamner’s art?

Cully Hamner drew the Renee Montoya Question backups in Detective Comics and wears his film noir influences on his sleeve in Convergence: Question with his use of shadows, silhouettes, and close-up shots of characters. His design of Two-Face is particularly gruesome, and you can see the lines on his eye and the cross-cuttings across the bad side of his face in great detail.

This contrasts with Rucka’s writing of Two-Face as a sympathetic character,who doesn’t really do anything villainous until the latter part of the issue. Hamner’s storytelling chops are so good that he gets to illustrate several powerful, silent sequences that show Renee and Two-Face’s emotional unrest without a single line of dialogue. He also uses a set of three inset panels to show Two-Face’s coin flipping in mid-air, which adds suspense because you can’t see what side it lands on.

I’m not reading the main Convergence series. Will I still be able to enjoy this comic?

Full disclosure: I’m not reading Convergence. This is mainly because of its $4.99 price tag. For the most part, Convergence: Question #1 is a cerebral vigilante story about being a hero in the darkest times filled with some intense soul-searching confrontations between characters that would usually be on opposite sides of the law. But then the Convergence stuff kicks in with almost no warning. R

ucka and Hamner do a good job of showing the isolation and lawlessness of pre-Flashpoint Gotham, but there is a scene in the middle, which kind of solves the complex problem of Two-Face having no purpose in his life. It halts the plot’s momentum, but Rucka and Hamner whip up a killer final page cliffhanger that will make Renee Montoya and pre-Flashpoint DC fans want to immediately buy the next issue.

You should definitely buy Convergence: Question if you’re a fan of detective and superhero stories and are fans of the characters Renee Montoya or Two-Face. (Or like morally grey characters who fight with giant katanas.) But the middle part might be a little jarring because of the Convergence tie-in.

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