Do you remember when…?  Many of the stories tying into Convergence this week bring up that question.  We are, after all, dealing with stories rooted in the DCU of thirty years ago, in the time just before the Crisis remade the face of superhero comics forever.  Many of the issues this week suffer from that problem, as they must spend an inordinate amount of time setting the stage, reminding us of the state of the world and the position of the characters at that crucial moment in history.
However, Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 manages to tell an effective story in the midst of its exposition, even though we find the characters at a long-ago and, for many readers, long-forgotten juncture.

In the period immediately before the Crisis, Diana Prince had just regained her powers after a period of functioning as a kind of ninja hero, and had married Steve Trevor.  We join them trapped in Gotham, trying to shore up the decaying fabric of a strained society.  And this is completely in keeping with the historical strengths of Wonder Woman.  William Moulton Marston created the character to serve as a feminist hero struggling with the important and relevant issues of her time and place.  In 1941 America, that meant Nazis.  As times changed, so did the challenges faced by Diana Prince.  Her adaptability to the needs of a given era and setting were always one of the characters greatest strengths.

With the coming of the New 52, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang decided to explore another side to Wonder Woman’s character, her divine heritage as a royal Amazon and a daughter of Zeus.  In a rather curious way, this resonates with the choices made by Larry Hama as he examines a Wonder Woman of a much earlier era.  In a Gotham City trapped under a dome, many of the poor and sick to whom Diana ministers have turned to religion as a source of hope.  A cult has arisen, a faith that believes that angels will come to deliver them from the prison of the dome.  When the dome crumbles, winged beings do indeed arrive, but they are not ministers of light.  They are the vampiric Joker of the Red Rain universe and his minions.

The art of this issue is a tour-de-force by Joshua Middleton.  Middleton’s lines are thin, his forms elongated.  His faces and bodies are gaunt and hungry, his buildings and structures stretched and weary.  Middleton’s shadows, curiously for a story featuring vampires, are dark but not overwhelming, as if even the night has grown tired under the dome.  His colors are pallid and weary, needing no nosferatu to drain them of life.

Grade

B+

Conclusion

This is a story about worship and its dangers, about hope and its perversions. In the world under the dome, emotion and thought has curdled, pain has filled all hearts and tomorrow has become either a place of hopeless fantasy or a grim nightmare of depression. Into this Wonder Woman, her powers restored comes to face the very incarnation of despair, a Joker made immortal on the literal life blood of his victims. Diana fights in darkness and terror. Now, like the hero she has always been, she must reject them, and bring the dawn.