In Convergence: Justice League #1, we met a team crippled by self-awareness.  This set of tie-ins features the Detroit Justice League, probably the most widely ridiculed version of that team to arise in more than fifty years of comics history.  In no small part, that lack of respect stems from the absence of all the League’s traditional major powers.  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern are all missing.  Only Aquaman and Martian Manhunter remain, and of course the King of the Sea has often been regarded as the weakest of the League’s long-time members, while Martian Manhunter has never really been utilized to his full potential.  In the first issue, we saw the effect of a year under the dome on this group of heroes who already lacked confidence.  Despite the best efforts of Ralph Dibney, the Elongated Man, they remain unready to face the assault of the Tangent universe’s Secret Six, quickly losing Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Zatanna to a stasis trap.

But if the first issue showed a team wounded by self-awareness, Convergence: Justice League #2 reveals that this same knowledge is also the Detroit League’s salvation.  Braving the specter of cowardice, Ralph leads his group on a quick strategic retreat when they find themselves overmatched and when attempts to reason with the invaders fail.  It is a decision that plays to the teams worst reputation, but which buys the most precious commodity they can have – time.  Sue Dibney uses that reprieve to free the imprisoned members of the League, who blindside the invaders and, together with Ralph’s squad, dispatch them back to their own city in short order.

This is a comic that must be appreciated for its theme.  The plot, a series of hard-fought retreats leading to a sudden reversal, is no great construction of literary art.  But the idea of the underdogs who rely on wits, moral bravery, and the help of their friends to succeed against overwhelming odds is truly a classic.  It is so classic, in fact, that it might be considered trite, if the underdogs in question were not the Justice League of America.

The art of Chriscross successfully captures the feel and look of the mid 1980s, eschewing the grim and gritty tones used by other artists depicting Gotham under the dome to emphasize the vibrancy and motion of the Justice League and the Secret Six.  Snakebite’s colors likewise are bright and cheerful, entirely in keeping with the personalities of the Dibneys, the central characters in the story, and with the theme of pluck and redemption.

Grade

B+

Conclusion

This is not the greatest story ever written about the Justice League of America. Perhaps it is not even all that memorable. But it is appropriate to the essence of an era seldom given its due. Fabian Nicieza has used this opportunity to fully explore the meaning of the Detroit League, and the lessons it can teach about heroism and justice. This is a tribute that the Detroit League perhaps should not expect, but assuredly deserves.