In the first issue of this two parter, we saw Len Wein explore issues of stability and responsibility. The power of the Earth 2 before Crisis on Infinite Earths came from a sense of legacy, but also a sense of permanence and stability. This was world where civilization and society were important, where authority was still a thing to respect and not automatically fear, where brave soldiers and intrepid scientists battled against threats to all humanity at the behest of a generally good and honest government. It was the world of 1950s science fiction, and against it Wein set the example of Moscow from the Red Son universe, a place of stability tinged with stagnation. But even here there was nobility, for the Soviet Superman genuinely wanted what was best for his people.
In Convergence: Detective Comics #2 Wein continues this exploration, but not as successfully. The responsibility weighing on the characters pull them in questionable directions not justified by their personalities or histories. Particularly Helena Wayne loses the hard-edged good sense for which she was known in the pre-Crisis era, embarking on a course of action that is at best a reckless gamble, and at worst an act of terrorism. The introduction of the Red Son Batman allows Wein to redress this somewhat by emphasizing her longing for her father and her desperation to live up to his values. He even hangs a lampshade on the problem by having Helena herself acknowledge how out of character she has acted. But it doesn’t really work, especially in comparison to the deft handling of these themes in the previous issue.
On the other hand, the handling of Dick Grayson, the adult Robin of pre-Crisis Earth 2, is generally superb. His decision on how to approach the Soviet Superman is fully in keeping with the personality of Grayson of all eras. The response of Superman is, perhaps, a little pat, but is also generally in keeping with how the character was portrayed by Mark Millar when first introduced. It has to be said that the development really doesn’t line up well with what we know of the rules set out by Telos for these encounters, but the various tie-ins are only very loosely connected to the main storyline of Convergence, and that is overall a minor consideration.
Perhaps a larger problem comes at the end of the issue, when Grayson makes an important decision about his future. It is a decision in keeping with Dick Grayson of recent years. However, it does not seem to fit with the character and history of the Dick Grayson who proudly remained Robin throughout his career. Still, it is an arguable interpretation, especially considering this Grayson has endured experiences the primary Earth 2 Grayson never did.
In the end, the story does not finish as well as it began. Still, the themes of society and civilization and responsibility are clear and appropriate to both settings that are brought together. That is more than can be said of many CONVERGENCE tie-ins. Wein has told an entertaining and thought-provoking tale that is, if not totally true to the characters, not so alien to them as to outrage. We believe in the honor and nobility of all concerned, even those who regard each other as mortal enemies. And that is no small accomplishment.