Convergence: Batman: Shadow of the Bat #2: “Home is the Sailor”

Written by Larry Hama
Pencils by Rick Leonardi
Inks by Dan Green
Colored by Elmer Santos

Overall, I’ve been enjoying Convergence.  Time will tell if any of it truly matters, but above anything else it’s been nice revisiting a lot of these characters and eras.  The issues as a whole have had a pretty decent track record: very few have been outright terrible, and a handful have been rather excellent.

Larry Hama’s second outing isn’t the former, I’m glad to say, but it certainly isn’t the latter either.

I quite liked last month’s issue, even though in retrospect I may have graded it a half point or so too high.  Regardless, it was illustrated well for the most part, and I enjoyed the heist aspect that set it apart from other “day in the life in the Dome” plots.  It only really lost steam toward the end when the necessary crossover elements came into play.

For this second issue, to his credit, Hama jumps right into the action with two of the Wetworks squad already taken out.  There’s very little exposition, as we’re dropped right in the middle of the scuffle, but that is much to the detriment of any sort of character development and personal backgrounds.  The end of the previous issue had that nice little rundown, but that was for Batman and Azrael.  I think it’s safe to say most people are at least passingly familiar with one of those guys, while Wetworks is a relatively obscure property.  There are a few throwaway lines about their parasitic exoskeletons, but that’s it.  On top of that, they all look so similar that it’s hard to tell who is who.  With so little information on them, it’s hard to care much even when you realize they may not actually be bad guys.

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Oddly enough, we don’t spend an awful lot of time with either Batman or Azrael, as the action is divided pretty evenly between the two of them, a mother and son duo in their care, and the Wetworks team.  Of the lot, the only character who really leaves a lasting impression is Damon Rodriquez, and only because he veers dangerously close to “annoying kid sidekick” territory.  Bruce is a pretty blank slate (save for one pretty cool line towards the end), Jean-Paul is uncharacteristically quippy, and the members of Wetworks are pretty much disposable and interchangeable.  Hama does give the team some fairly decent banter, but it’s notable mostly because I expected the group to be stoic and monotone, not lighthearted goofballs.

As evidenced above, the art isn’t that great either. Most of the action takes place on a military warship, which doesn’t lend itself to many varied environments. There isn’t much to the backgrounds, and the character models range from pretty decent to sloppy and unrecognizable. Rick Leonardi is by no means a bad artist, and Santos’ colors are part of what made last issue look so good, so I’ll assume a tight deadline and lack of detailed environments are the main culprits here.

Panels like this look pretty good:

Though literally everyone in these stories has that exact same plan, Bats.
Though literally everyone in these stories has that exact same plan, Bats.

Then there are ones like this, that just feel rushed:

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That right there is one of the most Batmaniest things I’ve seen in ages, though, so that will knock the score up half a point.

Also: Wetworks operatives count Mississippily. Which is hysterical.

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It sounds like I’ve been pretty harsh on this book, and while it wasn’t my favorite, I didn’t totally hate it. Other than the cloyingly cheesy ending, it was just average. Save fora a few funny moments and the aforementioned ending, nothing really stuck out as truly good or bad, and had those things not been included I would have just read this issue, forgotten most everything in it, and moved on.

Recommended if:

  • You’ve been following along with the other Convergence tie-ins.
  • You read the first issue.
  • You’re a fan of Wetworks.
  • Uhh, you got a gift card and need to buy something else to get the most out of your money?

Overall: Crippled with sloppy, rushed art and a scattered narrative, there are a few decent moments sprinkled throughout that keep this issue from being a total loss.  It’s never aggressively bad, nor is it ever elevated above mediocrity.  Average is the best way to describe it.

SCORE: 5.5/10