Written by SCOTT LOBDELL / Art by R.B. SILVA & ROB LEAN
Colors by RICHARD HORIE & TANYA HORIE / Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL
The past two or three years of Superboy comics have been inconsistent at best. The DC relaunch didn’t make this any better, forcing Jeff Lemire to hastily wrap a plot that would’ve been better served over twice as many issues. Now we meet Superboy all over again for the first time and Scott Lobdell’s take on the character, while obviously trying to be a jumping on point for new readers, is lacking in the heart that made Geoff John’s Adventure Comics stories as well as Lemire’s run enjoyable.
Lobdell gets into it pretty quickly. Everything is presented from Superboy’s point of view and we’re introduced to the character as a clone made of a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA. The action escalates and we eventually in ourselves in a familiar small town Superboy setting. Sounds like a pretty standard Superboy setup but something is amiss. Superboy isn’t the wise cracking, fun loving character that we know. He’s a a lab rat. Despite the attempts to have one of the female scientists, Red (who may be a character from Gen 13), connect to him as more than just an experiment, the character falls flat. There’s just nothing to latch onto. While other relaunch books have delved into the mythology of their characters and what makes them likable and iconic, this book seems to never want to allow the reader to get that chance. The best bits of Superboy have been stripped way. There is no Krypto or Smallville. There are no awkward love triangles. There is no struggle to for Connor Kent to live up to the parts of his being. The reveal on the last page makes it painfully clear why. Truly, we don’t even know if this is Connor Kent. This issue is set-up for another book purely for set-up’s sake and Superboy proves to be one of the biggest casualties of the new 52 despite carrying his own title.
But while the plot falters, the art may be enough to have fans coming back for more. R.B. Silva has a wonderfully clean-cut and mainstream style that stands in stark contrast to the style of last regular ongoing Superboy artist, Piers Gallo. Part of what is so disappointing about the script is that Silva is so good at drawing Superboy that you just wish he was in the ol’ t-shirt and jeans punching supervillains with his dog! His teenagers look like teenagers. The actiony bits stand out from the small town scenes and despite a script that might have you thinking otherwise, nothing seems forced. Rob Lean’s inks are incredibly effective as well and the thick black lines make characters stand out against equally interesting background without taking away from them. The clarity of page layouts, panel breakdowns and character designs suits Superboy perfectly.
So while the script is less than super and the plot feels forced, the art really shines through in the newest iteration of Superboy. We can only hope that the writing will catch up in quality and really give Silva and the rest of the art team a chance to flex their muscles.
WRITING: 4 / ART: 4 / OVERALL: 4