Superboy has only been alive a matter of weeks. Three issues in, he doesn’t completely know how to control or use his powers just yet. I’m not sure Scott Lobdell does either.
After accidentally blowing up the billion-dollar alien prison facility he was sent to for his first “mission,” Superboy is left a mile underground, falling towards the center of the earth. He spends most of this issue, just like most of last issue, trying to figure out exactly what he can do. The beginning of the book also introduces a new probably-supervillain couple, but they don’t appear anywhere else so far.
Lobdell seems to circle around the idea that Superboy doesn’t understand his powers, and he’s been doing it for all three issues. It’s what makes him an interesting character, I get that, but by the end of this issue I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over. Superboy thinks of something, figures it out, and then asks more questions about it. It’s a cycle, and it repeats over and over.
Most characters’ dialogue is interchangeable, and there really aren’t a whole lot of strong or unique personalities. It works for the type of book that Superboy is, because the story isn’t very complicated either, but it makes for a less interesting read.
R.B. Silva’s on pencil duty here, and his art is extremely consistent, but not all that interesting. Like the story, it’s incredibly average. There isn’t much here that stands out, though it’s not necessarily bad. Most characters’ faces look similar, and it might be hard to tell the difference between them if not for different hair colors or costumes (the couple at the beginning of the book looks exactly like the couple in the middle of the book, save for the hair color, for example). Superboy’s really the only one here who seems to have any variety of facial expressions, which is good, since he’s in the majority of the book. The rest of the characters don’t fare so well. They have one emotion each, sometimes two (but to be fair, that’s as much a problem with Lobdell’s script as it is with Silva’s art).
Silva uses large panels and splash pages more often than not, and since there isn’t much in the way of words, the book is a quick read. It’s not a bad thing, though, because it fits the tone of the script. This is a big, cartoony book, and the art doesn’t (and shouldn’t) seem to be ashamed to be just that.
The biggest problem I have with Silva’s art, though, is the amount of negative space there is. There’s a ton of solid colors as backgrounds, and it definitely makes the simplicity of the art stand out. It would be okay to use that much negative space is there was enough detail in the characters to carry the story, but there isn’t. The book definitely could have used more art, and less empty space.
I’ll admit I was bummed when Jeff Lemire left the book, but it’s not as bad as it could have been. It’s a much different book than Lemire’s was, and it’s just not as good. It’s fun for what it is though, and if you have some extra space on your pull list, it might be worth checking out. Just don’t expect anything mind-blowing.
WRITING: 2.5 / ART: 2.5 / OVERALL: 2.5