Who is Superboy in the New 52? What we're seeing from Tom DeFalco is an attempt to make Superboy an actual person. The days of being tied to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. are in the past. Despite his ties to the Teen Titans, Superboy is trying to make a life for himself separate from all that. Not only has he found possibly lady interest, she has a group of friends that appears to be building up a supporting cast and allows for us to see Superboy out of the costume. There is still some connection as Bunker puts in a cameo as well to continue building the friendship they've developed.
Even with ties to TEEN TITANS, SUPERMAN and SUPERGIRL, this issue has a very definite separate feel to it. You can easily get into this issue and not have to worry about being up to date with the other related titles. I understand that the earlier issues needed to deal with where Superboy came from and how his personality was being developed. It just felt like we kept going in circles.
Superboy is still new to the world. He's still trying to figure out what the 'real world' is about and how it works. Seeing him deal with new situations is fun and a nice change of pace. What would Superboy's first experience with alcohol be like? Does he know how to dance? Sure these aren't crucial questions that need to be answered but seeing them touched upon humanizes his character a little bit more.
The art is handled by Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica. They may not be the regular pencilers for the series but I like the look they add. Something always bothered me about the art in this series and I would prefer to see a style closer to this. But I'm sure there are plenty that prefer the other style as well.
This issue was a nice interlude in continue to establish a more private life for Superboy. We just get glimpses of his new possible non-powered supporting cast. From a first glance, it's a little difficult to form an opinion on them. It is great to see an effort made in creating more characters but their superficial nature could make it hard to like or care about them. First appearances may not be a final determination in who they are so we can hope we'll see more development. Issue #13 mentions Superboy will still continue to try to have a normal life.
"Only a fool would dare challenge Kiva--Mistress of the Lost Domain!" That line was pretty cheesy. Until we find out more about this Kiva, it's difficult to take her as a 'villain' seriously.
Superboy also needs to get his civilian name ASAP. "Cutie" just isn't going to cut it.
This series has had its ups and downs. DeFalco is attempting to humanize Superboy a little more and it's a welcome change. We've been through his origin and have seen his early adjustments to the 'real world.' Trying to connect with 'normal' people is a good idea but hopefully we'll continue to see the struggle as he tries to figure out the proper way to handle things and etiquette required in different situations. The art here was an improvement but unfortunately seems to be just a fill in. During Superboy's efforts to create and maintain a normal life, he is pulled into a supernatural-type confrontation. The 'villain' leaves a little to be desired but hopefully we'll see some payout when the reason for her appearance here is explained. It's going to be good to see where this series will go moving forward but we'll have to wait until after next month's zero issue.