Superboy #4

#1 Posted by MattDemers (362 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

I kind of like the character of Superboy's "handler", and seeing their interactions is one of the few high points of this issue. It's refreshing to see someone who seems to have a handle on what's going on in this book, because everyone else just seems to ping pong from event to event.

I also kind of enjoy Superboy's exploration of himself; Lobdell's done a good job of characterizing someone who's lived in isolation all his life, and is just experiencing "regular" people for the first time.

The Bad

On the other hand, this aloofness really doesn't do much to turn me onto the character. Having him become a hero "just because" doesn't exactly make me want to read his stories, and the whole "good because of Superman, bad because of Luthor" storyline has been done to death. We've seen it off and on as long as the character's been in existence, and having the book drag its heels on it early just slows it down as a whole.

It really just feels like Kon is kind of the same as he's always been, except he's a bit of a dick now. That isn't exactly the best expansion of the character, as I had higher hopes that the increased sci-fi presence in the book would do him well.

It doesn't even feel consistent with the portrayals we've seen earlier in this volume, as his "mischief" and evil sneer don't really suit him at all. I really wish they would speed this "Who am I?" origin story along, because there's only so many times we can read it without it becoming stale.

The "Red" fight was pointless, and the only reasons I could deduce for its occurence were to show that she still has the same powers from her Gen13 counterpart, and to put her in a bikini (colored in 90's green-and-purple). For a big "reveal" last issue, the fight lasted three pages and she did nothing of consequence. Yawn.

The Verdict

I was going to say that this book was stunningly mediocre, which is disappointing considering the tonal shift from the "Old 52" series. However, I remembered that there was a glimmer of hope with the "Bonnie and Clyde" villains, but in the end it bugged me how Superboy really wasn't troubled with them.

There doesn't seem to be any threat to him in this book, which makes the stories increasingly boring; there's no sense that he's learning his powers, or is at a disadvantage at any time. This defeats a large purpose of the teen hero, and - especially in early issues of a series - severely limits the antagonists a writer can throw at him.

Seeing what Superboy has faced so far with no sweat doesn't make me want to wait for what's going to knock him down: instead, I just want to stop reading the book. I don't even want to classify what's happening as "action", because problems are just solved by either Conner's "true power awakening" or just through common use of TK. There's no growth, no major development, no experience here; it just seems to be a cluster of cliche plot points which will probably get solved with a lot of fake fanfare later.

I mean, if you're going to reinvent Superboy, why wouldn't you do something new with him?

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