The Review 52: Superboy 1
This comic book was definitely one I was looking forward to. It was the first one I read when I left the store with my stack of New 52’s, and it was my favourite issue this week. Superboy is definitelya character that has been closer to the mainstream than most of his past cohorts, but hasn’t (in my opinion) seen nearly enough popularity in the Kon-El/Conner Kent incarnation.
The comic begins 3 months into Superboy’s life. He remains trapped inside a tank of neonatal amnioticfluid, as the scientists who created and are studying him remain unaware of his brain functions. Thisstruck me as strange, as in Superboy’s first rendition the scientists had no knowledge of Kryptonian DNAand had to “ballpark” it, indicating that maybe this being thought in a different way than the standardhuman. Although I guess there’s been stranger things occur in comic books, it was just a tiny thing thatbothered me. The benefit of this annoying plot device is that it allowed for a kick-ass action sequencewhen the scientists decide to kill Superboy with cyanide injection (he really didn’t want to die). This kicksthe issue off, and it is where things begin to get a little confusing.
Consider this a spoiler warning, however I am really going to try to avoid them at all costs. The rest ofthe issue is spent delving into Superboy’s psyche. He is shown to be a clone consisting of DNA froma Kryptonian (guess who!) and a Homo Sapien (yet to be revealed). Readers familiar with Superboy’s origin story will appreciate the tongue in cheek approach that writer Scott Lobdell took when referringto the human component of his DNA, and new readers certainly are in for a surprise. I really enjoy thefact that they didn’t reveal his human origin in this issue, because my one base thought during thesereviews has been that these are supposed to be a re-launching, and there are new readers seeing thischaracter for the first time. The writing of the story was well thought out, the story moved along nicelyand had some very insightful elements, revealed especially near the end.
One thing that really made me enjoy this issue from an artistic perspective is the art style. Whileconfusing at times, I did enjoy it overall. The most confusing (and probably detrimental) panel was thefirst time Superboy is shown outside of the tank. He seems incredibly more muscular here, and is evenshown as much less bulky on the very next page. While this did take away from the experience for me,other elements definitely won points. Even though he has been alive for 3 months, Superboy has nohair. The implications here are awesome. He is only seen with hair once at the end, and it is not reallyrevealed whether this is him in his current state or one in the future. There are some definite mangainfluences here, noticed at times when a character is supposed to be noticing something. I haven’tappreciated this element in most other comics, but it is subtle enough to work here, and the teenagedcharacters that it is utilized with are youthful like the protagonists of most mangas. It does work.
Superboy 1 is a great issue, do yourself a favour and read this series.
Final score: 5/5