Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting for Trade? – Superboy: The Boy of Steel

Creative Team: Geoff Johns (W) and Francis Manapul (A)
Price: $19.99
Available Now

I loved this Superboy story. Back from the dead (check out “Legion of Three Worlds” if you missed how that played out, it was a fun ride), Connor Kent is trying to figure out where he fits in. Half human and half Kryptonian, he’s torn as to which of his DNA donors he is more like, Superman or Lex Luthor. So he asks himself the questions “What did Superman do?” and “What does Lex Luthor do?” He tries to emulate Superman, but also finds that his actions sometimes stray toward the other side.

Ma Kent and Krypto are supporting cast (honestly, they had me hooked at Krypto) as he settles back into life in Smallville. We meet some new faces in Smallville as well. Along this personal journey we get to see his reunion with his best friend Tim Drake (currently Red Robin) and girlfriend Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl). (His reunion with Red Robin was technically handled in the pages of the “World’s Finest” mini, but this one was better so I chose to conveniently forget about that one). Some other surprise cameos pop up as well, but I won’t spoil them for you here.

The art is AMAZING! I think I have found my favorite comic artist. The art is fresh and fun and seems softer than some of the other artists out there. And there is something about it that just seems to fit the small town setting. The writing is solid, as Superboy comes off as conflicted without getting angsty or emo about it. I’m sad that Geoff Jonhs has left the title and that the Superboy story he planned to tell (that I assume this was only the tip of the iceberg for) will be put to the side, possibly never to be told. The creative team has moved over to the new Flash monthly (and for the first time in my life I was tempted to buy a comic about a character I didn’t care about on the strength of the creative team alone. But I’m still bitter that Wally is nowhere in sight) so if you are a fan of the team and the character it’s probably worth a look (I’m still reluctantly considering that trade).

I will admit that, unlike the Batwoman trade I recommended, this one relies a little more heavily upon previous continuity. That isn’t to say that someone who has never read about Superboy couldn’t enjoy it. But if you are unfamiliar to the character you may find yourself jumping onto Wikipedia in order to fill in some gaps in the back story. Most everything is touched upon in the pages of the comic, but this may be a case where it helps to at least already be interested in the character.

The collection contains Adventure Comics 0-3, 5-6 plus a tale from Superman Secret Files 2009 (which leaves out the Blackest Night tie-in with Superboy Prime in case you were curious about the skip there). A new Superboy ongoing has been announced with a different creative team, but they claim that they will build off of the foundation set here. I’m willing to see how it goes, but am still disappointed that we won’t get more Superboy from this team anytime soon.

I seriously love Francis Manapul's art.  I cannot express this enough.

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