Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Superboy #6 review

This issue picks up where Teen Titans #5 left off ... hang on, that's not quite right. This issue begins a few pages before the end of Teen Titans #5, wasting its first five pages on the exact same moments. I might not care so much were DC not telling us to read that issue (which was a bit rubbish) in an editor's note on page 1.

So, Superboy feels bad about beating up the Titans, but headbutts last girl standing Solstice anyway, and then quits shady organisation NOWHERE. Supergirl shows up, having spotted her family crest on Superboy's chest from miles away (that's some awfully specific super-vision she has) and wondered if they have any connection beyond bad fashion. Her touch fills Superboy's mind with images of Krypton dying (it seems telekinesis isn't his only mental power) and he learns of a war between clones and Kryptonians. Along the way, Superboy absorbs knowledge of Kryptonese, meaning he can understand Supergirl, and tell her that he's a clone.

Regular readers of Supergirl will have guessed what's coming next. KWOOM, she bashes Superboy into the upper atmosphere, while crying out 'KON-EL'. Has she just named our moody hero, via some butchering of the word 'clone'? Whatever the case, Supergirl is at it again, thumping first and asking questions later (see also Superman, Reign ...). Cue fight, one that only ends when a helicopter appears and begins strafing them, and she instinctively steps in front of Superboy, believing he needs protecting. He uses his TK to send the helicopter safely away, and Supergirl grabs the opportunity to get away from Superboy, intending to find cousin Kal-El and see what he knows about this ... brrr ... clone.

Superboy then returns to his usual story arc, heading for NOWHERE headquarters to tell them what's what, where he finds Rose Wilson waiting for him, mad as heck.

OK, the good, in fact, the very good - the artwork of penciler RB Silva and inker Rob Lean is lovely: Superboy looks strong and capable, Kara looks formidable and bright, backgrounds, buildings and tech look great. Particularly commendable is that they draw Kara's red patch more as proper shorts than Lolita Lass mini-panty shield. The flashback to Krypton's destruction is immensely powerful (click on image to enlarge).
The dialogue and narration from Tom DeFalco (in what I believe marks his return to DC after 30 years with Marvel) is note perfect.

The colouring from Tanya and Richard Horie is bold, the letters from Carlos M Mangual attractive. Shane Davis, Jonathan Glapion and Barbara Celardo provide a decent cover (though it's not as attractive as the interior artists' work).

No, what's wrong with this issue is Scott Lobdell's plot. It's more supposed superheroes bashing one another for no good reason, which seems to be all that Superboy, Supergirl and the Teen Titans ever do (I know it's not, but the impression is building). Everyone's so angry, and misunderstood. We even have Superboy and Supergirl serparately whining in this issue that everyone is always hitting them for no reason. Super-Pot meet Super-Kettle.

It's all gotten really tired - can't these kids just have a conversation before fighting? Just once.

And next issue, it's Superboy vs Rose. I'm ready for a change in direction, for Superboy to stop being such an oaf and to start being allowed to hit proper criminals rather than every kid in the DC Universe.

There is a tiny bit of plot progression, as Superboy learns about Krypton, and Supergirl tells him that clones tend to turn into nutso killing machines, but it's a shame that the information couldn't come out as the two teamed up against an actual villain, rather than one another.

A couple more issues of the current direction, and I'm out - it really does feel as if this book is going nowhere. Or rather, NOWHERE.

15 comments:

  1. Blame it on Kara's camel toe. She's not the same since she got her New 52 costume. :)

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  2. You know, I don't think I ever picked up on the Kon-El/Klone anagram until you pointed it out. And it's been out there for, what, 15 years now?

    It's enough to make me recall my much-belated realization about Matter-Eater Lad's home planet...

    Regardless, I have to admit I'm kind of dreading when Legion: Lost crosses over with the hot mess that is the Titans. I don't think there's another franchise this side of Star Wars that I've done such a 180 in fandom than the Teen Titans. Still love some of the Wolfman/Perez characters, but whenever they've been a book together, the whole thing smells of rotten fish parts stitched together by Dr. Frankenstein. Everything's past its sell-by date, and only associates with each other for unnatural reasons.

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    1. This is the first time it's occurred to me too, Rob! And there's something that took me more than 30 years to notice admitted in the Secret Avengers review ...

      Totally agree about Titans. DC are crossing over too much already. The Titans are only going to drag the Legion down.

      But did you read the Wolfman/Perez Games graphic novel? Loved it!

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  3. I *do* plan to read that eventually, and I expect to really like it. Can't justify $25 for it at the moment, though. (Although for some reason, I think I'll dig into my pockets to pick up Simonson's Judas Coin later this year.)

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    1. It IS pricey - happily Santa brought it. There's a trade coming from DC later this year, although I see that Amazon has the hardcover right now for just over $13. I'm not saying try out my nifty-ish new search box ...

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    2. Strangely enough, I don't see the searchbox. I see a header for it on the sidebar, but not the box itself. Is it working? Does it work for the US as well?

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    3. How odd - it's an Amazon.com rather than Amazon.co.uk box, downloaded from US company Blogger/Google, so it jolly well should work in the US. I've tested it just now on the laptop and iPad and it's OK for me. Darn!

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    4. Yeah, I see absolutely nothing between the words Amazon Searchbox and Subscribe To -- nothing invisible and clickable, either. Though it occurs to me that it might be my adblocker program that's killing it.

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    5. ...but if it is, I can't find a way to disable it for the box. :(

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    6. Don't worry, if no ads are getting through, that's probably it. I'm not really desperate for a wee percentage of an Amazon sale, though I did enjoy being able to pull up tailored suggestions by reviews from Amazon before Blogger and Amazon Associates had some kind of falling out last September.

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  4. I think I liked the issue (and the series) a bit more than you did Mart. But we agree on a lot of the big points. Both characters seem to lash out too quickly and then complain about being attacked all the time. In the end, I think it was too early for these two to meet.

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    1. I agree.

      Remember last year's Adventure Comics Superboy by Lemire and Perez. Bucolic, weird tales featuring a nice guy who knows who he is, intriguing friends, mad plotlines, guest stars who helped rather than got punched ...

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    2. Martin,lemires run would have been great if it was about superboy.he was practically a supporting character in his own book,not to mention superboy was nothing more than a clark jr. and thats all,he had none of his unique personality.oh and SBs flat top and urkel pants was a big ugh.one more thing,remember tactile telekinesis, yeah you and me remember it,but lemire didnt.

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  5. I really liked Lemire's take, Tony. I liked that being in Smallville apparently calmed Kon-El down, making him more reflective. And I love a good supporting cast - I don't think Lori, Simon and co overwhelmed him.

    I have looked up urkel pants - never heard of 'em - but so far as I recall Kon just wore jeans!

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