Thursday, 10 May 2012

Superboy #9 review

Captured by bad guy Harvest to fight in his gladiatorial games, Superboy, the Teen Titans and the Legion Lost crew join forces against lackeys the Ravagers.

So Part 2 of The Culling crossover is pretty much like Part 1 in last week's Teen Titans Annual #1 - young metahumans making war, making friends and making like dead folk. The difference is that where that comic was an absolute mess - zillions of people but few characters, no real plot progression, sub-par dialogue, messy illustrations, headache-inducing colouring - this is a little more enjoyable. This being a solo character's title, the spotlight is forced onto one player, meaning Superboy serves as our focus for the big fight; he's battling Harvest loyalist Warblade physically, while mentally resisting the villain's entreaties to join him, follow his supposed true nature.

This issue's subplottery sees Kid Flash recognised as a refugee from the future by Timber Wolf, raising the latter's hackles more than a little. Whatever Bart did in the Legion's 31st-century timeframe - and Bart himself can't remember - it sounds to have been pretty bad. The resolution of Timber Wolf's encounter with Bart is intriguing, to say the least.

Tom DeFalco, scripting from Scott Lobdell's plot, gives Superboy a fun line as Dawnstar helps him out, considering his Superboy predecessor's longtime Legion service. 'Thanks, um ... Feathergirl. So many codenames to remember.' And another wink to Legion fans comes as Red Robin mentions that his wings are made of Inertron, the Legion series' answer to adamantium, though preceding it by several years.

The point of The Culling seems to be to launch upcoming series The Ravagers, but read this issue, and that Titans annual, and you'd swear the intention is to deter us from buying. For the Ravagers we've met so far are a dull bunch, grumpy teenagers with talons and tasers. I'll need a lot of convincing that the DC Universe needs another bunch of young super-folk mooching around, but maybe DC has a surprise up its sleeve, and the Ravagers will be a new spin on Young Heroes in Love, or Hero Hotline or some other series with a USP. Heck, even Superboy and the Ravers would be a start ...

My favourite thing about this issue is its novel approach to good and bad guys fighting - tossing rocks at one another. Seriously, 'Lost Claws' contains Dawnstar's finest moment. Legion Lost leader Tyroc, he of the sonic scream, also gets some time in the sun.

The art, by RB Silva, Rob Lean and Iban Coella, is better than the story deserves - clearly laid-out and cleanly finished, so that you can actually follow the action. The smart colours of Richard and Tanya Horie help a great deal. It's a shame that the team aren't getting to draw the Legion and Titans in their usual costumes, rather than the unpleasant, unexplained Tron-alike threads here. It may be no coincidence that mentalist Legionnaire Tellus, whose fishy form sees him escape New 52 tailoring, looks the best of anybody in this issue - if a Legion strip lies in Silva's future, I'll not complain.

And I'll certainly not complain when The Culling is over. It's the culmination of pretty much the first year of Teen Titans and Superboy, and has now dragged Legion Lost into its nonsensical net. The sooner it's over, and the three titles can truly find their own voices, the better. At the moment, all I'm hearing is screaming, and it ain't Tyroc.

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to have missed the moments for Dawnstar, Tyroc & Timber Wolf... but otherwise, happy that I didn't decide to go all-in with this crossover.

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    1. I think you're a wiser man than me ...

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  2. Hmm... not having a good week with comics I see? May I suggest taking the time to read something like Demon Knights? After all of these crossovers, I think you could use something a little bit more self-contained and fun.

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    1. Thank you, happiy I have DK and am looking forward to it. Busy week, must get some views done ...

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