Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Superboy #16 review

In which Superboy, Superman and the Justice League fight to take the Fortress of Solitude back from Kryptonian con man H'el. At stake, the survival of Planet Earth.

This is down the line superhero fun. I nearly typed 'big dumb superhero fun' but it really isn't - writer Tom DeFalco is at his best here, producing a rock solid chapter of the H'el on Earth crossover with the Superman and Supergirl titles. He writes the Teen of Steel as a striver, trying to embrace the best of himself and do what's right for the world. He's still not so sure about Superman, but he's doing his damndest to help, and we see just how far he'll go in a moment leading into the upcoming Superboy Annual. DeFalco's Justice League is first rate too, proper professionals rather than the shower they've often seemed in their own series. H'el's plan to sacrifice Earth to energy-fund a trip back in time to save Krypton isn't advanced much, but as a stepping stone along the way, this issue is thoroughly entertaining. It even boasts this line: 'Killer Droids from Epsilon 18!' Well, what else would Superman have in his fortress?

Oh, and DeFalco shows that thought balloons still have their place in modern comics, using them sparingly, but well.

It's just a shame the demands of the crossover keep Supergirl firmly in place as H'el's dupe. The woman has X-ray vision - she has to see through him soon, surely?

The story looks great too, thanks to the energetic thumbnails of Ron Frenz which Iban Coello and Amilcar Pinna work up into full pencils, before the finishing inks are added by Pinna himself and Rob Lean. Then Tanya and Richard Horie apply bright, but never garish, colours. The result is sleek, bombastic pages, with the only negative being a discontinuity which means Batman doesn't get to wear this ...
... for the entire issue. Over in Batman, the Joker wants to make Batman a king; it turns out he already has the ermine.

22 comments:

  1. Wow a person who actually liked the issue,i thought i would never find someone on the net to like it.pl have been complaining about how defalco always has his characters spell out play by play throught fhe whole issue,or giving them hokey dialogue,yeah its true,but you have to look big picture,and i thought it was good for SB.looked the best on page than any ither character,he actually had a good human personality here,his powers looked awesome,he looked like a true hero here.so i am happy,its a superboy book,and thats who looked good here.

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    1. I did, I liked it a lot - but there have been a few issues I've hated.

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  2. I've enjoyed the title character's slow move away from apathy to heroism but I'm beginning to think he needs an Uncle Ben moment, some tragedy that is all at his feet due to his actions/inactions. This book also needs a divorce from every other book. Hell, kick his ass off of the Titans and break him off from the Ravagers so we can have a beginning, middle, and end of a story all in his own book. Lastly, we need the full on Frenz. This issue was one of the better art wise but we've seen in its pages in previous months some of the most amateurish art DC has ever published. I want this book to succeed as I love this new take on what had been made a very boring character right before Flashpoint but it's like the editors are daring me to give up and stop buying sometimes!

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    1. Hello Steve, the Uncle Ben moment us a sterling idea and yes, letting the Superboy book go its own way for a good long while would be a great move. I've been happy with most of the art in the book, though.

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  3. Ill agree with steve on all points.
    Course ill never stop buyijng the book,loyal SB fan since 93.

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    1. I thought I was that way with Wonder Woman, but I've managed to pack n the current run.

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    2. Just remember as long as you keep buying crappy issues of your favorite character the longer bad and so-so stories will keep going on wit them.
      When you vote with your dollars it shows you approve of it.

      You can still read your favorite characters series at your LCS, if you are on good terms with the owner or the staff there or a friends issue. Or wait a couple of months for the issue to get put into the back issue long boxes and read it then.

      When word of mouth comes out that your favorite is being well written again. It will be very easy for you to get back issues and the current issues from your LCS.

      Dollars and volume sales decide the stories and the future of your favorite characters.

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    3. Very true! Mind, if I'm interested enough to read something, I'll stump up the cash. But again, yes, voting with wallets is the best way to get comics to change direction.

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  4. I also thought this was a good chapter. It'll be a while before my review hits my site. But things I liked.

    It had a sort of old-school JLA feel where the team splits up into pairs to take down a big threat from several angles. In particular Batman and Wonder Woman had nice moments.

    As for Superboy, he talk a good fight about being a weapon and not liking Superman, but he acts differently. I think he is protesting a bit much. His inherent heroism is sort of playing out despite his loner-speak.

    But poor Supergirl. She really is being treated awfully here.

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    1. I think you're right about Superboy doth protesting - I'm off to see what you're saying over at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary.

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  5. Wow martin and anj both like the issue,am i on the right earth?

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    1. Yes, you're on the right Earth. For every hater, there is someone out there who would actually like things like this.

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    2. We agree much more often than we don't!

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    3. I think the surprise isn't that we agreed (which we often do) but that we both liked Superboy.

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  6. I pretty much liked this issue and I thought that it was very interesting and action-packed. It made Superboy seem more likeable and it showed his heroic side and his respect for the Justice League. My only disappointments were that Superboy didn't explicitly mention the Teen Titans to the whole League and that he didn't find out about his genetic connection to Superman. But I'll keep waiting because I'm pretty sure that those two things will happen by the end of the crossover. I'm sure that his "connection to Superman" revelation will happen in "Superboy Annual #1".

    Speaking of which, I have a theory about what's gonna happen in that issue. Since Rose Wilson is gonna show up, I'm thinking that when Superboy finds Superman in the pocket dimensions, they're gonna try to get out of their prison and return to the Fortress of Solitude. But instead of landing in the Fortress, they end up at, or at least near, the Colony (which BTW is near the Fortress), where they run into Rose Wilson and her father (possibly Deathstroke). This would be a good way of Superman learning about Superboy's origins and Superboy learning about his genetic heritage and why Project NOWHERE gave him the "S" symbol.

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    1. Hi PR Girl, perhaps Superboy never mentioned the Titans after the awful reception Superman gave the very mention of the team earlier in the crossover. It's something I'd like to see too.

      I never knew Rosé Wilson was popping up; she's not one of my favourites, but your speculation makes sense. And an explanation of the S symbol would be splendid.

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    2. Yeah, but it's too bad that, from the previews, it looks like they've changed it so Rose and her father doesn't show up and that Superboy and Superman are just trapped in a pocket dimension. But the issue is at least 38 pages long, so they might run into those two along the way.

      But either way, my fondest hope is that they'll learn more about each other on their journey and that Superboy will find out about his connection to Superman in this issue or, at least, by the end of this crossover.

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    3. Ah well, I'll have the issue in a couple of hours, let's see where DC have changed tack with great speed.

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  7. PRgirl i gotta thank you for letting me believe there is more than just cyncial haters out on the web,always going with the negative.
    Im a SB fan,always have been,i like that he is so different than superman,all his differences,but i also likenthat under all that he shares the same heroic to the end fighting spirit that superman has .

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  8. Did I forget a point when H'El brought his stuff to the Fortress? It just seemed odd that his ship was there. I'm wondering if that's actually Kal's ship, and H'El isn't even who HE thinks he is.

    We already know that space travel attempts on Krypton was done by clones before clones were outlawed. My theory is that H'El is one of those clones, who somehow had Superman's genes incorporated into him later, leaving him with an amalgamated memory forming a history of someone who never existed. And eventually after learning, he'll be Bizarro.

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    1. Sorry, but according to a comment that Scott Lobdell made on this page: http://www.comicvine.com/news/who-is-hel-and-how-will-he-influence-the-superman-family-titles/145670/, H'el is not a clone.

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    2. Nice one PRGirl, you got there first - apparently Lobdell was planning to do Bizarro, but DC had other plans so along came H'el. They might have gone for a different skin tone than Bizarro Chalk, mind.

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