Or – “Boy Meets Girl…”

Is it just me, or does Superboy have the old pre-Flashpoint Super-symbol?  Does this mean something?

SUPERBOY#6
Plotter: Scott Lobdell
Scripter: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: R.B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean
Colorist: Richard & Tania Horie
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Superboy:  This is not your father’s Superboy, which in turn wasn’t his father’s, and so on, and so on, until we’re all in a big shampoo commercial.  Though Kon-El, created by Project Cadmus, isn’t here, we still have a clone created from unknown genetic material by the scientists of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., ostensibly to study and monitor the steadily growing metahuman community for the good of the land.  Sadly, there’s no K.G. to poison their wine in return, and they’ve sent their Superboy out to battle the kids known as the Teen Titans…

SIX ON ONE ODDS…

So, this issue picks up from #5 of Teen Titans (which I didn’t read), but at least it tells us what we need to know:  Superboy went through them like corn through a goose.  Only Solstice remains (and, thankfully, she no longer looks just like Mary Kate Olsen) and her words give Superboy pause.  After agreeing to take down Wonder Girl in return for the information about his cellular donors, S-boy reverses course, and flies away randomly.  There’s a lot of hand-wringing and X-Men-style angst, but I never really understand or believe Superboy’s motivation here, and things get even more complicated when Supergirl arrives out of nowhere.  I’m not entirely clear on the timeframe involved, but it seems like only a short time since Supergirl arrived and fought her cousin in ‘Supergirl #2’, which confuses me more.  Superboy’s costume repairs itself (neat trick, by the way, which I attribute to his textile telekinsis… ba dump BUM!) just in time for another of his powers to pop up:  Telepathy.  This serves a dual purpose in the story, allowing him to communicate with Kara, but also to see the fall of Krypton in all it’s glorious detail.

…BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TACTILE PART?

The rest of the issue goes quickly…  Well, to be honest, the WHOLE issue reads quickly, careening from here to there in a haphazard yet jaunty fashion, as Superboy bounced around by plot and guest-stars (quite literally in the latter case) and shows off a little bit of his new powerset in so doing.  Fellow M.S. contributor Jimmy pointed out that he is saddened that they no longer call Superboy’s powers “tactile telekinesis,” merely telekinesis, and I agree that his abilities and concept suffer just a bit from that loss of unique modifier.  Moreover, in the new DCU, most of what was enjoyable about Kon-El has been “mainstreamed,” to the point where his new uniform is a rather generic red/black jumpsuit and even his name has been retconned.  (Kon-El is apparently a Kryptonian phrase meaning “abomination in the house of El.”)  There is much made of Supergirl’s beliefs about clones, thanks to the Kryptonian clone wars (during which the Jedi Quin-Cee Jonnz fought off the galactic Empire with the help of…  Y’know what?  Too easy…  Joke withdrawn.)  Either way, this issue ends with ANOTHER person showing up to beat on our hero, and ends up feeling very arbitrary and scattered…

THE VERDICT:  KINDA PURPLE…

Tom DeFalco is a name I haven’t heard recently in comics, and his scripting adds to the unnerving realization that Superboy’s new gimmick feels very much like a random issue of a random X-book, with a guy in a jumpsuit being mistreated because of his genetic background.  The art is quite good throughout the issue, reminding me a bit of Chris Sprouse, but there are some issues with faces and facial expressions, and he has made the puzzling decision to render the lower portion of Supergirl’s costume not like bathing suit bottoms, but instead like a solid shield covering the front of her private regions.  In several shots, it even seems to hang like a loincloth, which must be unnerving for a woman who flies as she does.  Superboy #2 never really gains its footing, ricocheting from one fight to the next without a clear narrative, and stuffing a lot of exposition into a few pages, earning a fragmented 2 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s not a bad comic book, but it’s just not a particularly cohesive one, either…

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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11 Comments

  1. Ian
    February 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm — Reply

    “Moreover, in the new DCU, most of what was enjoyable about Kon-El”

    Seriously, there was something enjoyable about Kon-El? This new attempt might not be a winner, but Superboy hasn’t been very interesting in decades

    • February 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm — Reply

      Superboy was a really compelling character in the old Peter David Young Justice series.

      • ~wyntermute~
        February 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm — Reply

        I’ve recently read that series, and… No he’s not (in my opinion). He’s an immature d-bag, like somebody else said. He was my -least- favorite of all the YJ members. Yes, even less-favoriter (new word) than ADHDImpulse.

    • Arbor Day
      February 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm — Reply

      The leather jacket?

    • February 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm — Reply

      Seriously, there was something enjoyable about Kon-El? This new attempt might not be a winner, but Superboy hasn’t been very interesting in decades

      I’d say that you’re being really cynical on that score (and not only because Superboy/Kon-El hasn’t quite been around for even two decades)… There were a number of enjoyable stories in the Superboy book, and Superboy and The Ravers was a lot of fun in an old-school teen team book. His interactions with the Legion during the early 00’s were good reads, too.

      • Ian
        February 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm — Reply

        Meh, when he was still pimping the leather jacket he was an immature d-bag, and when he graduated to the black tee he was an emo d-bag. Outside of the brief earth-prime twist in the late 80’s I don’t think the character has been very interesting since his early days with the Legion.

        • February 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm — Reply

          I don’t think the character has been very interesting since his early days with the Legion.

          That’s why they say mileage varies…

  2. Young
    February 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm — Reply

    Talking about chest emblems, just now I noticed that Supergirl’s emblem is also different from Superman’s. So every member of the “super-family” thus far has different, yet similar, logos.

  3. Noobian74
    February 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Textile Telekinesis?

    Mr. Peterson, you are truly cut from a different cloth…

    • Kent Nelson
      February 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm — Reply

      He must move linoleum and bamboo flooring with his mind…

  4. ~wyntermute~
    February 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm — Reply

    “tactile telekinesis,” merely telekinesis, and I agree that his abilities and concept suffer just a bit from that loss of unique modifier.
    I =hated= that description, mostly because it’s like “jumbo shrimp”. Well, perhaps not as clear an oxymoron, but still… Telekinesis usually means “mind moving” and tactile usually means “sense of touch”, so you had a “mind-moving touching power”? Wha? Why is that so super? The Tangent Superman was wayyyy cooler with his purple Telekinesis. ^_^

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