The Culling has begun, Harvest has collected his teen heroes and pit them against each other, now how is Superboy going to handle it, find out after the jump. . .
Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Tom Defalco
Artist: R. B. Silva
Inkers: Rob Lean & Iban Coello
Colorists: Richard & Tanya Horie and Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Ian Churchill with Alex Sollazzo
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Previously in Superboy: Superboy was created by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. as a living weapon to help hunt down teen metas. After realizing some of what he was doing, he started confronting N.O.W.H.E.R.E. about it and was captured. During the Teen Titans rescue attempt, they were captured as well. Now, along with two other teams and a number of individuals they are part of the Culling, an event set up by Harvest (the man in charge of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.) to choose who he will use as his new Ravagers. The heroes had not been killing anyone, thus not showing Harvest who was the best, so he has just dropped his old group of Ravagers in to change the game.
RAVAGERS, NOT SO BIG A DEAL
Most of what happens in this book is the Titans and the Legion taking down the Ravagers. By the end the two groups have taken out every member of the opposing team and Harvest himself is making an appearance as the big cliff hanger. Unfortunately, for the most part we only see the fight between the leader of the Ravagers, Warblade, against the pairing of Superboy and Dawnstar while most of the other fights are off-screen.
We do cut back and forth, showing some of what is happening, but the majority of the time not spent on Superboy is actually spent on Kid Flash dealing with the Legion. Presumably because of part of Bart’s still somewhat hidden past, Timber Wolf attacks him as an enemy before Tellus basically turns off Timber Wolf, which was pretty funny.
When we focus on Superboy, much of what he says and thinks feels mostly natural, while Warblade feels very comic-villainy, but in an appropriate way. The Kid Flash sequences are also quite good, but when the focus shifts onto anyone else the dialogue becomes spotty, with some of it making sense, some of it being good, and a large portion of it being far too exposition-y or just plain dumb, such as Rose telling Red Robin to focus so she can have his full attention during a distraction.
HIT AND MISS
Artistically, the book is a mish-mash of good and bad. There are parts here that are absolutely fantastic, but there are parts that completely pull me out of the comic. Most close-ups are good, and the fewer characters on panel the better, but the further we get from anyone the worse it gets. I understand that details are lost from afar, but about half the characters look blobby and the other half are just static. The worst part is I know we can do better, because it is better at other points in the book, even in the same panel. It is really frustrating for one character in a panel to be spectacularly well done and another to be a semi-solid human-like structure. When it is good, it is great, but when it’s not, ugh.
BOTTOM LINE: MAYBE
With the story, a large portion of the problem is in the fact that this is a crossover with tons of characters that is in the book focusing on a single one. That is fine, in and of itself, but when the fight is with a large team of bad guys too, it falls apart a bit. This book would probably have been better off had it been part three and we could watch Superboy throw down with Harvest, while having the Legion Lost issue, which is focused on multiple characters, be the second part, dealing with the paired teams taking out the Ravagers. As it stands, the credibility of the Ravagers is questionable, the book felt unfocused, and we miss out on what could probably have been some good fights. Right now, the only people that should really want this, are those following either the Superboy title directly or those following the Culling story-line. For me, I fall in both, and Superboy #9 only gets 2 out of 5 stars, and only because when it was good, it was great, but the bad is rather evident in this issue and I hope the focus falling back to Superboy will help out next month.