aaron_bourque (aaron_bourque) wrote,

Boy Or Superboy


Okay, the original, original-original Superboy was Superman as a kid. It was Clark Kent, and his adventures as a pre-teen in Smallville. Yes, this is where the tv show got its best ideas (except Chloe Sullivan) from. Superboy, Clark Kent, had adventures, and made friends with the Legion of Superheroes (I may have mentioned them), and even had guest appearances of other heroes before they became heroes, like Bruce Wayne and Aquaman.

But that was the Silver Age. After Crisis On Infinite Earths, Superman's backstory was retcon'd to omit those adventures, and they didn't come back fully for a couple decades. So the comics didn't have a Superboy until an little event called "The Death of Superman." After Superman died (oh, spoilers, Superman dies in the a story called "The Death of Superman." Also, it was his sled), four replacement supermen showed up, and the only one we're interested in right now is Superboy. He was a blend of Kryptonian and human DNA, and he was immature, loud, and desparat to be considered a hero. He eventually actually became a hero (dying himself, once, only to come back in true superhero fashion), and it was good. He was accepted by Superman, getting a name (Kon-El), and even a secret identity (Conner Kent). He was a good kid, and a real hero.

So cue the reboot, and . . . he's still a genetic blend of human and Kryptonian DNA. Only now he's a part of this mysterious secret organization, and he can't control his powers, and he doesn't know how the outside world works . . . and the narration doesn't really support it. I'm not sure if it's from a future date where he has acclimated to society somewhat, but the story takes pains to paint him as this emotionless (or at least stoic), confused entity, and the narration is snarky and laden with references to things an actual teenager would know about, but not somebody grown in a lab and sequestered from real people his whole life (all six months of it, but whatever). The cartoon Young Justice does a better job of characterizing their Superboy character is alienated. This comic does not.

It does have its moments, though. Superboy is clearly heroic--which is always good to see in SUPER HEROES--and his circumstances, of being made to be nothing but a weapon for shadowy government goons, are interesting enough for me to check out what happens next (a team up with the Teen Titans, specifically). Also, it has ties to another Wildstorm Comic, Gen 13. I think the writer, Scott Lobdell, would have been a better fit on a New 52 version of Gen 13, but some of the situations of Superboy lead me to believe there won't be a team by that name in the New 52-averse.

All in all, it's not a bad comic by any means, but it fails to live up to its potential (there's that word again) and become a good one.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; having Gen 13 be N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s teen team would have also made a lot of sense.
Tags: analysis, comic books, essays, the new 52

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