Friday, October 21, 2011

Superboy #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: R.B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean
Colorists: The Hories
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover artists: Eric Canete and Guy Major

Based on Scott Lobdell’s work for Marvel and his brief, mad run on Wildcats in the 1990s, I expected a fast-paced, maybe melodramatic, maybe somewhat dumb, but ultimately entertaining action comic from Superboy. Instead, this first issue reads like Lobdell has to get all the faux-Claremont exposition that he didn’t get to write in the last 10 years out of his system, all at once.

The story is dull as dishwater. You see, Superboy is this clone created from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, and he’s being kept in a gigantic test tube in the middle of a secret laboratory, and they’re conducting tests on him, and so forth—his humanity needs to be asserted.

So it’s the Pinocchio thing (again), by way of the clone trope (again), but Lobdell is treating it like the whole idea of a dehumanized clone with superhuman abilities made as a weapon by the government was so astonishing and new that nothing else is required beyond that.

And so, instead of compelling characters, engaging interaction or conflicts or even just loud straightforward action, Superboy offers page upon page of static, non-eventful indoor scenes choked with stacks of unremarkable exposition that feeds you things you already know—with a spoon, until you gag. R.B. Silva’s art has potential, but his figures look a little stiff here and there. And Lobdell’s story certainly doesn’t help.

Superboy isn’t the worst of the “New 52” titles by a long shot in terms of sheer craft, but it’s the most boring of the bunch by far. The prospect of a crossover with Teen Titans, as teased on the final page, doesn’t exactly win me over, either.

I like the Canete cover, though. Unfortunately, the comic is nothing like it.

Grade: D

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