52 Pick-Up: Superboy #1
by Scott Lobdell (W); R.B. Silvo (A)
Jeff Lemire’s too-short run on Superboy, up until the inception of the “new 52″, had the makings to be phenomenal. It proved his ability to engage the reader while pacing a story slowly, tossing out small tidbits of the ongoing mystery here and there. But, with a new Universe, comes a new Superboy. Given that Superman himself is a relatively new phenomenon in Metropolis, what could this Superboy end up being?
Turns out Scott Lobdell read Flashpoint: Project Superman and decided to crib some stuff: Superboy is a clone living in a vat of water – no, neo-natal solution – in a lab somewhere. He’s a clone of both Superman (because there’s a whole bunch of his DNA everywhere, and stuff) and a mystery human (unless you’ve ever read a comic with Superboy in the last 10 years, in which case you know that mystery human is going to turn out to be Lex Luthor), and he’s playing possum, learning everything he can from his location about human society while somehow not registering any brain activity (oh yeah, because his consciousness is EVERYWHERE!).
All of that information, and more, is in the first 3 pages, which brings me to my main gripe when it comes to this book: it’s a bunch of exposition, from start to finish. By the end of 20 pages: we’ve met lil’ Supes and it’s determined his life support will be shut off; he instinctively attacks the scientists before that can happen (bet you never saw THAT coming!) and kind of gets a crush on one of them; he starts going to highschool, with all the character set-up that entails – but wait, it’s a virtual reality scenario for no apparent reason; he decides he doesn’t really have a crush on the scientist anymore, who has workplace enemies of her own; there’s one guy who’s leaking this all to Lois Lane; annnnnd Superboy is going to go kill heroes or something so that he can be free of the labs. I don’t normally like to sum up the entire plot, but that might as well have been 3 or 4 issues. I like to get my money’s worth as much as the next guy, but it seems like Lobdell is throwing as many ideas against the wall to see what sticks.
Despite all this, EVEN THOUGH Superboy looks like a reject from the cast of Tron, EVEN THOUGH he hasn’t even shown himself to be a remotely interesting or likeable character, EVEN THOUGH the candy-coated art by R.B. Silva is being covered by enough narration expository boxes to choke Rupert Giles… I’m going to read issue 2. Damn you, DC…