No other family of titles has been affected by the relaunch as much as the Superman family. Last week we saw a younger Superman that was very different than the one we had just a month ago, and this week we’re presented with a completely retooled Superboy. I must say that I wasn’t very excited about this book. I’ve never been a big Superboy fan and I had never read anything by Scott Lobdell. However, much like with Detective Comics last week, I came away from this book pleasantly surprised.
First let’s talk about the changes to Superboy. This Superboy debuted in the Reign of the Supermen storyline following the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday. It was later revealed that Superboy, or Conner Kent as he came to be known, was actually a half human/half kryptonian clone, sharing DNA from Superman and Lex Luthor. Much of these details stay the same. He’s still a human/kryptonian hybrid, and while it is heavily hinted that his “fathers” are Superman and Luthor it is not explicitly stated. So what has changed? Everything else. Superboy is the creation of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Labs (DC loves their acronyms). The circumstances of his creation appear to have nothing to do with the death of Superman, a story which we have been told is still in continuity but clearly must have happened differently than we know it. Another interesting aspect of the DC relaunch is the repurposing of characters, such as Ray Palmer as an agent of S.H.A.D.E. In Frankenstein. In Superboy, we see what appears to be Caitlin Fairchild from the Wildstorm team Gen13 and Rose Wilson, daughter of Deathstroke, as high ranking members of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and Superboy’s retainers. The two share a rivalry that I’m interested to see fleshed out. When we see Superboy in a small Kansas town I thought we were getting into a status quo similar to that seen before the relaunch. However, not everything is as it seems, with reality being far more sinister. The art by R.B. Silva is awesome. Aside from a few oddities, (why does Superboy look like he’s made of plastic at the start of the book?) this is some of the best art of the relaunch so far. Plus, I absolutely love Superboy’s new costume and I hope it sticks around for a while.
While it makes me a little sad that some of the recent Superboy stories are done away with due to this reboot, I’m very excited about the concepts introduced here and will be following along to see what happens. Lobdell even managed to get me interested in his upcoming Teen Titans book, and that’s quite an accomplishment.