Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Superboy #7

Superboy #7 came out this week and was, as usual, a pretty fun read. I have talked in the past here about how much I have enjoyed this book despite my preconceived thoughts.

Superboy as a character is still something of an enigma and we as readers are slowly learning more and more about his origin. But his character, as basically a well-meaning kid who is upset about being played, has somewhat solidified recently. He has a sort of growing morality.

This issue also had a lot of Rose Wilson in it, which is always a good thing. Rose (as well as Caitlyn) has been a joy here and probably have a lot to do with how much I like Superboy. She comes across as bigger than life character with her own warped values. But I think she is complex and complicated and we see that here. Still, we really don't know anything about her origins to explain her views. Why is she a fighter? And does she even care about who she is fighting.

So writer Scott Lobdell's characterization has been strong and the action has been crazy. But I felt this issue seemed to slow overall plot progression down too much. We have all these hints about things. I almost want someone to rip the curtain down so I can see the real wizard. In essence, despite the nuances in characterization and some subtle plot hints, this issue was just another 20 pages of fighting. Nuances and hints are appetizers. I think I am ready for the main course!

As always, RB Silva continues to shine here using montage pages and characters outside the panel margins to make the art pop. I bet Rose is his favorite character on the book.

This issue ends right where last issue's left off. Superboy has crashed into N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to find out about his origins. He tosses Rose aside and advises her to leave.

Most of what I lauded above can be seen in this one panel. Superboy has some emerging morals; he doesn't want the innocents in the facility to be hurt. Rose could just leave but she seems spoiling for a fight, describing it as fun. Silva again shows Rose to be powerful, having her operate outside panel constraints. And if you look closely, there is a machine marked G13 (Gen 13?) a nice little nuance.

Concerned about everyone in the facility, Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis to sense everyone in the building (looks like he is using Cerebro) and then figures out the safest disaster he can orchestrate to send everybody scurrying for the exits. It's a smart play.

That said, this isn't tactile telepathy ... it's tactile telekinesis. I hope that the power doesn't become too squishy in terms of what it can and can't do.

Unfortunately, it looks like his TK might be a 'get out of predicament' free card. When NOWHERE sends armed troops to stop Superboy, he somehow does something with his tactile telekinesis to short everything out. There really isn't an explanation on how he is doing this ... or even what he is doing.

I just worry having the TK do so much will lead to a lack of conflict or concern.

Working his way into the bowels of the lab, Superboy opens a door and finds Danny the Street. Boy, there seems to be a lot of Doom Patrol overtones to this book between the Men from Nowhere and now Danny.

Was Danny created here? Is he trapped here? Is he free and trying to help Superboy? How does he even know Superboy?

But before Superboy can enter, Danny dissipates and the normal corridor reappears.

So another mystery added to this book.

But the best new mystery is Superboy's discovery that he was the second clone created at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. So who was clone #1? I could start guessing. Maybe it is the DCnU version of Match, the Superboy Bizarro? A failed first attempt?

But while Superboy seems nonplussed, he is being watched by someone, I assume the person in charge here. Maybe it is all the Doom Patrol references here but that outline reminded me of someone ...

Kalki ... the first villain way back in the 80's Paul Kupperberg Doom Patrol. He also seemed to have a tentacly nature about him like some of the NOWHERE people.

I doubt it though.

Superboy's reverie is interrupted by Rose who is itching for a battle. She even is carrying a special weapon, a pistol powered by synthetic Kryptonite. Suprisingly, it seems to work.

Here is that complicated nature of Rose. She blames Superboy for Caitlyn's dismissal and (I think) assumes she is dead. In fact she seems almost despondent about the loss of her friend and the 'only one who cared' about her. It is a rare moment of tenderness and vulnerability for her. And yet ...

Mere panels later, when Superboy arises unscathed from the K-Gun, she skewers him on her sword.

The K-Gun was a ruse, a way to get Superboy overconfident such that he would drop his guard. And that let Rose gut him like a fish. Brutal!

But it makes Rose so deliciously unpredictable as a character, vulnerable yet invulnerable, steely but with some hidden issues.

And Silva just shines on this splash page (I am showing about 1/6 of it).

Miraculously, Superboy survives. His suit begins mending and he starts healing, but he is placed in a stasis where his TK doesn't work. He is shut out of the world around him. And NOWHERE Agent Templar again bares his tentacles and wonders if Superboy's body might help him out. Will we learn more about what NOWHERE has done to him? Or what he needs?

The book ends with Wonder Girl breaking into NOWHERE herself, also spoiling for a fight with Superboy. Who knows, maybe she'll rescue him only to pound on him. It seems a bit implausible for yet someone else to bust into the top secret facility. Even less implausible that anyone would walk into the very place that has been trying to capture her only to bloody her knuckles. But I don't know this Wonder Girl enough to know if it makes sense for her.

So, overall I have to say I was entertained by the issue ... and that should always be the goal. We get a lot of great action here. We get some new wrinkles to the mysteries of NOWHERE and what they are doing. And we get to learn a bit more about Rose. So all of those are positives.

But I still would like things to be moving forward just a bit faster. I keep thinking that 7 issues in I should know a little bit more of the puzzle.

Overall grade: B+


tony said...

Hey anj SB used Centerhalls own psionic energy as a weapon against the guards,it was already shown that he could pull it out of him a couple issues ago while freeing Fairchild,so nothing new here.his TTK can manipulate energy i suppose as well as physical things.

he wasnt affected by kryptonite like kal or kara would be,he got blasted at point blank range,thats why he went down,probably also for dramatic effect.

SB really has some huge focus issues,and without focus he is vulnerable,he needs to check his ego,and always be ready for a fight.

the sensory part of his TTK reads anything it has come in contact with,there is a chance he can read auras,idk about minds though,but it still is a great ability that is unique and powerful,but still limited to contact.

Anj said...

SB used Centerhalls own psionic energy as a weapon against the guards,it was already shown that he could pull it out of him a couple issues ago while freeing Fairchild,so nothing new here.his TTK can manipulate energy i suppose as well as physical things.

Thanks for the comment and explanations. I had forgotten about him doing that to Centerhall. Maybe the fact it happened basically offscreen here is what confused me!