Superboy #13 came out last week and continued the transition of the book and its main plots under new writer Tom DeFalco. Since the creative change and the zero issue revelations on his origin, we have a new understnding of his NOWHERE VR training, his new life free of the lab, his new lifestyle on borrowed money, and a new supporting cast.
That's a lot of newness for readers to settle into.
And while initially I thought this new direction was way off (especially the 'bank robber' aspect), I feel as if things are slowly turning. Slowly. It is almost trying to turn a big cruise ship around. It will take time for the rudder to do its job. But if I keep saying that Superboy's mind was inundated by VR horrors, his restraint so far (what restraint there has been) could almost be lauded.
One nagging thing about this book is its heavy cross-pollination into other books. While this is potentially good for business, maybe leading me to Ravagers or Teen Titans, it might also be bad business. If I can't read the stories here without going there, maybe I will leave here.
I really think that a deep and interesting supporting cast is crucial for a single character title. DeFalco certainly has brought in a varied group in his short time at the helm.
One addition I like is Jocelyn Lure, the 'NYPD officer' who obviously is also part of a bigger and more secretive group. I like how she is involved with Superboy's behavior, threatens to bring him in, and confronts him on the bank robbery. It is sort of the role Tana Moon had in the old series (especially early Tana). Here is an older person, trying to reel Superboy in, trying to make him better, but also with her own agenda as well.
Something else I like in this new direction is Superboy's continued loyalty to Fairchild, the only person on Earth he feels he can trust and frankly given what we know about everyone else the only person he should trust. His bringing up her disappearance and how he wants to find her both harkens back to the early issues and also shows that maybe underneath it all Superboy does have a good core.
But Lure isn't the only member of the supporting cast. We also have Dallas Sorrentino. She is superficial. She is mixed up in badness. She seems to be luring Superboy into dangerous and compromising situations. If Superboy is Pinocchio wondering if he is a 'real boy', Dallas is Lampwick.
But perhaps the most interesting addition (and I hope not just for this issue) is the arrival of Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy has been sent there by Lois to investigate Superboy feeling he is sullying Superman's good name. I like that in this book, Superman's friends strive to defend him. Jimmy is a good addition to the younger Super-family books. I loved him in Gates' Supergirl.
Anyone who comes here knows I love mysteries in comics and like to try to solve them before the reveal.
Here Lure shows she is more than a typical cop. She is part of a group tracking time anomalies, beings with a 31st century spoor. Now Kid Flash and Tellus I can understand. But why is Superboy being picked up by this? Is he really from the future? Is his 'other' gene donor from the future? Could it be Harvest? Hmmm ....
While Superboy is out on the town with Dallas, some super-villains come attacking. They want Dallas for some reason. As I said, she is bad news.
I do think this struggle in Superboy as he tries to figure out not only who he is but what he is has the stuff of great stories. Here I think it is worrisome that he once again calls himself a living weapon. It dehumanizies him, makes him an object. If that's what he thinks he is, no wonder he can lose control.
Of course, this being the DCnU, we need to have the hero be attacked by either the police or the military. So when Superboy takes out the attacking super-villains, the cops (of course) empty their guns at him. This is a very Neo scene, almost too Neo.
And can we please just call it TK now. Not tactile TK.
Hey look! It's a H'El cameo. This reminds me of the pre-Crisis issues when the Monitor would show up in books, always in shadow.
And Jimmy is there to see it. And he shows Lois.
I love Lois' reaction. I wonder if she thinks it's a love child for the big red S.
Superboy is able to slip away from this mess with the help of Lure who does good on her promise of a reunion with Fairchild. It shows some trust building between Lure and Superboy. But look ... the story is continued in Ravagers #5. So I don't get to know how this cliffhanger resolves. If this was a one time deal, I might be tempted to buy Ravagers. But this seems to be a monthly occurrence with Superboy. So I'm not.
So this was an okay issue as DeFalco slowly turns the ship around. This is moving toward good. It will be interesting to see just where 'H'El on Earth' brings Superboy.
And as always, RB Silva just brings it to this book. I do think the sort of innovative 'bigger than the panel, living on the page' stuff we saw with Rose in the early issues isn't there as much. It is great to see him doing Jimmy again.
Overall grade: B