Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Superboy Book Is Now A Villain Book
I have railed against the 'grim and gritty' New 52 for a long time. From it's inception with an isolated Supergirl, a distant Superman, a vapid Starfire, an art thief Wonder Girl, raping murdering Amazons ... I could go on ... I have been shocked that there is very little light in the current DCU.
There is no inspiration here. There is little heroism. There is almost no humor. And there is very little love. The whole universe is painted with the same dark brush. It is disheartening.
And, before anyone says I want the sticky sweet innocence of older times, I will reiterate what I always say. I like darker books and anti-heroes as much as the next reader. What I don't like is when dark anti-heroes are the only choice on the menu. I want to read other books, ones where heroes are heroes because it is the right thing to do, where heroes are respected for being heroes and do good because it is right to do so.
On top of the overall tone of the universe, as fans we have been faced with story after story of DC's editorial changing plots at the last minute, irritating creators and leading to a shaky foundation on characters.
Perhaps the biggest and best (worst?) example of that is the Superboy character.
Superboy started out as a clone of Superman and 'someone', created as a living weapon.
Then we learned that he was meant to be a weapon, created by Harvest, with a layer of subliminal brainwashing to make him want to kill Superman.
Then he escaped all that and became a bank-robbing playa! Living the high life on ill-gotten gains, he partied and hung out with other rich debutantes and princes.
Then we learned his DNA make-up was three strands - Superman, Lois, and the DNA of an evil son from an alternate future - Jon Lane Kent, a genocidal villain.
Then he became a joking young hero trying to do good.
All that in 2 years. There was even a couple of feints in there. There was a cliffhanger hinting at a more classic Superman/Lex genetic makeup.
As a fan, how can you back this character who has been changed so dramatically so many times in 2 years? There just isn't anything to hang on to. And this isn't character growth. This is flailing.
So what did DC decide to do with this character they can't figure out what to do with?
Perfect solution for the New 52. The only solution it seems. Dark and grim and gritty.
Rather than cancel the book, DC decided to continue it. But now put the villainous murderous son of Clark and Lois at the helm. Starting in Superboy #26, Jon Lane Kent is the star. Marv Wolfman has been tagged as writer and this is what he said in an interview on Newsarama (here is the link: http://www.newsarama.com/19372-wolfman-s-superboy-to-star-villainous-son-of-superman-lois-lane.html ). I am not going to copy much from this interview because it sickens me a little. But here are two blurbs that caught my eye.
Nrama: So you're approaching this new Superboy as a villain?
Wolfman: Yeah, he's a villain. Least we know he is. But that doesn't mean everyone knows. Nyaaa haa haa!
We have read this sort of response from so many creators and editors on so many books. The hero is dark, conflicted, or an outright villain. This isn't edgy any more ... because everyone is on this edge. Remember when Bobbi Chase laughed when she talked about how dark Supergirl was going to be as if it was funny.
I mean right now we are rooting for some villains because 'Evil is Relative'.
Are no other styles and themes possible in DC anymore?
Grant Morrison looked in the crystal ball saw this and left. I think of this panel whenever I see another hero, going dark for no good reason. "They built a violent, troubled, faceless anti-hero concealing a tragic secret life."
But then this caught my eye as well, showing once more that DC has no faith in their creators and changes things on the fly.
Nrama: How has it been working with Andres Guinaido and the rest of the creative team on Superboy?
Wolfman: Superboy #26 was the first time we worked together, and it was a very different experience. There had been a previous script done and layouts were already finished. So we used about 8-9 of the layout pages and I wrote a new story around them, which leads into where we're going with #27 and on. So I got to see his art on something I was only partially responsible for and really loved what he did. But then I handed in my page/panel breakdowns to him, so I then got to see how he interpreted my ideas, and they were wonderful.
The original solicit lists Frank Hannah as the writer and has Superboy (again!) discovering something shocking about his origin. But that was a story written for Kon and already laid out!
So DC changes things, puts Jon Lane Kent in as hero and makes Wolfman re-write the script to fit the pages with a completely new leading man. Amazing in a bad way. But not surprising.
The bottom line is this.
I am not going to read this Superboy book. I am dropping it.
And therefore you won't be seeing reviews here.
I cannot support this book which butchers the Clark/Lois relationship, sets up the son of Superman as a homicidal maniac, and puts yet another villain as the headliner of a book. This book as a whole could be used to show everything that is wrong with DC comics over the last few years.