Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Convergence Superboy #1

Superman had died and four heroes came forward to claim the mantle. One was a brash youngster who claimed he was a clone of Superman. In fact, despite his youth, he demanded to be called Superman. Most called him Superboy.

After the events of Reign of the Superman, Superboy was given his own title. He was impetuous, sometimes immature, and always fun. Written by Karl Kesel with art by Tom Grummett, Superboy was a fun title in my pull list. He was a hero on a journey but he was having a good time.

Then things get choppy. He died in Infinite Crisis. He returned in Legion of Three Worlds. He was in a Twin Peaks style book by Jeff Lemire. And then the 52 happened and all bets were off. That new Kon was no character I wanted to read.

So, as with many of the Convergence books, I was thrilled to revisit the Metropolis Kid, a character happy to have powers and smiling as he flew around being a hero. Written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Karl Moline, Convergence Superboy gets us close to those fun-filled early days of the brash Conner.

But first we have a little bit of angst and pathos.

We start with Kon being tested in Cadmus. Dubbilex is trying to see if he can kickstart Kon's powers under the dome. Maybe by infusing him with solar power?

Well it turns out that somehow the dome created a psionic block in Superboy's mind. The energy is present but can't be accessed.

And this is a Superboy who we hear was just getting proud of what he was doing, just being accepted for who he was ... and then the dome came down.

Who is he if he isn't Superboy? He isn't Clark that's for sure. And that's hammered home in a panel where we see him looking at Jimmy and Lois running off somewhere. And he can't help them either. He's just a normal kid.

And then we see part of what is haunting him. What has always haunted him.

He is living in the shadow of Superman. Both figuratively and literally.

How do you fill in for someone that great? How do you live up to that? How do you not disappoint yourself?

This a Kon who is truly in adolescence, just on the cusp of adulthood, and trying to figure out who he is. And with his powers are gone, this is an even trickier conversation.

But then ... the dome drops .... and powers return!

And just like that the happy, smiling, exuberant Superboy returns.

I have to say, I smiled when I saw this page.

This period of joy is short-lived. The 'tournament of worlds' is announced by Telos. And that means a battle is brewing.

Superboy's Metropolis is set up to fight the world of Kingdom Come. There is Wally as a true Hermes, a red blur. And then the Dick Grayson Red Robin. They attack Superboy in an abandoned corner of the city.

I love Kon's matter of fact questioning wondering who these people are. I like the befuddled look on his face too. This is that sort of unfiltered response you expected out of this Superboy.

And then Kon shows a little ingenuity, using his tactile telekinesis to drop the empty buildings on Wally and Dick, incapacitating them.

Some intelligence maybe? Some growth in him and comfort in his ability?

Still, maybe the Flash, who in Kingdom Come was just a blur, should have escaped this?

But then the big Kahuna shows up, the Kingdom Come Superman. And he wonders who Superboy is and why he wears the S. Superboy's brash answer, the acceptance of the challenge seems spot on. After a year off, my guess is he is itching to use his powers and defend the city.

But I do have to wonder why the Kingdom Come Superman, so eager in that book to bring about some peace, would so willingly join in the tournament, fighting other heroes. That seems wrong. And the Kingdom Come Superman was so powerful, even Kryptonite wouldn't bother him. So I don't think would be a close fight.

I thought this was one of the better issues of Convergence because it captured the feeling of this period's Superboy book. That's more than I can say for Supergirl Matrix or Batgirl. And there was even a little teen angst to go along with the teen spirit.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

As with lots of these issues, I enjoy them lots until the dome comes down and characters never meant to share the same world as the title character(s) show up. I'd have loved an entire book of Kon and co.

(Was he called Kon at this point? And had he developed the non-tactile telekinesis powers? As you say, the Superboy trademark character has been so messed about ... I certainly can't keep things straight any more).

That Jimmy and Lois panel should be a tee shirt, it is just adorable.

collectededitions said...

You had me at "Dubbilex."

Anonymous said...

I definitely would have preferred to see more individual character focused titles rather than a big battle royale that Convergence has become.

Also, I share your superficial nitpick concerns too Anj, Wally was supposed to be incredibly fast to the point that he could see Norman McCray whilst under the Spectre's power. And KC Superman was shown to be way more powerful than Pre New 52 Superman who's already one of the most powerful beings in the DCU. Makes you wonder how Nicieza will make it a fair fight.


Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

As you say Mart, I don't know if it's Con, Kon, or Kid at this point in time. Forgive my shorthand!

And yes, these issues tend to lose their joy once the domes drop.

Louis, good recollection about Wally seeing Norman McCray in Kingdom Come. I don't think a building falling would hamper him.

Still, this was a fun issue.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'm confused by the usage of the Kingdom Come characters. They are in more books than any of the other cities. They were in another book besides Superboy and Matrix (who evidently is fighting KC Batman), so DC is already screwing up any potential.

I did enjoy a few of the books, as most fans are saying, its more in seeing a specific era. I'm going to love this week with the post (or pre-) COIE characters.

Jay said...

I lament the day Geoff Johns screwed Superboy up so royally. Granted the New 52 had a chance to completely renew him and failed, but that's where his downfall began. THIS is Kon-El.

Martin Gray said...

I nearly wrote something to that effect earlier, nice one Jay - Geoff John's screwed up both Kon and Bart for his Teen Titans. One turned into a jock half-clone of Luthor, the other lost all the quirks of his personality. And big feet.

Jay said...

Yeah, I tend to forget about how he sucked all the fun out of Impulse too. Teen Titans Volume 3's appeal as a whole has always passed me by.

Anj said...

Interesting point about Johns, Mart and Jay. I didn't read much Impulse/Kid Flash by him. So it is semi-news that it became darker under him. Not surprising.

Craig said...

I liked Johns' Teen Titans. I felt it honoured the past by including Starfire and Cyborg as teachers and mentors, while showing the characters of Young Justice as more than just comedy sidekicks. They were allowed to grow up, especially Bart. Just as the original Teen Titans grew up, this team did also.
Sure, I didn't like when Kon suddenly became Lex Luthor evil, nor that Beast Boy had seemingly been de-aged to hang out with the new guys, but overall it re-established the Titans. Compare it to what we have today, and it's miles above it.

In addition, I loved Johns' Hawkman. Today though, I think Johns is given too much credit, such as with "making Aquaman cool." Aquaman has always been cool, but even if he wasn't, it was Peter David who gave Arthur who did it long before Johns.

While I didn't really like Kon-El back when he first appeared- I thought he didn't deserve an "El" name nor wear the 'S'-shield - I would gladly take this Superboy over Bank Robber Superboy any day!