Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Convergence: Superboy

Convergence Superboy #2 came out last week, bringing the Kingdom Come Superman/90s Superboy battle to a close.

These Convergence side series are unbelievably brief. Were two issues of 20 page comics enough to tell a story in which the creators were tasked to 1) reintroduce characters from older time periods, 2) include the 'dome coming down now fight' scene, 3) have a plot that included something more than just the fight, 4) have some character growth or progression and 5) be good story-telling?

I don't envy these teams. It can't be easy, especially in an age where all arcs seem to be stretched to 6 issues. Are there compressed stories these days?

Convergence:Superboy does as good a job as any in accomplishing those goals above. Writer Fabian Nicieza has a nice little arc for Superboy here, bringing him from dismay for lacking powers, to re-embracing his powers, to fighting for his world, to ultimately sacrificing himself a little. Superboy is the straw that stirs the drink in this series as opposed to the Kingdom Come Superman who, outside of a major moment for all involved at the end of the book, acts more like an irresistible force.

Artists Karl Moline, inker Jose Marzan, and colorist Hi-Fi bring a nice house style to the book. This isn't flashy or warped. It has an old-school feel which suits the book fine given the presence of this Superman and the 90s Lois as well.

That doesn't mean that there isn't heavy action as the two fighters just lay into each other. This is almost 'Pacific Rim' material! Superman uses a 747 as a club.

But what I like about this is the understanding by Dubbilex that such a fight will undoubtedly level the city if it continues. Any time I read things like that, I feel it is commentary on the Man of Steel movie. These are heroes trying to save their worlds. What sort of world will they be saving if Metropolis is leveled and its people killed.

Nice splash page here.

Kingdom Come Superman has his eyes on the prize. He realizes that all these cities need to work together to fight Telos. But unlike others who simply want to form an assault squad, this Superman wants to 'win' his battle. Superman thinks that if Superboy concedes that Superman will get closer to Telos. Maybe from there Superman can end this.

But it seems like a risky gambit. Telos said that cities whose champions lose will be erased. How does Superman know that Superboy's world won't be utterly destroyed? Isn't he asking Superboy to make a decision that could impact the whole city's population?

The rules of this 'tournament' have been loose and ill-defined. I suppose that this seems as reasonably as anything else.

It does seem like Superboy is the young hero here. He is definitely fighting all out against the Kingdom Come heroes. But there is no listening to reason. He is just attacking.

I like the old tactile TK powers from the earliest days of this Superboy. Here is an interesting way for him to use it, breaking up the surface of the water as Flash runs on it. Haven't seen that one before.

But the biggest emotional moments of the book belong to the Kingdom Come Superman.

I love how overwhelmed he is when he sees Lois alive again. In Kingdom Come it was her death at the hands of the Joker (followed by the acceptance of Magog when he assassinates the Joker) that led Superman to his self-exile in the Fortress.

Her death shut him down.

So, of course, seeing her alive would shock him, would flood him with emotions. Does he want to lose another Lois again?

And then, during this pause in the battle, Superboy decides to continue the attack and inadvertently clobbers Lois with shrapnel.

Now I don't know if like Lois being used as a plot device. I don't think I like her injury being used as the impetus for discussion.

But there it is. I do love how Superman is distraught, rushing to her aid, cradling her, and having the Flash run her to the hospital.

It becomes clear to Kon that this brawl is doing nothing but harming innocents. And Superman explains how he hopes his victory will get him closer to Telos to end the entire thing.

Kon realizes that Superman has a better chance of saving the day than he does. Superman needs to win.  He even asks if he needs to die for this plan to work. He was willing to sacrifice his life in an effort to save everyone. It is mature turn for this Superboy. It is character growth ... in a brief 2 issue series. Impressive.

Superboy stands there and allow Superman to knock him out. And like that, this Superman is off.

While not earth-shattering, I enjoyed this 2 parter, this chapter in particular. To see these two heroes stop their destructive skirmish, come up with a way to try to save everyone, and to have Superboy sacrifice himself is entertaining and engaging. And these are two characters whose stories I have enjoyed. It was good to revisit them.

Overall grade: B/B+


Anonymous said...

Outside of feeling that the Kingdom Come characters might have been nerfed to give Superboy a fighting chance and that annoningly, the Kingdom Come character, even KC Superman, have sided with Deimos against the other heroes, this was a solid issue. The goal of these Convergence issues clearly isn't an easy one and whilst that's made some tie ins feel repetitive, this is one of the better ones by far.


Anonymous said...

I loves seeing the old 90s Superboy again and loved the inclusion of Dubbilex and Serling Roquette. My main problem is that the issues wanted to show Superboy as being the immature character unwilling to listen so that he can have his big moment at the end of this issue. However, to me the KC characters came across as more immature because they attacked Superboy first and then just demanded that he listen to them. They blamed him for continuing the fight even though they started it instead of just trying to talk to Kon first.

I do wish these side stories were longer. Two issues really isn't enough time to cover everything these authors have to cover like you said. Maybe they should have cut down the number of issues they were doing and instead gave these side-stories more issues to tell their stories.

Manu said...

I really dislike this kind of cover and the violence we use to see in comics nowadays.... (: (

Bossman said...

Well tough. Superhero comics will always be violent so just don't bloody read them.