Wednesday, May 18, 2022

DC Round Robin 2: Superboy

A tip of the hat to blog friend Mart Gray for telling me about the Superboy The Man of Tomorrow entry into the DC Round Robin tournament. I haven't been following this particular promotion too closely. What I know is that readers vote for which premise seems more promising until finally one is given the cherished 'go ahead' to be produced.

Mart told me I should check out the Superboy entry and I am glad he did. And as a Conner fan, I am glad this one survived and advances.

Times have been a bit tough on Conner. He was sort of shunted off into limbo for a while. (The New 52 did few people favors.) He finally is brought back into the fold by Brian Michael Bendis in the Young Justice Reboot only to have the book get canceled. And with Jon now being Superman Son of Kal-El for the world, there isn't much room for Conner in the DCU. As a fan, I wondered about what the next steps would be or if this Superboy would again fade away into limbo.

Incredibly, that lack of 'space' seems to be the theme of the book. Writer Kenny Porter and artist Jahnoy Lindsay (both new to me) wonder what it is like to be a member in an over-stuffed super family. Maybe the answer is to head into space?

I find a couple of things interesting to comment on before I head into the story proper. One, I like the homage cover here to one of the first images of Superboy from way back in Reign of the Supermen. The title Superboy Man of Tomorrow seems to be akin to the Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow mini which just concluded, another story where a super-family member went into space. But unlike Kara's sob story in her book where she left out of depression and grief, Conner is leaving looking for adventure. Lastly, this take has some resonance with prior Supergirl stories where she wondered who she was in the great scheme of things. All interesting.

On to the book.

Flying around Metropolis with some coffees in hand, Conner stumbles upon Dr. Polaris ripping up a block in a bold theft.

Conner grabs a car from crushing some innocents and heads to engage. Nice slick art here by Lindsay. Clean and bold.

And I love the dialogue. Only a super-villain could so casually talk about dropping a building on someone.

But before Conner can intercept ...

Jon and Supergirl fly in and catch the building. 
Superman grabs Polaris.

That's right! A Supergirl sighting.

And check this out!

She is smiling as she does good work here. She is working right next to her family in a coordinated way. She is on Earth helping people.

Amazing that in this one panel I already get the sense that Porter and Lindsay understand Supergirl way more than TK did.

But as much as I love seeing this smiling Supergirl taking care of power lines as she helps Metropolis recover, you can see how it impacts Conner.

He always seems to be a step behind the other members of the Super-family. 

That can be pretty demoralizing.

Hey, you might like Supergirl crying inside a sun because of her life of pain. But I like this one working to make lives better for everyone.

Crestfallen, Conner sort of flies away. I love the subtle body language Lindsay gives him in the last panel, slumped shoulders. You get the sense he is slowly flying away. Despite being welcomed, he feels like an outsider and not being able to help has to add to that.

I do like the other supers in the last panel wondering what they did. Supergirl does seem sort of sad about how Conner is reacting.

Back in Smallville, Conner tells the Kents how Metropolis is too crowded for him. Wonderful how he says that Clark, Jon, and Kara have it covered. See how the family seems to enjoy each other's company?

Pa dispenses his usual wisdom. At one point Clark realized Smallville was too small for him. Maybe Conner needs to find his own place.

Heading to the Fortress, Conner looks for something he can do. But every major disaster and villain outbreak is already covered.

Check out the super-family once again working in tandem to fight Chemo.

That is my Super-family.

With Earth covered, maybe it's time to expand his scope.

A planet is being surrounded by Dominator ships. Maybe Conner can help there. Equipped with a Zeta-beam teleporter, he packs his bags.

Great last panel. What would Superman do? Well, considering currently he is off planet helping Warworld, I think he would do this exact thing.

In what I feel is a throwback to some Legion 5YL lore, the Dominators are gathering genetic material to create controlled super-soldiers. Conner lands in a hot mess.

In a great cliffhanger, we see him square off against a Maagian (like Volk the volcano GL), a Kalanorian like Despero, and I think a Durlan. I have to guess the numbers on their shirts are the 'batch' these beings were created in (like the SW6 batch of Legionnaires). 

Anyways, I thought this whole thing was a hoot. Fun story. Great Super-family moments. An actual legitimate reason for Conner to want to head into space. And a great ending.

On to the next round!

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

A delight indeed. I wish I could vote for this book but apparently it’s US-only. Someone vote for it!

It’s great that Superboy isn’t going offworld in a snit, he genuinely wants to be where he can help people who have no one else. Now that’s Super.

Kenny Porter seems to be a big Darkseid fan, having teamed Harley with him in last year’s Are You Afraid of Darkseid? comic, and written a great encounter with the Man of Steel in the digital first Superman: Man of Tomorrow #16. The latter is especially good, with vibrant art by Scott Kolins. They’re both on DC Infinite.

Steve said...

If this doesn't take I wouldn't mind if some version of the Legion got Conner (and maybe Cassie. They don't seem to be giving up on the Yara mess).

Anonymous said...

No offense, but if anyone is partying with the LOSH in the 31st Century it s/b Kousin Kara under the auspices of Mark Waid, not Conner. Conner has plenty of admirers in DC Editorial, Kara needs a team book badly...