Friday, June 30, 2023

Review: Superboy Man Of Tomorrow #3

Superboy: Man of Tomorrow #3 came out last week, the middle chapter of this mini-series, and another fun chapter in this book. 

I have enjoyed this book as a sort of reclamation of the Conner character. After time missing, returning in Young Justice, and sort of struggling to find his place in the new world, this mini-series has really felt like classic Conner. This is a brash, loud, confident, fun-loving Superboy. But he is still trying to live up to the example of Superman. As someone who loved the Kesel/Grummett stuff from decades ago, this feels classic. But it also feels new.

In this issue, Conner is making a name for himself and showing the Cosmoteers just how powerful and charismatic he is. He is freeing the experiments of Dominator X and stopping the Khunds and other villains waging war. He is a leader here. But you can still sense he isn't sure if he is worthy, or doing it correctly, or even moving in the right direction. This is a growing Conner and he needs the lesson of this story to get there. Writer Kenny Porter seems to have captured this sort of dichotomy of Conner, a lost soul trapped in a overconfident body. 

Also, since we are at the halfway mark, we get a sudden plot swerve, one I suppose I should have foreseen. It ramps up the conflict.

Jahnoy Lindsay's art is stylized and energetic. There is a little bit of an anime feel to it but not overwhelming. And there is one stylistic choice I noticed (or maybe imagined I noticed) that really clicked, showing the power of the medium. More on that later. 

This is an entertaining read, a fun read which is perfect for Conner. On to some specifics.

So the initial scene is Conner wiping out a Khundian fleet on his own. As I said above, part of this book is Conner trying to rediscover who he is. So his standing on the hull of the ship, gloating about his prowess to the Khund captain felt like 'The Metropolis Kid'.

But I like how that initial confidence is wiped away when Conner learns the lesson of 'bigger weapons'.

He is learning.

Trav, the former leader of the Cosmoteers is able to stop the missile. 

But he doesn't seem too pleased with the acceptance and adulation Conner is getting. 

Still, the rest of the team knows that a charismatic leader can go far.

But from the beginning, Trav has seemed perturbed by Superboy's presence. Hmm ...

Now here is that thing that I might be overthinking.

Superboy says that he is looking forward and finding out who he is away from Earth. But his friend Pira thinks he is looking backwards. He is trying, obviously, to be who he was before.

I wonder if Lindsay used ben day dots to give that last panel an 'old school comic' feel, like he is looking backwards. I wonder if I am overreaching. Keep reading.

As for Dominator X, he is kicked out of the Dominators.

But he has a weapon he is making on his own. His 'Infinity' is going to have all the powers that Dominator X has gleaned.

There is a little bit of Mew Too here. Never make an omnipotent creature and think it will obey you for long. Seems like a classic villain mistake.

Later on there seems to be some softening between Con and Trav. Trav explains that he is a Daxamite but the usual powers his people get were stripped from him. 

He talks about how he wants to move past the legacy of evil which he was born into. Given Conner's past, coming from Luthor genes, this has to hit home.

And given that Trav is at least making Conner think of his past, we see the ben day dot take on Superboy again. Am I thinking too hard? Even if not intentional, it worked for me to drive home Conner's desire to both reclaim who he was while trying to move forward.

It's all a ruse.

Trav is a traitor. 

Okay, I shouldn't have been surprised. But that prior conversation lulled me into thinking he might be a good guy! I was a little shocked.

And worse, it looks like he has set up the Cosmoteers to look like murderers. The Corps is on the case.

As a long time fan of Conner, I really am appreciating this book. The story is fun. The character beats for Conner are right on target. And the art is perfect for the story.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

What a stinker that Trav is. I like the character design, though… I don’t really do anime and manga, as you know, but surely he has a Dragonball Z vibe?

I’ve been enjoying this book too, more for Superboy than for the Cosmoteers…they’ve not clicked at all, I can’t remember their names, their powers. Mind, that makes sense now I realised Trav is meant to be a Daxamite but hasn’t been showing the powers, and the other guy looks like a Green Lantern but obviously isn’t a GL. Then there’s the woman… I can’t even picture her two weeks after reading the issue. Love the villain, he’s fun.

Given Kenny Porter obviously knows the old continuity, it’s weird that Kon-el (I can’t call him Conner, that’s too tied up with the crappy Luthor retcon) hasn’t given a thought to his previous cosmic superteen gang The Ravers. I’d love them to show up. I predict the end of #5.

Very creative theory on the Benday dots, even if they were gone by the time of the Kid.