Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Review: Superboy Man of Tomorrow #2

Superboy Man of Tomorrow #2 came out last week and was another entertaining issue in this solo mini-series for Conner.

As I have said before, I am glad that Conner is getting this issue. He has kind of languished a bit here in the DCU. Now the spotlight is on him. One thing that I find interesting is that in the current DCU, Conner is the young, brash, impetuous member of the super-family. Kara and Jon are long in the tooth, established heroes in comparison. And that sort of unpolished, youthful hero image fits Conner well. 

In fact, one thing that I like writer Kenny Porter is doing is having Conner really strive to live up to the examples of the other super-family. We hear him talking about the other members with respect. He talks about trying to be like them. Or maybe it is better that he is trying to be himself with them being role models. He is applying that sort of example to the Cosmoteers.

Jahnoy Lindsay continues to bring a stylized art to the proceedings. It just leans a little into cartoon, a little into anime, without overdoing it. That sort of wild energy is also perfect for a Conner book as well. 

On to the book. 

Last issue, Superboy was fighting off a bunch of amped up, Dominator-cloned. super-soldiers when The Cosmoteers arrived. But this group of 'heroes' is a 'punch first, ask questions later' bunch. When the Dominators flee, they turn their attention to fighting Superboy.

Even when Conner tries to calm ever one down, they continue to fight.

I like how he brings up Superman and Supergirl as names the Cosmoteers should recognize. And when it looks like the fight is going to happen, Conner talks about doling out 'a right hook Kara would be proud of ...'

Conner is trying to represent the S-shield like those heroes.

That fight is interrupted when one last Dominator soldier shows up, a massive snake-like being.

Again, the Cosmoteers lash out, not caring if the bystanders are hurt. The giant snake almost crushes them all! Thankfully Conner is there to try and show them the error of their ways

I love that he is the voice of reason and maturity! I suppose that is part of the reason for this odyssey of his.

He in fact says the same. Taken out and power-dampened by the Cosmoteers, he sulks in their ship's hold saying he asked just for this. He wanted to be on his own fighting the bad guys.

You get the sense that part of this series' plot is Conner growing up a bit. Maybe he sees a little bit of his past self in the Cosmoteers.

We get some exposition from the Cosmoteers and the similarities between them and Conner becomes more apparent.

They were clones, grown in tubes (by the Dominators), set up to be living weapons. The problem is they were too uncontrollable for the Dominators. 

They escape and decide to stop the Dominators from doing more experiments.

Now the reflections between Conner's own origins and their origins are pretty rampant here. And just like Superman tried to mentor 'The Kid' back then now Conner feels like he has to do the same.

I like this, setting up the Cosmoteers as what Superboy could have been if he lacked the mentoring of the super-family.

Because they are brash, heading right to the Dominator main science ship and attacking head on. They break in to try and rescue other beings being experimented on. But they aren't as powerful as they expect. 

Thankfully Conner breaks out of their ship's jail to join the fray.

This is a great near splash by Lindsay. But the words add to the power. Conner needs to show the Cosmoteers how to act. Their impulses won't save lives. And he has to show them what The House of El can offer.

Pretty cool. 

It's even better. After saving the Cosmoteers, Conner reads them the riot act.

Keeping people alive isn't a weakness. 

"If you want to be better than everyone else, you have to do better than everyone else."

I love that. I love that it is Conner saying it, a lesson he has probably learned. And he is topping it off by shoving a finger in in their faces.

Then we get this moment at the end which caps the book.

The Cosmoteers fly off but are being shot at by a Khundian fleet. It looks pretty hopeless.

But then Superboy gets an idea. Maybe now is the time not to think about what Superman would do. It is time to think what would Conner Kent do?

He can strive to be like Superman, but he can be himself.

If this is a journey of self-discovery, this is a great moment to end the issue on. After a whole issue talking about Superman and Supergirl and the House of El, he finally talks about being himself.

This is a fun issue and what is turning into a fun series. If you like Conner and have missed him, this feels classic but is also pushing his character forward. That works for me.

Overall grade: B+

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