Like all of the other “Convergence” stories, the dome drops midway through “Convergence: Superboy” #1, setting up a conflict with a contingent alternate universe. Leading up to that moment and even during the initial phase of the conflict, writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Karl Moline transport readers back to the mid-1990s series from Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett.
From the playful “Don’t Mess with the ‘S'” cover from Babs Tarr to the final page where Kon-El ratchets up every ounce of teen attitude, “Convergence: Superboy” #1 is a magnificent throwback that takes the prescriptive formula for “Convergence” tie-ins and makes it fit into a story filled with character, energy, action and — surprise! — fun. Nicieza brings in all of the pieces that made Kesel’s run so fun and endearing. Kon-El is just enough of a jerk to be off-putting, but he’s also confident enough to leap into action, hoping to make a difference. Nicieza gives Kon a moment of reflection that propels the teen clone into action once the dome drops but underscores the uncertainty inherent in his character by keeping Dubbilex and crew close at hand.
Moline’s art is largely timeless, but the thicker ink lines from Jose Marzan Jr. give the drawings a flared finish, not unlike so many comics of the era. Marzan varies between the thicker, era-appropriate lines and more refined ones throughout the issue, offering a variety of appearances and tones throughout the comic. Moline’s storytelling is solid and his take on Kon-El should be held up as an example alongside Grummett’s for how to draw the leather jacket-wearing clone who once claimed to be Superman himself. The artist not only locks down Kon’s look, but he also draws a magnificent version of Dubbilex and a keenly detailed Cadmus laboratory. Working with Hi-Fi on the images, Moline and Marzan serve up some nice homages to Grummett, Jack Kirby and even Jerry Ordway while also bringing shadowy, ominous interpretations of a trio of “Kingdom Come” figures into this tale. Lanham, likewise, letters this comic in a style that becomes timeless, further making “Convergence: Superboy” #1 look as though it could have been a forgotten tale of yesteryear.
I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed reading the adventures of Kon-El from Kesel and Grummett. Nicieza, Moline, Marzan, Hi-Fi and Lanham bring it all flooding back and offer a story that has gravitas and spirit. Readers are given a chance to learn about Superboy and his predicament, both pre- and post-dome, and are invited to invest themselves in his story. Adding cache to that invitation, the “Convergence” matchup brings the setup of a story that isn’t far-fetched, especially for the Kesel/Grummett era. “Convergence: Superboy” #1 is one of the most enjoyable, fun and intriguing offerings that have spun out of the “Convergence” event and, at the very least, Nicieza and crew have rekindled my interest in reading (or re-reading) the adventures of Kon-El.