If you’d told me a year ago a “Superboy” title resetting the origin of the character and helmed by Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva (and tying into “Teen Titans”) would turn into a fun little romp month-after-month, I’d have wondered what you were talking about. We’re seven issues into the new “Superboy” and Lobdell’s and Silva’s story about this new incarnation of Superboy being controlled by the evil N.O.W.H.E.R.E. goons has proven to be rather enjoyable.
Lobdell is joined this month by Tom DeFalco helping out on the script, but if his name hadn’t been in the opening credits I wouldn’t have noticed the pinch-hitting. (That’s a good thing on DeFalco’s part, who keeps the overall feel of the book intact.) Superboy going up against Rose Wilson is a long overdue clash and in general it’s nice to see Superboy finally breaking free of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. After all, there’s only so long you can read about your hero being the stooge of a nasty organization and it feels like Lobdell has paced this particular story out to just the right turning point.
“Superboy” also continues its unofficial monthly tie-ins with “Teen Titans,” which feels far more seamless than one might otherwise expect. It certainly helps that both are written by Lobdell, but I’ve liked the fact that each title can be read on its own without leaving the reader in the dark if they aren’t picking up the other title. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but it feels like it works here.
“Superboy” #7 continues to mix old and new faces together. Old Wildstorm fans might be surprised to see an old favorite in a slightly different form appear here for the first time (and trust me, it’s not who you think it might be) and I’m always a little tickled when Centerhall shows up in his Jack Kirby-designed Guardian outfit. There’s also a great blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance with an old Grant Morrison-created foe of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. here; Lobdell is clearly having a lot of fun bringing all these faces into the title and I’m pleased with how well he’s blending them in. The plot itself is good too. The fight scenes here feel like there’s a storytelling purpose behind them and they do a good job of building suspense towards the overall arching plot.
R.B. Silva’s art looks clean and beautiful as always; the amount of detail he’s able to pack into the pages while still making everything look uncluttered is a rare skill. That opening splash page of Rose Wilson flying through the air, for example, has tons of background detail rather than just a generic hallway, but your eyes still directly focus on Rose rather than the microscope or the glowing red lights. It’s only when you stop and look closer than everything starts to pop out. His figures look great too; nice sweeping locks of hair, uncluttered faces, strong sense of anatomy and an immense amount of energy for the fast-moving scenes. Iban Coello steps in this month to pencil three pages and he’s a good choice to help out. Coello’s art shares similar clean and uncluttered qualities and they slot in well with the overall package.
“Superboy” is, month in and month out, a fun comic and this issue’s no exception. This might have been a book that few had high hopes for (since the previous run by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo had been enjoyable), but it’s turned into a very pleasant surprise. So long as Lobdell and Silva are on board, so am I.