“Superboy” from Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva was an early favorite of mine from the “New 52” launch a year ago, and it’s nice to see Silva still on board the title. But with relatively new addition Tom DeFalco now helming the book, it’s a slightly different title than when it first began. Unfortunately, this potential jumping-on point feels like it’s urging readers to jump in the other direction instead.
One of the early missteps is that the book is primarily narrated by Harvest, who was not only the villain of “The Culling” crossover earlier this year, but also probably the worst thing about the first year of the “Superboy” title. He’s an uninteresting, cliched villain who does everything but twirl a proverbial mustache. Starting on page 5, that’s who’s telling the story of Superboy’s creation. While he was indeed a part of the Superboy project, there were other ways for DeFalco to tell this story (another viewpoint, for example) without focusing so much on this character that gets worse with each appearance.
“Superboy” #0 also makes the mistake of lecturing the reader rather than immersing them in the story. Ignoring the fact that we still don’t know why or how Harvest knows so much about Krypton’s history, having him provide long descriptions of the times when Krypton created their own clones is dull at best. It’s not engaging to the reader, and is in many ways exactly how you shouldn’t go about telling an origin story.
The last big misstep of “Superboy” #0 is that aside from one tiny germ of information about Superboy’s programming in relation to Superman, there’s nothing both new and interesting here for people who already read “Superboy” #1-12. It’s a lengthy rehash of either information we already knew, or a dull lecture on Krypton’s history. It’s a bad way to treat the people who bought the last twelve issues of your comic, and it’s going to make them rethink buying another twelve.
The saving grace of “Superboy” #0, though, is the art courtesy Silva and Rob Lean. It looks great as ever; a nice smooth line, carefully shaped characters, and all in all an attractive look. The Krypton sequences have a certain Walter Simonson flair to those pages, which is a nice surprise, and it’s a reminder that Silva does more than just draw attractive characters. (Or deliberately grotesque ones, in the case of Harvest and Omen.)
“Superboy” is a title that I’ve wanted to continue to like, post-Lobdell, but “Superboy” #0 is the most disappointing issue of the series yet. The book is feeling like it’s in a standstill more and more, and this lengthy recap with little new material isn’t helping shake that problem. If things don’t pick up quickly, not even the beautiful art from Silva will be able to keep me around much longer.