The pre-“Flashpoint” Superboy is a character that, over time, became especially beloved among fans. With that in mind, there’s also no denying that his early appearances in the “Adventures of Superman” issues of the “Reign of the Superman” era and the initial issues of “Superboy” featured a distinctly different character than when he first started out. It’s that brash, reckless Superboy that we’re getting here, courtesy of Fabian Nicieza, Karl Moline and Jose Marzan Jr., and the end result couldn’t help but bring a slight smile to my face.
Pitting Superboy against the “Kingdom Come” Superman is a clever move on Nicieza’s part; it matches youth against age, and the two characters couldn’t be about as far apart from one another. In many ways, it’s actually Superman who’s the hero here rather than Superboy. That’s a gutsy decision because, in other hands, this might have looked like the writer trashing the hero. Instead, Nicieza uses it as a stop along the hero’s journey. It’s a learning experience for Superboy, admittedly one with bad timing. Superboy’s heart is in the right place, but his lack of experience still shows. In the end, he’s not the hero that he’ll one day become, but he’s trying. Ultimately, this could have easily slotted in right after “Superboy” #8 (the last issue before “Zero Hour”) and worked quite well.
Moline and Marzan’s art is a great substitute for “Superboy” artist Tom Grummett, with a smooth and full art style. He gives a real feel for the huge amount of collateral damage being caused by the fight, so that you can believe that it would eventually destroy all of Metropolis if gone unchecked. From bits of fuselage flying off of a shattering plane to raging waters, nothing is safe and you really get the sense that these are two unstoppable forces squaring off against one another. There are also some great little moments, like Clark’s expression when he sees Lois or the way that he gently lays her form down after being injured. We don’t get nearly enough art from Moline, and this is a reminder why his career took off so quickly after drawing “Fray.”
“Convergence: Superboy” #2 takes a route that’s a little unexpected but oddly satisfying. It wraps up in a manner that most “Convergence” tie-ins wouldn’t have felt safe doing, but it works for these characters. In the end, Nicieza, Moline and Marzan remind us why we cared about Superboy even when he was early in his career and making a lot of mistakes; even at his worst, he’s still a lot of fun. That fun definitely comes to life here.