Less than a year after it began, Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo's new "Superboy" title comes to a sudden conclusion, with the re-launch of DC Comics just two weeks away. And while Lemire (thanks to getting two issues this month) is able to wrap up his main story about the Hollow Men... well, don't expect everything to get neatly wrapped up.
The Hollow Men story itself has a slightly strange ending until you look at it as part of the bigger picture that Lemire was working towards. Superboy's contributions to the conclusion, despite this being his book, aren't actually that large. What we do get, though, is Lemire building a group of friends around Superboy. Once you look at it that way, it's not a bad conclusion at all. Superboy wins not just because he's super-powered, but because he has a good group assembled around him who all care about one another and work together to save the day.
Still, even with that theme in mind, it's not one of Lemire's strongest issues. Some bits are referenced but never concluded (like Psion's mission from the future), and we get the same "Simon gets attacked and Lori has to use his devices to save the day" sequence twice in under 20 pages. There's too much out of the blue, and it hangs together a bit loosely in more than one place.
Gallo's art is on par with his previous comics; it's a little stiff in spots, but his designs are good and there are always some dead-on great panels, like Psion waking up, or the image of all of the minds that Psion can see. Looking back to his first issues of "Superboy," though, Gallo's already gotten stronger since then; in another year or so he's going to be knocking people's socks off at the rate he's improving.
This eleven-issue run of "Superboy" is one that-regardless of how good next month's re-launch is-will be missed. It might not have been perfect, but it had a strong theme running through its issues, and Lemire and Gallo created a fun Smallville that you'd actually want to visit thanks to the stories they told there. Creating a "Superboy" comic in the 21st century might have looked like a thankless task, but Lemire and Gallo showed that it was still possible. Good job, guys.