Four issues in, I’m starting to feel like “Superboy” is settling in and getting a bit into its own groove. A lot of that has to do with writer Jeff Lemire, whose big-picture plotting is turning into something that snaps together more than it initially seemed.
Take for instance, the first story, where at the end it turned out to all be a plot of the mysterious Hollow Men, connected to something called the Broken Silo. With this new story, it felt like the first story was being put on hold for a while. Instead, Psionic Lad’s story is getting pulled into the greater framework, with Simon having the good sense to use Psionic Lad’s powers to try and figure out more about the Broken Silo. It’s a fun little moment, one that opens up the existing subplot rather than burying it, and it rewards readers who stick around.
As for the main story itself, it’s not bad. Psionic Lad is an entertaining enough character, and I like that Lemire is continuing to flesh out Simon and Lori, both characters created by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul on their short-lived “Adventure Comics” run. Superboy comes off a little dim and overly trusting in places, but overall he’s not fairing badly under Lemire, and he’s an earnest enough character that you want him to do well.
Pier Gallo’s art, frustratingly, is uneven throughout the comic. There are some parts that look great: the circuit-board pattern of Psionic Lad’s powers, for instance, or the full-page splash of Mr. Gillam’s face with small panels sprinkled over top as the memories bubble up. And half of the time, Superboy himself looks great, like a real high school boy. But there’s a certain inconsistency to the art; the Superboy in the bedroom with Psionic Lad looks like a completely different character than the one talking to Lori just a page later, for instance, going from a doughy face and limp hair to a leaner look. And while I love the layout of the opening two-page splash where Superboy flies through the line of attackers, Superboy himself looks somewhat awkwardly posed. I do think that Gallo’s art is already looking better than in the previous issues, though, so this is hopefully a case where the longer Gallo is on board the stronger he’ll get.
Bit by bit, “Superboy” is finding its own voice. I like how Lemire is building his stories in a way that click together, and as said before, Gallo’s art is slowly improving. This is a book to keep an eye on. Right now it’s good, but in a year’s time it could quite easily be great.