Sunday, September 18, 2011

Comics Review: An Intellectual Reboot For Superboy #1

"Death Boy" and "Tezzer" Web-comic creator and writer Ian Austin delves into the DC-52 relaunch of "Superboy #1" and was surprised to find it an entertaining, intellectual reboot of the character.

Find out what Ian thought of "Superboy #1" right here:


Most of my knowledge regarding Superboy comes from "Smallville", which doesn't speak much for my experiences and for any 'fan' status regarding the prior incarnations of this character. Or the character as formerly detailed in DC comics material.

The exceptions are his roles in "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" and "Blackest Night". But as that was solely focused on his ressurection in the former, and him spending a plethora of time being evil in the latter, I think it's safe to say that I, being borderline illiterate when it comes to the character, is the target for audience.

And I dug it.

I think most of the reason for that is that Superboy, as rebooted, has MEGA similarities to Daredevil. The rejigged character has amplified senses, making him more than human and allowing him to see things on another wavelength to the average person. Which, seeing as he's an Alien-human hybrid, makes sense. It also allows him to come across Brainiac-esque, slightly detached from everything as if he's always putting how things work into a puzzle format.

Which is an interesting twist given how Superboy, previously, was pushing his Alien side as far away as possible. Here, he knows that he's different straight away and seems intrigued by the contradictions prevalent in his being. This is shown via an experimental Virtual Reality simulation that Superboy is hooked up to, where they test his empathy levels admist testing his perspective. It's an interesting way to explore the characters inherent nature, and is rather brilliantly subverted with the reveal that Superboy KNOWS he's in a Virtual Reality simulation.

The constant twists in this tale serve to make it akin to a chess game, Superboy fighting a mysterious covert group, his fascination with a redheaded scientist, all the while trying to uncover who he really is. He never plays his hand too much, and in snappily drawn and written pages is allowed to wax existentially while allowing everyone else to think they're deciding his fate. Even when he 'snaps' at the end, it feels like part of a bigger plan than anyone else expects.

I think that's why this piece works. Superboy isn't portrayed as Superman lite, he's being repositioned as a character existing mainly on an intelligence founding. In that regard, a mix between Superman, Brainiac-Five and Lex Luthor. The strength of the first, the mind of the second, and the ever so slight sociopathy of the third.

If they keep this up, Superboy could quickly become a breakout character. He's always struggled to have his own identity, and this could be the start of something special. Especially given his keen intellect, notably the way he seems to be pitting everyone against each other. While the cliffhanger suggests he's going to be infiltrating the Teen Titans as a weapon, one feels a bigger story is building.


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