By: Rennie Cowan
Action, action and more action with some extra spice thrown in there! The artwork is exceptional; who doesn’t like to see that new black, Tron-like outfit? The storytelling, it works. That being said, Superboy #2 is moving fast and isn’t letting any other title pass it up! The secret weapon is finally unleashed (Superboy) and not in the most peaceful manner. Our clone, the Superboy, is a newborn and very unpredictable. You don’t want to get on his bad side, or his good side? He can’t necessarily control his telekinetic powers; in short, he kills and doesn’t show much mercy. He explains that he didn’t ask to be created, and so that’s why he kills. Good enough reason for you?
So Superboy kills Dr. White and all the others (except for Red, our redhead Senior Scientist who miraculously survived his first taste of freedom). Superboy is motivated by instinct; his will is to survive but as we go on, he begins to soul-search, trying to understand who he is and how far his powers can go. The reader follows and is engaged with him during this soul search, while some real questions emerge: can he be controlled? Will he become a hero or a foe?
The story flows as we get to read Superboy’s thoughts in red. The fact that his thoughts are in red says it all…DANGER! We, the audience, are the only ones who know what he is thinking. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has been Superboy’s only home and reality since birth; a virtual world. He is basically a blank slate, and we want to see more Superboy unleashed. An interesting character named Templar is honing a trench coat (a popular style for some of our favorite DC villains) and is apparently anxious to test the new clone. After all, the clone appears to be his property. But what makes the story unpredictable is Superboy’s reaction to instinct; we really don’t know what he will do. Though, writer Scott Lobdell should be commended; the reader actually cares about Superboy (an apparent killer). Templar isn’t concerned with whether or not Superboy is preserved, or a killer; we somehow dislike this Templar guy. Templar’s only agenda is to capture Red Robin and the others (read Teen Titans #1).
While N.O.W.H.E.R.E. attempts to transport Superboy to another facility called Pen 51 as “cargo” for his first mission, we learn that Superboy is being sent to restore order to an alien break-out. Superboy suspects there is something up with Templar and his first mission; Superboy’s telekinetic powers allow him to spread his mind outward to sense things. What is great about this new series is that it appears we are getting two tough female characters: Red and Rose Wilson. Rose had been hired to handle Superboy because (according to Templar) she treats him like a “caged lion who can maim or kill at any instant”. We are just as curious about Rose Wilson as we are about Red’s apparent survival during the beginning of the issue.
Red and Rose Wilson begin to argue about whether or not Superboy is a killer, building the anticipation – you want to see more bad Superboy. Red defends Superboy because he wears the famous “S” shield. But that doesn’t change anything, according to Rose. He is what he is, a killer. To tally up Superboy’s suspicions, we discover that Templar indeed orchestrated the entire mission. While at Pen 51, Superboy is attacked by a rather large Alien (reminds me of Doomsday) and Rose Wilson, honing two dangerous swords and a laser weapon of a sort helps to kill one of them – action all abound.
Rose heads back up to the aircraft but Superboy is left behind as he appears to be dragged below the surface. In fact, the entire surface sinks to a point of it being bottomless (kind of like what happened to Krypton in Donner’s Superman: The Movie). If Superboy wanted his freedom from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., then this would be his best opportunity. Or his last – the craft lifts off without Superboy. Rose, being the most protective of the clone, wants to go back down to save him. But the shuddering news is that there is no bottom. The Pilot refuses; his last words are, “Are you crazy, Lady…There isn’t even a ‘There’ left down there!” How’s that for a cliffhanger? Superboy #2 certainly wins the award.
At this point, we don’t really understand how Red survived Superboy’s violent release from his virtual reality at N.O.W.H.E.R.E., but leave it to DC Comics to dangle an interesting plot fact to be devoured later in Superboy #3. The new Superboy series is off to a running start; it has all the elements of action, intrigue and characterization. The new 52’s are gaining momentum, and I believe this series is going to blow the rest out of the water.
Overall Grade: 9.5/10