Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
Now that the Blackest Night tie in with Superboy Prime is over, issue #6 brings the book back to the real Superboy – Conner Kent. This series has followed Superboy trying to figure out if he is more like Superman or Lex Luthor, the two whose DNA he is made from. This issue ends that, with Superboy coming to a conclusion about himself.
Superboy obviously has some parenting issues. Who wouldn’t when one of your “fathers” is Lex Luthor? His worries about any influence genetics may have on personality make sense, as does the conclusion he reaches. Johns develops a good characterization of Superboy with Superboy’s own self assessment in his journal, and Johns satisfyingly ties it up here.
Also done quite well is adding Krypto. He adds some light-hearted moments here and there, but he never feels tacked on. The “boy and his dog” story meshes quite well and helps ground the story even more. After all, a boy searching for who he is with his pet dog in tow is a pretty down-to-earth story, and that is ultimately what this arc has been about.
My favorite part of this issue though has to be the excellent example of a universal truth of Superman – Lex Luthor is a dick.
Lex Luthor is perhaps simultaneously at his best and worst here dealing with what little is left of his family. Johns manages to humanize Lex just enough to make his subsequent action seem all the more evil and true to form without making any of it seem out of character. You’ll think he’s more of an asshole than Silver Age Superman by the end of the issue.
Interestingly enough, this issue reinforces the fact that in this continuity, Superman was the first Superboy in his youth. Unless that’s an editorial screw up, that is. I lose track of the times Superman has and hasn’t been Superboy in his past.
The main problem here just seems to be a missing page, or at least a panel or two. On one page, there’s a super fight, the two villains are apart and a character held at gun point. The next, the bad guys are together again and running away. There’s a gap that doesn’t explain either villain’s break away from the specific situation they were in, and it can take a reader out of the book for a moment.
Generally though, this is a good ending to a good tale reintegrating Superboy back into the DC universe. It’s not perfect or groundbreaking, but it’s a nice read.
There’s a very soft penciled feel here. The outlines and details have little nicks and extensions that are typically cleaned up and smoothed over in a lot of comics. The colors and the gradients into different shades are also softer and subtle here, using earthier tones.
With that said, there is the occasional variation from softness to sharpness in lining that doesn’t stay consistent. It’s minor but noticeable.
The detail here is pretty good too. From the worn fabric and frayed edges of Superboy’s shirt to making out Krypto’s hair, the characters are pretty well drawn. Even going into the setting like blades of grass and wood grain in broken walls, everything is drawn with attention to detail.
Manapul amazingly manages to capture the humanized Lex Johns writes into the story. Even if it’s just one panel, Manapul shows us a Lex that may actually care for someone other than himself without actually confirming it.
Also got to enjoy a cover that actually happens.
I genuinely liked this issue. It’s nice character development for the Boy of Steel. It’s a human story, and it’s got the looks to match.
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10