COMIC REVIEW: Superboy #11

 In the first proper issue since the Culling crossover event with Teen Titans, the now-liberated Superboy strives to set himself up as his own man, with the help of fellow Teen Titan Bunker.

The story, plotted by Scott Lobdell and scripted by Tom DeFalco, is meant as a standalone that details Superboy’s struggle to adapt to life in the real world and no longer as a N.O.W.H.E.R.E. organisation experiment. Bunker adds a human element to the story but the issue struggles in setting Superboy up as a convincing fully developed character and the topics covered in this issue are shallowly handled. Every line and action in the issue feels weak and two-dimensional and certain elements of the story are done so casually and without sufficient explanation that you are left with a feeling of frustration at how little is actually happening, despite the action towards the end.

Although the comic tries to be a self-contained story, it frequently throws in continuity links to other comics that actually deteriorate the quality of the story – especially since said links are more often than not plugs to past issues of Teen Titans. This bogs the book down in feeling like more of a Teen Titans complementary piece than a series in its own right, and it becomes a frustrating read because of it.

R.B. Silva’s art is the chief highlight of Superboy #11. As regular artist Silva has done a great job in visually defining the rebooted Superboy series. Although previous issues showed a mild flagging in his signature style, it is good to see he is back on form with this issue. His rounded somewhat cartoony characters are fun to look at and his action scenes are glorious in their widescreen approach. Nods should also go to the inkers (Rob Lean) and colourists (Richard and Tanya Horie), who are brilliant in giving Silva’s pencils the necessary punch to give the comic a satisfying visual feel.

It is unfortunate that the decent art by Silva is not supported by a quality story nor a strong and convincing lead character. For this reviewer this comic feels too much like a throwback to the dubious days of 1990s mainstream comics. This is unsurprising since Lobdell and DeFalco were prominent writers in that decade and it seems that their traditional writing style is starting to show its age.

In both the fictional and the real world Superboy needs to define his identity soon or his lifespan will be cut short well before its time.

GS Rating: 2/5

Reviewer: Dean Simons

 

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