Waiting For The Trade – Superboy: The Boy of Steel

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colourist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Steve Wands

Collects: Adventure Comics #0-4

After the shocking and cataclysmic events of Infinite Crisis—at least from my point of view—I was in a snit with Geoff Johns. He had killed Conner / Kon-El / Superboy, and my heart was broken. Not even the oft-mooted, “At least it wasn’t Nightwing” could appease me. Sure, I knew why; that court case and also the symbolic need to kill off a member of the Superfamily in each Crisis, but still… Geoff Johns killed Superboy and made me cry.

And then came Legion of Three Worlds, wherein Geoff Johns made me cry again, but for a happier reason this time (reviewed in a sadly Ang-less episode of Waiting For The Trade), And this brings me to the actual meat of this review, the return of Superboy to his proper time and his own title, the second volume of Adventure Comics and his adjustment from being well…. dead to being very much alive. A lot can happen in a year and having missed Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P. Conner has a lot of reading catching-up to do.

Conner Kent is once again living in Smalville with Martha Kent and Krypto. The death of Pa Kent has clearly affected him, and Conner seems rather humbled and grateful for every sunrise, which is a nice little touch. He’s re-enrolled in Smallville High and has embarked on a mission (for want of a better word) to understand both of his heritages better. Superman is easy… live with Ma, go to school at Smallville High, help people, but understanding Lex Luthor is much more complicated. This does re-tread old ground as Conner went through similar in Teen Titans after discovering that Luthor was his other “father”, but I can forgive Johns as it’s got to be pretty traumatic to have Lex Luthor for a father.

We see Conner reconciling with Cassie (Wondergirl) with a moonlit floating picnic—why has no one ever taken me on a date like that?—and also catching up with Tim (now Red Robin) in Paris. Both of these relationships are given a gratifying amount of page-space and provide a real ‘feel-good’ element to the book.

While all the schmaltzy stuff is going on, Lex Luthor and Brainiac have escaped their incarceration and have come to Smallville at Luthor’s behest to find Conner, as Luthor wants to retrieve his ‘property’. This leads to some interesting character development and some discoveries about Luthor’s early life in Smallville which I won’t spoil you for.

I must talk about the art for a moment. The pencils are glorious; light, fluid and dynamic. Extra-special kudos to Brian Buccellato whose colouring has created a beautiful book—I love the wistful, nostalgic colouring used in flashbacks or memory sequences. It’s just a beautiful book in terms of art.

All in all, this is a superb new beginning for Superboy in the current DCU and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of him. And for the record… this time Geoff Johns made me smile lots.

Reviewer: Angela Williams

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