Friday, September 30, 2016

Sins of Youth: Superman Jr. & Superboy Sr. #1

The Adventures of Superboy ... When He Was a Man!

Karl Kesel – Writer
Rob Haynes – Artist
Ken Lopez – Letterer
David Self – Colorist
Mike McAvennie – Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Cover by Mike Wieringo & Terry Austin. Colors by Tanya & Richard Horie.

Wieringo's young Superman looks awesome — no surprise there. But his old Superboy looks a little wonky, like his face is stretched out. It's still better than any of the art inside this issue, though. Anyway, I figure now is a good time to briefly review the history of Superboy. Originally, back in the Golden Age of comics, DC began publishing stories of Superman ... when he was a boy. He was still the same Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent, just in a flashback, because he apparently decided to become Superboy before he became Superman. That idea lasted for nearly half a century until Crisis on Infinite Earths reset the continuity and created a reality where Clark Kent didn't put on a cape until he was an adult. The Superboy we know and love, Kon-El, was created in a Cadmus lab after Superman was killed by Doomsday in the early '90s. So this issue is kind of a sweet callback to those original Superboy stories.

Now, to keep things straight, I'm going to call the real Superman Clark and the real Superboy Kon. With these two characters, it gets real confusing real quick using "man," "boy," "sr.," or "jr." This is even confusing for the characters in the story. Anyway, our story begins with Kon finding Clark in Metropolis, battling a random villain and getting his butt kicked. Kon helps stop the villain, but he's not used to his new powers, especially heat vision, and he ends up causing more damage than he intended. This is all caught on live TV, and a reporter criticizes the heroes for their reckless behavior. Clark wants to teach that reporter a lesson in journalism, but Kon holds him back.

Clark and Kon have a quiet moment to talk, and Clark says he's weaker than he normally is as an adult, but is stronger than he really was a teenager. (This seemingly inconsistent change in powers is actually consistent among the regressed heroes in Sins of Youth. Wally West is slower now as a teenager, but he retained some of the new abilities he recently acquired as an adult.) Clark admits that he's worried about his wife, Lois Lane, and he decides to tell Kon his secret identity, which Kon already knew. Unlike Wally, Clark doesn't want his wife to see him as a kid, so he dresses Kon up in a suit coat and glasses, and has him call Lois from a nearby building. But Kon messes it up, and Lois assumes Jimmy Olsen is playing a prank on her, so she hangs up and rushes off to her interview with the Flash (which didn't turn out too well as we saw in the Impulse/Kid Flash issue).

Our heroes are then attacked by Match, the Grey Lady and Blockade. During the course of the fight, Kon's heat vision again gets the better of him, and he accidentally brings down a building on top of Clark. Grey Lady stops fighting allegedly because she saw some old friends in the nearby crowd (the story wasn't entirely clear on this point). Kon wants to take the injured Clark to a hospital, but he doesn't want to risk another Agenda attack with so many civilians nearby. So Kon agrees to surrender to Agenda if they promise to heal the teenage Superman.

And while all this was happening, Klarion ... bum, bum, BUM ... the Witch Boy went off to outer space in a Star Trek-like uniform and a Borg-like eyepiece for Teekl. Klarion turns Maxima into a teenager, dubbing her Minima.

Sadly, this issue doesn't have a CDTV News update. Sadder still, this issue suffered from the worst art we've seen in Sins of Youth so far. Rob Haynes' style is definitely not my style. It almost made this issue unbearable. I also have to make a rare complaint about the letterer. Many of the speech bubbles didn't have enough white space inside them, causing a bunch of words to be running into the edge of the bubbles. It was pretty annoying. But other than that, it wasn't too bad of an issue. We didn't have a whole lot of funny moments — mostly serious, emotional stuff with Superboy mourning the loss of his girlfriend, who was killed just hours ago, and the rather interesting, awkward dynamic between Superman and Superboy. The stuff with the Point Men felt rushed, which is a shame, because I think this issue was supposed to show the Point Men beginning to rebel against their Agenda handlers. But we barely caught a small glimpse of that. So if you add up all these frustrations, this issue is a bit of a disappointment.

Up next is Part 10 of this 12-part event, Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls #1.

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