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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superboy Comics

Superboy #4

Superboy #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 14, 2011

Cover date: February 2012

"Wise Men Need Not Apply"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: R. B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean
Cover: Shane Davis with Sandra Hope & Barbara Ciardo

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Caitlin 'Red' Fairchild gets mad and hulks out.

She reveals to Superboy that she's a Gen Active, one of thirteen, and the only person on his side that had been covering up his mistakes and crimes. Superboy wrongly assumes it's all for and about him though Caitlin is about to reveal more, like the fact she is immune to his TK. Her mistake was activating her Gen powers because doing so enabled N.O.W.H.E.R.E to uncover her existence. While Superboy incapacitates her with debris, a retrieval team headed by a one-eyed man named Centerhall arrive and whisk Red away.

Centerhall tells Superboy that Caitlin was a mole using the company's resources against them. He also refuses to reveal Caitlin's ultimate fate but offers something new... The 'truth' about his origins AND the freedom to come and go from N.O.W.H.E.R.E as he pleases. Zaniel and Caitlin treated Superboy as a prisoner, Centerhall instead is offering a deal. His freedom for a mission to capture Wonder Girl.

Centerhall reveals that the many factions of the company developed each strand of Superboy's DNA independently using Kryptonian DNA and an unknown human donor's DNA.

Superboy asks for time to think about it all and is taken aback when Centerhall agrees, as long as when he's ready he activates an electronic key. So Superboy sets off and seven days later he arrives in New York, puzzled as to why Centerhall did everything he did in opposition to what he'd always been accustomed to.

He doesn't realize it's the Christmas season and when carolers sing to him he uses his TK to slam them into each other and then the snow because they were annoying him. Superboy finds faith absurd, especially as he runs off cold facts about the human race to the frightened people.

Looking at the city now from above, Superboy admits he is as puzzled about people as people are about him. He questions people's need for faith rather than fact, and upon seeing a Christmas tree he promptly sets it on fire while onlookers stare shocked at the scene.

While Superboy ponders his life questions, the two teens that had robbed a convenience store now sit in a crowded restaurant - crowded with dead bodies. The two are enjoying a dinner in a top floor eatery entertained by a terrified classical band.

As boredom strikes they pick a band member and hurl him out of he window just as Superboy is hovering by. Although he shouldn't care Superboy feels a compulsion to intervene and stops the man from dying and heads towards the restaurant.

The two diners laugh off Superboy's puffed up chest routine and prepare for a face off. They reveal they too are metas. He can stretch like Plastic Man while she has pyro powers. Superboy enjoys the fight that ensues unsure why his unleashing power makes him feel so good, equally so as when he fights for justice for the dead people in the restaurant.

Superboy used the electronic key and explains to Centerhall that he's not completely ready to be free and that he will honor the deal to hunt down Wonder Girl.

To be continued in Teen Titans #4 with a prequel in Superboy #5...

2Story - 2: A mess. After all the build up, Caitlin (obviously a Gen13) is simply nudged away to an unknown fate. Big bad Zaniel is a footnote and Centerhall is obviously a manipulator. The evil lovers are dispatched promptly after a pointless lead in. The Christian faith trashing thinly veiled as Superboy's analysis of faith over fact was well done albeit questionable. Superboy's new origin is that his DNA is a mix of Kryptonian and an anonymous human donor... so not much different to before. Not sure how to describe the story... After four long months we are literally nowhere.

5Art - 5: The art is a saving grace. It is engaging and far less focused on the physical form of women. This issue is all about the outside world and it's nicely done. I think the style of the art is all that's keeping me loyal to the story. I sincerely hope the writing moves on to match the art.

4Cover Art - 4: I like the art here but I'm a little annoyed that the powers the bad guys have are spoiled on the cover. Superboy in the book, so far, seems almost unbeatable and cocky with it. Nice to see him facing a challenge here.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2012

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