Superboy is back home. This issue starts out with Superboy reveling in how great it is to be back in Smallville while Smallville itself is building a case to change its name to Weirdsville. Lemire does a very nice job of setting a great deal in motion in this comic quickly, but he does so while spinning it all out from and around Superboy. The story is nowhere near an epic tale, nor is it a quiet little tale of the personal life and troubled times of young Conner Kent. It’s a superhero tale, sprinkled with mystery and seasoned with teenaged drama. The Rafael Albuquerque cover works symbolically in that this book is a fitting replacement for those of us comic book readers who miss the Jaime Reyes “Blue Beetle” title. It’s got a similar vibe: sharp, witty, fun, and entertaining.
Pier Gallo’s art is spot-on for this adventure. From the cornfields to the brickwork of downtown Smallville, Gallo fills this title with detail. This story involves high school, Krypto, Ma Kent, a tractor in the fields, Phantom Stranger, another stranger, Parasite, and Superboy – both in and out of his civilian identity. Gallo tackles every aspect quite nicely, with one exception: Conner’s glasses. That may seem nitpicky, sure, but if the glasses are going to be a part of who Conner is or who he projects himself to be, then the glasses are as important a detail as Conner’s hair or his “S”-emblazoned t-shirt. Other than that, the art is pretty solid, except Jamie Grant’s colors need some help. The skin tones and coloring in and around the eyes of the characters in this book seem a little too reliant on dodges and burns, and less comprised of layers, gradients, and shading. The coloring of things around Smallville – water towers, buildings, even the Parasite – is strong, bright, and nicely done, but the skin tones are a little too much in more than one instance.
For the second week in a row, I grabbed a book that my editor also critiqued over on Pipeline, so see what he has to say, why don’t you? Like Augie, I enjoyed much of the series starring Superboy from the 1990s, especially the Grummett and Kesel art. I had extremely low expectations of this title going in, but strongly considered buying this book solely for the Albuquerque cover. Lemire, however, has locked me in with this first issue. This is a great first issue that offers a lot of promise and delivers one hell of a fun read.
CBR also scored a handy-dandy preview, if you need some more criteria to fuel your purchasing decision on. I say give this book a whirl. You don’t need that boring-decompressed-nothing-happening-issue from that title that you really only buy for completionist purposes anyway. This is one of those extremely rare five-star reviews: a book so enjoyable I’m going to recommend it to others and even share my own personal copy. Right after I read it again.