- Written by Niam Suggitt, Kelly Symmonds, Brad Thomson and Sakie on Sunday, October 09 2011 and posted in Reviews
DC Reviewer: Sakie
One of the biggest arguments in this whole DCnU debate seems to revolve around the speculation of how certain pieces of DC's past can remain unchanged while others are completely rebooted. How can "Event A" have happened if "Character W" was never killed during "Event B?" and so on and so forth. DCnU's Superboy #1 is an interesting look into the philosophy that some events still happened but they may not have happened the way that we, the reader, remember them. This version of Superboy is still a partial clone of Superman, splicing his kryptonian DNA with human DNA. Prior to the relaunch it was common knowledge that the donor of the human DNA was none other than Superman's arch-nemesis himself, Lex Luthor, however, this may no longer be the case. Instead of being created by Cadmus, Superboy is now created by the equally mysterious Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
Superboy #1 is told from the perspective of Superboy and briefly from the perspective of a biophysicist named "Umber," while concentrating on the going ons around them. The opening of the story finds Superboy becoming "aware" within the confines of his test tube. While other scientists speculate that he is only a thing and not alive, Dr. Caitlin Fairchild speculates that since he is partially alien his body functions may be operating at levels that we can not begin to fathom. It is clear that while the other researchers at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. treat Superboy as nothing more than an object, Fairchild cares for his well being. When they attempt to terminate the project, Superboy violently breaks free laying waste to the laboratory in the process.
One month later, Superboy is enrolled in high school "somewhere in the heart of Kansas." He meets and becomes friends with Rose Wilson. The pair walk home together after school, they discuss Superboy's lack of memory prior to arriving in this town and they casually flirt with each other, completely ignoring a woman who is screaming for help from a burning building they walk directly in front of. Eventually this is revealed to all be part of a virtual reality simulation that N.O.W.H.E.R.E is using to test Superboy. The researchers believe they have Superboy fooled but through his internal monologue it is clear that he is aware of everything going on around him. Rose Wilson is revealed to be one of Superboy's "handlers" and the aforementioned Dr. Umber is secretly sending Lois Lane top secret information about Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. The story ends almost exactly in the same was that Teen Titans #1 ends as Zaniel Templar orders Fairchild to release Superboy to deal with Red Robin and his Teen Titans.
As far as accessibility is concerned, this issue is one of the DCnU's finest examples of blending the old DC's history with the DCnU's quest for new readers. There is enough here to be familiar to long time readers while also explaining to new readers who Superboy is and why he isn't simply a younger version of Superman.
Scott Lobdell really makes up for his horrible offering in Red Hood and the Outlaws with this issue. This is one of the few DCnU titles that really has me looking forward to the future rather than looking back at the past. Silva's art leaves a little to be desired at times but it really works well with the story.
Total Score: 86
Final 52apolooza Score: 335 (Average Score: 83.75)
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt, Kelly Symmonds, Brad Thomson and Sakie
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