(p) RB Silva
Alright. Here’s the situation — the ‘New 52’ Superboy has become so dull and drab for me that I’m pretty much done with it. I’ve been holding onto the Boy of Steel’s series because, to be frank, I used to really like Superboy as a character. His origin and personal motivations were so much different and unique from almost any other hero in the DC or Marvel universe. Once upon a time, Superboy had to learn how he fit into the world by actually trying to fit in, he used to want more from life than just satisfaction in proving emotional misgivings. These days, Superboy has been reduced to the comparable importance of a stage prop — there’s no personality behind his vacant eyes, no longer does he want to be a functioning member of society, and his overall attitude is just unbecoming.
I’ve commented before about Superboy’s seemingly erratic judgements between right and wrong. In Superboy #14, Kon-El finally manages to be the biggest dick he can be by whining about not having any friends or close relationships, then bluntly pushing away those attempting to be the friends he needs. After accosting Jocelyn Lure — a woman claiming to be from the future, come back to look out for Superboy — Superboy ditches her (for reasons that might be completely justifiable, but I’ll never know because that whole story happens in Legion Lost, which I don’t read…thanks, DC) and flies off to his apartment where he finds fellow Teen Titan Bunker waiting for him. Instead of being a normal person, Superboy immediately accuses Miguel of breaking and entering. The least insufferable Teen Titan kindly reminds his asshole teammate that they had plans to hang out and that it was, in fact, Superboy who had made the gaffe by forgetting.
And I haven’t even mentioned H’el yet.
Thus far, the only time we’ve seen the (I assume) rogue Kryptonian is at the end of Superman #13, which was a prologue to the “H’el on Earth” event. There, H’el is only on the last page, and he doesn’t even interact with Superman or Supergirl. Here, in Superboy #14, Tom DeFalco apparently assumes we all just know who H’el is, why he’s doing what he’s doing, and what he can do powers-wise. Seriously, I have no idea how DC or any of the creative teams working on “H’el on Earth” could possibly think it was alright to just throw readers into the deep end like this. Granted, the fight between Superboy and H’el is awesome, but there’s no context to it, so it’s just frustratingly confusing. I couldn’t help but wonder the entire time how this all came to be. How did H’el find Superboy? Does this issue take place before, after, or concurrently to Superman #13? Why does H’el seem to have green TK powers, but keeps on insulting Superboy and his TK powers? Why were the Teen Titans even included in this issue if H’el was just going to wipe them away with a single attack?
This is an issue of comics embroiled in the non-explained. That’s a ridiculous, weird sentence because it’s the only way I can think to express how terrible Superboy #14 was by the end. I keep holding out, hoping that Superboy will improve, that it will become something greater than a sad excuse for a story about a sad clone. ‘Sad Clone’ sounds like a witty, off-beat, and zany mini-series by Grant Morrison, not the theme to a series about Superboy.