This week in the Convergence tie-ins, the cities of the pre-Zero Hour universe (basically the DC Universe in the late 80s and early 90s) fight the cities from the Kingdom Come universe, which was seen in the seminal comic of the same name by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. It features a world where great heroes, like Superman, have retired and have been replace by their less responsible counterparts.
Convergence: Superboy #1 is about Kon-El, a clone of Superman grown in Cadmus Labs, who was supposed to take his place after he died in the “Death of Superman” storyline. In this issue, he has lost his powers, but regains them when the dome comes down and mysterious superheroes start attacking him. Convergence: Superboy #1 is written by Fabian Nicieza (X-Force) with pencils by Karl Moline (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), inks by Jose Marzan Jr (Y: The Last Man) and colors by Hi-Fi (Justice League).
Can new readers jump into this comic without knowing anything about this version of Superboy?
I don’t feel like I’m qualified to answer this question because I’ve read the “Reign of Supermen” story where he first shows up. But new readers will probably be bored by the info dump nature of the early part of this story, which uses a lot of omniscient narrator type caption boxes and spends its time explaining what’s going on in the panel instead of exploring Superboy’s character or his scientist friends. Luckily, Karl Moline’s art is clean and easy on the eyes, showing the pain and anger in this young man, who just got Superman’s powers and lost them almost instantaneously.
What’s the art like?
Karl Moline’s pencils are tight and expertly rendered, and the fight scenes are easy to follow with thick speed lines, lightning, and heavy red colors from Hi-Fi when Kingdom Come Flash shows up. Moline shows Superboy’s glee and fear when he gets his powers back through his reactions to people around him, who go from wrinkled old people to creepy skeleton. This short scene does a better job showing Superboy’s uncomfortableness with his nature than the huge spoonfuls of narration that have been doled out throughout this issue.
Hi-Fi’s colors add a digital sheen to sheer amount of superpowers and destruction being thrown around this issue giving it a cinematic quality even though the building after building gets toppled in a manner that’s a little too close to the third act of Man of Steel. The play between the various colors (red for Flash, black for Dick Grayson, and blue for Superboy) keeps the fight scenes clear even though there isn’t much at stake. Moline also switches up panel shapes when different characters into action, like Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis.
Should I pick this book up?
Even if you’re the biggest fan of Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and others’ work on Superman books back in the early 90s, I don’t think this is worth spending money on. There are some interesting moments, like when Superboy deals with the public missing Superman, or how the Kingdom Come heroes don’t care for young punks like him. But these bits and Moline and Marzan’s art are overshadowed by the excessive caption boxes and minimum characterization and suspense.
If you want to read a good Kon-El Superboy story, I’d recommend you pick up the “Reign of the Supermen” trade instead where Superboy is one of the four characters protecting Metropolis after Superman’s death