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Superboy had similar results as the second issue of Deathstroke, but with a much less disappointing effect. The first issue was interesting and the second also has it’s moments, but the art is not great and the story and characters have some major flaws.
In this issue, Superboy goes on his first mission outside his virtual reality with the help of Rose Wilson. Unfortunately, the two meet up with some insane alien sharks who are more than enough to take down Superboy with their immense strength.
Writer Scott Lobdell started off in the first issue with a very strong story, but this issue continues that story with some big problems, the biggest of which is understanding everything going on with Superboy, since some of the events heavily referenced the story which occurred in Teen Titans #1. Everyone, new and old readers alike, who have not read this issue of Teen Titans will be frustrated by the seemingly nonsensical references. The story is still comprehensible, but not as enjoyable without having read Teen Titans.
The issue may also prove disappointing to longtime fans in particular, since the cover makes it look like Superboy is fighting a nemesis seen in his old series from the 90’s, King Shark, who made it onto my Creepiest Comic Characters list. It would have been a joy to see him, despite the fact that he is currently a member of the Suicide Squad, but instead Superboy fights a few enemies from an alien shark race. Taking away the disappointment of not seeing King Shark, these shark enemies were not very interesting, with seemingly no powers past strength, but they served their purpose well: beating Superboy into a pulp. The other enemies, however, are inexcusable.
The other “enemies” are the workers of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the group that helped create Superboy. At this point the company feels generic and their leader, Zaniel, is your clichéd villain with cool shades. He and the rest of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. need to be fleshed out in the future to make any impact on readers.
Our more “heroic” characters are much more interesting and the best this issue has to offer. Superboy’s internal monologue is the most enjoyable part, though he never reaches the same level of enjoyment that he had in the first issue. His “jailor” (one of Superboy’s many elegant terminologies from the first issue), known as “Red,” also shows a lot of potential as a character. Her questionable status as a heroine or villain will lead to many interesting stories in the future. Superboy’s kill switch, Rose Wilson is also very enjoyable to watch. Her character is tough as nails and her interactions with Superboy are very well-written and are the only funny moments in the comic.
R.B. Silva’s art has its moments, but mostly fails to live up to anything else being produced in the New 52 titles. None of his artwork is bad, but all of the emotions on the characters’ faces look the same and the backgrounds are rarely attended to. The best designs are Superboy’s costume and Rose Wilson’s appearance. Both these designs are great, even if the overall artwork needs work. The artwork only became a problem once. At the end of the issue, the full page spread was messy and took some of the impact away from the ending.
In the beginning, I compared this comic to Deathstroke in terms of how it disappointed me, but ironically I can make huge contrasts between the two: while I think Deathstroke needed less power and more vulnerability, in this issue Superboy had too much vulnerability. The constant action in Deathstroke also would have felt more appropriate here. Overall, the story has potential, but was executed blandly. Superboy’s narration is great and his allies are interesting, but the enemies are as stale as the story and need to become more so this comic can stop being average and start being the great title it can be.