writer: Fabian Nicieza / artist: José Marzán, Jr., Karl M Moline / DC Comics
As the resident Batgirl/Cassandra Cain fan, it goes without saying that I have an embarassingly enormous amount of love for one Conner Kent aka Kon-El aka Superboy, to the point that I even found it hard just to watch Young Justice because so much of his backstory/relationships were just… wrong. But name me any pre-New 52 incarnation of Superboy and you may or may not hear some version of a “squee” escape my lips, especially for the one leather-clad hipster phase in the 90s where Kon was trying way too hard.
But enough fangirling. The story opens with Superboy in massive amounts of pain as he undergoes high levels of solar radiation exposure with no results, an effect generated by the dome over Metropolis which negates any and all superpowers. Although Superboy can be fairly brash in any version, his first appearance displayed a childish cockiness built to hide his inferiority complex from living in Superman’s shadow. We see a lot of that struggle played out in this comic but without the “powers of a god” to hide behind, producing an impressive amount of character development in just a few pages as he wrestles with his humanity.
Further, unlike many other teen-based comics (yes, that one), Fabian Nicieza never lets us forget that Conner is, after all, still just a kid. José Marzán, Jr. and Karl M Moline’s art, too, is the perfect blend of cartoon and realism that helps to highlight the balance between youthful innocence and the gritty world of adulthood Superboy faces. Anyone who knows anything about the original Young Justice and its later Teen Titans years, however, are in for a bit of a momentary sniffle when Kingdom Come Red Robin appears on the scene (yes, he’s Dick Grayson, but the idea of Superboy and Red Robin fighting given their years of best friendship is almost too much for any fan to handle).
While parts of this comic are dramatic, I’d say this is actually one of the most fun Convergence titles I’ve read so far. Kon doesn’t brood so much as pout, which allows for quick mood changes (like your typical teen). I would definitely suggest this book for first time readers as well; the explanations of the character’s backstory and motivation are clear and concise and there’s far less monologueing than reacting. Without a doubt an A+ read!