Convergence Superboy #1
Written by: Fabian Nicieza
Art by: Karl Moline & Jose Marzan & Hi-Fi
If I were to use one word to describe this week it would be mediocre. After a fantastic first week launch of Convergence, we roll into week two with a holding pattern. None of these titles are bad mind you, simply underwhelming. Chief among these is “Convergence Superboy”, a title that should elicit gleeful campiness, perhaps one of the more ridiculous titles. After all, this is the character that wears a leather jacket, an earring, and far too many pouches. He was brash and arrogant and true they talk about how he has grown up—but it seems a bit strange to sandblast off the one brazen and identifiable characteristic that Superboy is known for. Wasn’t that what DC was going for anyway with New 52 Superman?
All right, here’s the story rundown, you’ve heard it all before. Metropolis was just doing its thing until randomly a dome sprang up around it, cutting it off from the rest of the world and erasing everyone’s powers. Yadda, yadda, yadda, dome comes down, voice, powers, Convergence… So Superboy was taking a walk through the park, admiring the memorial statue to Superman when all of a sudden all of his powers come flooding back… and so does the leather jacket. All of the exuberance and immaturity that comic book fans remember from the late eighties and early nineties is on exhibition as Superboy does a showy flyby through the city—only to get intercepted by a villainous trio: Red Robin, Flash, and Superman?
Okay, remember last week when I said the villain match up was perfect? Would somebody care to tell me what the thinking was behind facing off the egotistical and showy Superboy against the dreary and downcast heroes from Kingdom Come? I get that all of the universes are being paired off to fight each other but there’s a bit of a tone difference between the two, right? One hero uses a huge list of powers to participate in ridiculous, over the top fights, often in bright colors and snappy dialogue. The other is a downcast trio, alone in a world on the brink of destruction with nary a hope to be seen. There are other, more colorful universes that Superboy could be squaring off against. Heck, how much fun would it be to see him fight off the ridiculousness that was Superman from “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”? No, instead we get to watch him fight the Debbie Downers of the DC universe.
The fighting isn’t bad. We get to see Superboy flex both his Kryptonian powers and his telekinetic powers. But here’s the problem, the Kingdom Come universe has been at the superhero game for much longer and are way more experienced. I’m supposed to believe that a team with an adult Superman can be overwhelmed by a teenage Superboy? Where was all this gumption back in the day when he faced Hank Henshaw? Yeah, the action is fun to read and exciting but it reads like somebody’s fan fiction. Perhaps there’s a story reason later on down the line that explains it, but that seems a mighty cop out for this book to pull. Superboy is essentially facing the heavy hitters of the Justice League in one go; I’m sorry but this fight doesn’t go his way.
Superboy has the dubious distinction of rising out of a publishing catastrophe. Fellow geeks who were alive at the time have mixed feelings about “The Death of Superman” and the following rise of the Supermen. But regardless, Superboy is an integral part of DC history so I am glad to see him fighting in Convergence, even if I’m not on board with who he is fighting. However, a common troupe is to have the Superman-like figure fight a super group, something “Invincible” explored on more than one occasion. There was the time that Mark sided with Dinosaurus and became an enemy of the state, target to any in the hero community. And there’s a good reason these fights turned out so differently. Mark always aimed to incapacitate his foes enough to escape. Superboy however enjoys flexing his powers, showing off what it is he is capable of. That’s not to say Mark doesn’t enjoy showing off. When he first got his powers, he really enjoyed punching the Mauler Twins, if only to demonstrate his strength. So maybe Invincible and Superboy have quite a bit in common.