Superboy is a hybrid engineered from human and Kryptonian DNA. In his previous DCU incarnation he was a mixture of Lex Luthor and Superman’s DNA. He appears to still be derived as such, even though it’s not explicitly stated that he has Luthor’s DNA. Crafted in the subbasement of project N.O.W.H.E.R.E., raised in a virtual environment Kansas (residuals from Superman’s DNA memories that the project can’t exactly figure out the origin of), and planned to be used as a pawn to destroy the Teen Titans, the DCnU Superboy isn’t much different from the DCU Superboy thematically. Except that, of course, his origin as depicted as a result of Superman’s death isn’t intact. While Superman hinted that he “knows how hard it can be, coming back…” in the pages ofSwamp Thing #1, whether or not the whole Doomsday plot is staying in cannon is still unclear at this point. Honestly, it wouldn’t make any sense for it to. The major emotional impact of the story was the affect that Superman’s death had on Lois, who was well on her way to becoming his wife. In the DCnU, Lois has a stand in Taylor Lautner boyfriend and will be involved in “love triangle” with Superman, Clark, and herself…all in attempt to capture the tween Twilight crowd. I’m not going to continue to vent here about the huge missteps that DC Comics are making with Superman’s new status quo though. We’re here to talk about the new Superboy…
…who is pretty much the same as the old Superboy. (sorry couldn’t pass up a reference to one of the greatest songs written by The Who). He’s emotionally and morally flawed in a major way, as evidenced by his massive failing of a test while walking around in his virtual reality “prison.” These flaws are probably the result of his evil Luthor DNA. He’s created in a super secret lab that is under investigation by Lois Lane through info supplied by her mole on the inside. He’s about to join the Teen Titans, etc. etc. About the only real difference is that the lab is somehow involved with characters and organizations last seen in Wildstorm’s Gen13, or so I’m told. I didn’t ever read Gen13.
As far as being new and up to date in imagery and “real world” tech etc. about the best we get is a short shot of a realistic looking flash drive. The rest is futuristic tech and lab tanks. That’s not to say that Silva’s art is completely cookie cutter sci-fi by any means. It is crisp and clear with concise and sharp lines, solid and realistic anatomy, and decent facial expression. Rob Lean’s inks are a little thick, but that doesn’t detract from the look of the book in any way. In fact it clearly highlights the rather bland backgrounds Silva comes up with, giving it some depth. The absolute worst thing about the art in Superboy #1 is the cover. While it’s not poorly drawn, it doesn’t fit with any image in the book and is wildly wrong as far as Superboy’s physical composition is concerned. While it might be a nice 1990s throwback image, something the DCnU is loaded with, Superboy, as shown at least thus far, has no cybernetic components beyond The Matrix like plug in ports that he displays while trapped in his lab tank.
Overall, there isn’t much that is bad about Superboy #1, but there isn’t much that is appealing or new either. His origin is pretty similar, his motivation and character flaws are pretty similar as well, if at least much more self-centered at this point. Besides seemingly removing the Doomsday storyline’s connections, what’s really the point here?