Saturday, October 22

Superboy #1 (Nov 2011)

“The Clone”

Well, the first question I had seems to have been answered. The entire continuity of the previous clone-Superboy who was created in the wake of the Death of Superman storyline now almost twenty years ago (Lord, how time flies!), lately known as Conner Kent, has been wiped.

This story begins with the clone still in some kind of amniotic fluid tank, seemingly a failure in that brain activity has so far not been detected. Doesn't mean it's not there, though, because he has been telepathically aware and studying the cloning team even as they've been studying him. In light of the seeming failure though, the determination is made to put the body down and hopefully learn something from the autopsy. That – plus sympathy from one of the scientists, a young red-head named “Cait[lyn?]” – triggers his awakening, and that of his powers – and the slaughter of all the rest of the team. The story jumps to an almost idyllic story of the clone, now looking much like the old Conner, recently enrolled in a school in small-town America along with a pretty platinum-haired girl named “Rose.” But it's quickly apparent something is wrong, because the clone absolutely ignores a housefire with a victim screaming from the upstairs window. It turns out this is a virtual-reality environment by which the young woman scientist is now trying to study the “cellular subconscious” and determine 1) who the human DNA that stabilized the Kryptonian DNA came from, 2) why that “cellular subconscious” keeps creating a small-town America world, and 3) why it seems to have no empathy for the pain of other beings. Her studies are cut short, however, with the arrival of Templar, a creepy bureaucrat-type who has a mission for “the Superboy. Against a background showing the New 52 Teen Titans, Templar says: “I have a very unusual problem. … Several, in fact. … Superboy in how I plan to solve them.” We also “hear” “the Superboy's” internal monologue: “If resolving a situation for him is going to get me out from under these people once and for all...? … That's a small price to pay for freedom.” Next issue: Alien Prison Break!

Incidentally, “Rose” exists outside the VR world – as Rose Wilson, complete with both eyes but still a mercenary, whose assignment is to put the clone down if necessary. That is an interesting development given the relationship that was developing between the two of them at the very end of the previous series.

Overall, it's too soon to tell whether I'll like this new clone-Superboy. I had grown to really like Conner Kent in recent years, and I will miss him. I don't like the “Tron”-style battle-suit that we've seen, including on that last page. I like that horrific "robot-Superboy" image of the cover even less, but that thankfully seems to have nothing to do with the story inside except for having elements of that same "Tron-suit" in its design.  But I am curious about how this will develop, and have to say that this first issue does present a character that is surprisingly sympathetic given his obvious emotional deficiency, truly a lost boy in a strange world. I'm sticking with it for now. Hopefully he will find his empathy pretty soon and start his journey along the path toward heroism.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.

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