Superboy: Scott Lobdell, Tom DeFalco, R.B. Silva, Rob Lean, Iban Coello, Richard & Tanya Horie, Hi-Fi, Travis Lanham, Ian Churchill, Alex Sollazzo
This issue exists in moments. Moments of cool stuff and brilliant interacts that flail to stay afloat among a sea of mediocrity. Hell, it’s not even mediocre in most points. It just plain falls flat on its face.
I blame it mostly on Tom DeFalco, as I’m sure you can all guess right off the bat. Note the credits on this one. It was “plotted” by Lobdell, and “scripted” by DeFalco, which means Tom wrote it, guys. Scott just had the idea. The general plot. I know there’s a bandwagon of eager people who love to trash Lobdell, but I’m a fan. He writes well, I think. Sadly, this whole Culling event is pretty much falling under DeFalco’s pen…with little apparent interference from Lobdell.
Also, negatively, I opened this book to the first page and almost yakked. I’m still having such a hard time with Silva’s art. Just…Red Robin’s face on the first page there — both in standing behind Superboy and in the margins full of the team faces. Barely any of these people look like themselves. Bunker, Kid Flash, Red Robin, Timber Wolf, Beast Boy. I’m sure the only reason Wildfire resembles himself is because he wears a helmet.
The backgrounds are confusing, and just full of fire. There’s not a lot of definition or depth. Walls that we know to be miles behind the characters look like they’re right there. Sal Regla, when he helped ink the Teen Titans Annual, told me that colorist Andrew Dalhouse had a real understanding of depth, and saved a lot of panels from looking flat like this. So perhaps blame also falls with the Hories and Hi-Fi here. But they’re pretty good colorists on their own stuff, usually. It just looks like Silva didn’t give them much to work with. A lot of the panels are obscured by smoke, dust, large close-ups of characters, or special power effects given off by the characters. There, no backgrounds needed.
It’s depressing, sometimes, the characters look great. Red Robin and Ridge included. Same, the writing has moments of clarity…like when Timber Wolf tackles Kid Flash and sheds a little light on the mystery of the speedster from the future. And also, certain characters seem to have been left out of the entire issue, like Gates, Beast Boy, Omen, and Solstice. What the hell?
The dialog is horrible. I mean…just awful. That’s a DeFalco signature, right there. Lengthy, clunky dialog that used to work in comics a long time ago. Like when characters used huge globs of thought bubbles? Only now it’s all done out loud. Even worse. And finally, Harvest arrives to basically say, “Yes, I wanted you to beat my Ravagers so that you could feel hopeful before I kill you all.” This guy’s motives are ALL OVER THE PLACE!! I thought he wanted them to survive so they could be his new Ravagers! No? He wanted to kill them all along? Then why not do it when they were strapped to tables? Why have the Culling in the first place? To be showy? I totally don’t understand, and I hate it.
Superboy #9, the verdict: What. Even. This stuff is just trash. I honestly can’t enjoy it. Some of my favorite characters are getting murdered in the Crucible, and I don’t mean in the story. I mean in the writing and art. MURDERED. Let’s get these Superboy cover artists to do interiors! Good lord that’s beautiful artwork! And who cares about a Superboy with telekinetic powers? The preboot Superboy used his Kryptonian powers (through TT, yeah, but still!) The writers obviously figured out that a character named “Superboy” would have to ACT and BE like a Super! Haven’t figured that out here yet. Also, DeFalco’s shabby dialog is torturous. And I’m supposed to read Legion Lost #9 to get the rest of the story? UGH.
(Photo Source: iFanBoy)