DC’s new Jeff Lemire-scripted Superboy series has been one of their most anticipated launches of the year, and after reading through issue #1, you’ll probably see the common ingredients it shares with Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman and Smallville and immediately understand exactly why that is. That’s not to take anything away from the original work Lemire is doing here with artwork by Pier Gallo, but the central story is about Conner Kent living in Smallville, going to Smallvile High School and doing many of the things Clark Kent did, only within a different continuity than the TV show and obviously as Conner, not Clark.
Gallo’s art curves and puffs in a manner very similar to Frank Quitely’s with clean line work that looks a bit like Cliff Chiang from time to time. Combined with Lemire’s well-rationed plot twisting and odd character entrances (I don’t want to spoil those for anyone who hasn’t picked the issue up yet), Superboy clearly emerges from the the shadow of ASS, even within the confines of the DCU, and that much alone keeps a subtle crackle of tension alive from page to page.
24 pages in, Lemire hasn’t created a series that’s going to establish itself on ASS‘s level of accomplishment just yet; in fact, the whole setting and combination of characters may be a bit disorienting for anyone who hasn’t kept up with Conner since he moved back in to the Kent household, but continuity ignorance shouldn’t be a roadblock to hitting the ground running for casual readers. There’s a lot going on already, though, and if the first arc maintains the pace being set here, this should be one of the strongest new efforts to hit hero comics in 2010.