Raven knows this new Superboy’s secret and only time will tell if she’ll expose him or aid him.
When taking over writing duties on Superboy, Marv Wolfman had the unenviable task of taking a brash, antagonistic, and villainous new Superboy and placing him firmly in the spotlight as the protagonist of the book; Wolfman has to make a total jerk into a likable character readers want to follow, while simultaneously keeping the character’s motivations in sight. This is not an easy feat to accomplish, but Wolfman pulls it off through the use of secondary antagonist Schiz. By introducing a character proclaiming to be a spiritual descendent of Jon who also happens to be a far, far worse person, the reader begins to rally behind Jon and his choices. In his confrontations with Schiz, Jon gives off a heroic tone readers expect from the character of Superboy, but he is not truly altruistic or “good” in what he does because his actions are entirely selfish; he is only trying to protect his cover story. It changes up the established dynamic in the title and gives a refreshing new edge to the book.
Bringing Raven—another “heroic” character with darker intentions—into the story as a sort of foil for Jon is an interesting development and helps to serve as a reminder that Jon isn’t the only member of the Titans who does not have the team’s best interests at heart. By doing this, Wolfman accomplishes the art of keeping the reader interested in how events develop.
Despite some missteps with certain panels, Andres Guinaldo’s art is also more than competent and matches the frenetic pacing of the issue. His penciling style seems to change to reflect Jon’s mood or situation, going from clean lines during standard conversation, to almost sketchy renderings during fast-paced and destructive combat. By no means is he the best artist the comic book world has to offer, but it does not sting the eyes to look at.
Though Wolfman makes wonderful strides with Jon’s character, as well as the tone of this issue, there are a few flaws in the script that bring Superboy #27 down. The fight scenes, in particular, could use some better direction in order to ease the tedium and downright boredom that these scenes exude. There must be, if not better, different ways for Superboy to use his telekinetic powers than simply breaking the ground around his opponents or exuding a sort of blast that makes everything around him swirl. A little variety and invention in these fights would have worked wonders for this issue.
With Superboy #27, it’s clear that under the pen of Marv Wolfman, this series is becoming one to keep an eye on. Wolfman manages to successfully position a character with villainous intentions as a likable protagonist, a complete reversal in tone from previous issues in the series, and lets the title gain a whole new level of depth and intrigue going forward.