Superboy #26 Review: To Hell and Back

by Brandon Stines
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Superboy is suddenly off Krypton, in a hospital gown, with some voice in his head calling him Jon, and apparently turns out to be a completely different person trained by Harvest. And he’s evil. And in the future. Or something. Strap in kids, this one is rough.



It’s not clear where to begin with this issue. Marv Wolfman takes over writing duties for this issue of Superboy, and it’s actually pretty nice to see him return to penning the Boy of Steel and the Teen Titans. Wolfman does his best with what’s been handed to him, and that’s really all the praise fit to give. This issue does get bonus points for remembering to shoehorn in the title’s trademark of referring to Superboy as a living weapon.

Wolfman also makes the background characters quite interesting in this issue, which is a nice contrast to the fairly bland main story. After reading this issue, you’ll start to wonder just what did happen the last time that random guard took his wife Amra on a hunting trip? According to the dialogue, it must have been quite the mishap. Did Doctor Yabin end up finding a working body scanner? Hopefully we’ll find out next issue.

Andres Guinaldo’s art is passable and well rendered, but really lacks any style. It just gets the job done.



The main story is fairly bland. This isn’t because of Wolfman’s script by any means, but is due to the story he was handed, which illustrates a prime problem with Superboy that’s gotten worse and worse lately: it’s so bogged down by constant crossover tie-ins that it’s become nigh impossible to tell a coherent story. If you’ve only been reading Superboy, you won’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

Superboy #24 ended with Superboy getting knocked out at the mercy of the Psycho Pirate. Superboy #25 began with Superboy suddenly in Krypton’s past (with his powers back) and also ends on Krypton. Superboy #26 begins with some character named Jon who looks exactly like Kon and possesses all of his powers lying in a hospital bed in the future, with Kon nowhere to be seen. The Titans even call him Kon, apparently not knowing it’s someone different, but if you haven’t read one of the twenty-seven other series that they must have tied Superboy into you won’t have a single clue what just happened. It’s something that’s becoming a serious problem again at DC and it really needs to stop.

This is the main reason why this issue ends up being completely boring and utterly incapable of conveying a coherent story: we have no clue who this new Superboy is, where he came from, how he got to the future with the Titans, or even why he exists at all, yet we’re supposed to now read a title where he’s the main character? It just doesn’t make any sense. The character was briefly introduced in Superboy Annual #1, but other than that we really don’t know much about him at all.



This issue could honestly be placed up on a pedestal as the prime example illustrating why constant crossovers and tie-in issues are not the way to handle a series. Wolfman does his best with what he’s inherited, but it just isn’t enough to make this issue bearable or sensible to read.

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