Attack of the Clones
With Superboy’s issue #0 we finally get the skinny on the Kryptonian Clone War that Supergirl alluded to in Superboy #6. This isn’t the first clone war in Kryptonian history. John Byrne’s World of Krypton also contained a conflict over cloning that lasted centuries and set back Kryptonian civilization. I assume that this is an updated version of that premise which would mean that Byrne’s dark Krypton is being somewhat integrated in with Grant Morrison’s Silver Age inspired version. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the history of Krypton as things progress. This clone war does give a viable explanation for why Krypton didn’t have a successful deep space program despite their advanced technology and learned culture. DeFalco performs a valuable Superman duty by explaining how Krypton’s space program failed and works this in with Harvest of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s possible motives which have also been a mystery until now. This issue was in fact successful in answering questions that have been with us during the first year of Superboy, and in cleaning up some scenes that may have felt a bit chaotic before. We may not come away feeling that they actually had Harvest and N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s intentions clearly planned before the story began, but we can at least feel better about Harvest’s role as master manipulator.
Unfortunately, most of this issue is told to us by Harvest and we don’t exactly get to see enough of the Clone War itself to put it in proper context. We are informed of the reasons why Kon and the other clones rebelled, but we never get to see these things in action. We see some of the battles but not what drove them to this point or even how the Kryptonian people actually felt about all of this. It made the issue as intimate an experience as reading a history text. This is true especially considering Harvest’s cold, formal speech which further convinces me that he’s the new Stryfe. Seeing much of the first issue of Superboy rehashed with Harvest delivering commentary was also not the most interesting way to get across what they wanted to about his control over the organization. DeFalco communicated what he wanted to with this piece but it may have lacked a bit of artistry. I’m also a bit confused over Supergirl’s cameo on the first page because she was in her costume. In her own book, Supergirl was surprised to find herself in that uniform because she wasn’t supposed to wear it until a certain rite of passage. Maybe this will be explained later on?
I continue to enjoy R.B. Silva’s art on this book. It’s smooth, hip, and stylized. It was a nice bit of detail that all of the Kryptonian clones rock face tattoos and makes me wonder whether Superboy will be making a similar decision soon? ;) Much of the design also reminded me of the DC Universe Online game but that might only be because I’ve been playing it non-stop recently. Regardless, the art is a strength of this series. Overall, the issue was pretty good and gave us a nice backdrop for the future of Superboy, Teen Titans, the Ravagers, and maybe H’el on Earth. Stay tuned to this series. It’s about to blow up.