Superboy (vol.2) #1 (1994)

Superboy (vol.2) #1 (February, 1994)
“Trouble in Paradise”
Writer – Karl Kesel
Pencils – Tom Grummett
Inks – Doug Hazlewood
Colors – Tom McCraw
Letters – Richard Starkings
Editor – Frank Pittarese
Cover Price: $1.50

Have you heard the news?  Just in case you missed everyone on social media positively tripping over one another to be the first one to “break” the news, it looks as though Kon-El is making a comeback next year in the pages of an all-new Young Justice!

Haven’t the foggiest idea if/how it will fit in continuity (Oh, listen to me… talking about “continuity”), but… never let not having all (or any) of the facts stop us from “reporting” news!  Whatever the case, I gotta say… I’m tentatively looking forward to it.  So far, I’ve been kind of impressed by Brian Michael Bendis’ take on Superman… I wonder what he can do with the young heroes.

Anyhoo, and all joking aside… let’s take a look at the first issue of his ongoing series from back in the long ago!

But first, to assuage my volume-neuroticism… here’s what I wrote the last time we covered an issue from this series:

From our discussion of Superboy #4 (August 27, 2017)

We open with Superboy flying high above Hawaii… promising to, ahem, “Pump up the Volume”.  He plunges back down to the islands where Roxy Leech is being held in the arms of the villainous… Sidearm.  Upon arrival, Kon is backhanded by the baddie.

Amid the distraction, Roxy breaks free.  Sidearm attempts to nab her with one of his spike-claw thingies… but Superboy manages to get between them (getting his MC jacket torn a little bit in the process).  He makes a “sacrificing virgins” comment that I’m sure was considered a little bit edgy back in ye old ’94.

He explains to Sidearm that he has tactile telekinesis… if you’re a fan of the original Young Justice, you’ll know that this becomes something of a running joke… Conner always brags about his tactile telekinesis.

Sidearm starts blasting away when one of his… sidearms becomes a gatling-gun of sorts.  Of course, Superboy is bulletproof, so this isn’t much of a problem.  As Conner saunters up all cocky-like, Sidearm’s… other side-arm begins choking him.  Superboy grabs him and flies straight up into the sky with him.

Then… the police arrive, and we meet Special Federal Agent Sam Makoa.  He’s not terribly pleased to see Metahumans on Hawaii… and heads over to Dubbilex and the Leech’s for some answers… just as they’re about to be arrested!  He orders them be let go.

It’s pretty clear that Makoa trusts Dubbilex… but, maybe not so much for the Leech’s.  He asks for the quick ‘n dirty on how they come to arrive in Hawaii.  Rex explains that he is taking Superboy on his “Supertour” of the United States.  Dubbilex is Superboy’s Cadmus-assigned “chaperone”.

As Rex goes on, another officer reports in that Superboy and Sidearm are falling out of the sky somewhere near Pearl Harbor.  Makoa loads the crew into his paddy wagon so they can continue their tale.

Turns out, Rex is kinduva carny.  He has Dubbilex playing a different role in every city… and sets it up so his daughter, Roxy falls out of a helicopter… just so Superboy can “save” her in the nick of time.  He’s kind of a scuzz… and looks a little bit like old-school Paul E. Dangerously.

Anyhoo, after they performed the act in Hawaii… Sidearm showed up and started causing trouble… which pretty much brings us to where the issue opened.  Over by Pearl Harbor, Superboy and Sidearm land with a THOOM.  The way they’re bantering, I’d almost swear Rex hired Sidearm to be Superboy’s “first” baddie… like Maxwell Lord-style.  That doesn’t seem to be the case though.

They continue to battle their way through Waikiki, and Superboy finally decides to “dis-arm” Sidearm… by, well, tearing his cyborgian arms off.

Just then, Makoa and Co arrive to tie up all the loose ends.  The Special Agent calls off the military police, informing them that Sidearm is a “Federal” headache.  Superboy sarcastically thanks Dubbilex for not using any of his “brain-blastin'” powers on the baddie as well.

We shift scenes deep underground Pearl Harbor’s Naval Base… where there’s an explosion!

Then, we’re off to a bar in Honolulu’s Chinatown… where we meet a brassy redhead.  She’s watching the news of Superboy’s arrival… and refers to him as “cute, in a jail-bait sort of way”… which was probably edgy in 1994… but hasn’t aged all that well.  She tosses her bag at a sailor, and reveals that it’s full of weights.

Back at Police Headquarters, Special Agent Makoa finds that he’s been delivered an emerald cube.  From it erupts a projection of a dragon… and a message, from the Silicon Dragons gang.  They ain’t pleased in the slightest that Superboy has shown up on their turf.

We wrap up back on the beach, where Superboy is about to be interviewed by KONA-TV’s newest reporter… Tana Moon!

Not a bad first issue!  Lots of fun… setting up Kon’s locale… and his cast of characters.  Several subplots bubbling away on the side to build up his first few threats.  Feels like there was a real effort made to make this Superboy actually feel like a kid of the 90’s.

Some of the chatter (and attempts at “edge”) hasn’t aged all that well, but I do appreciate it being here.  Heck, we see today how writers attempt to evoke “teen speak”, which is to say make a lot of references to smart phone dating apps… regardless as to whether or not they make sense.  I swear, if I see another reference to “swiping” one direction or another, I’m gonna vomit.

The banter was pretty cool… and definitely sets Superboy apart from the rest of the Super-Family.  My only sorta-kinda irk about it is, the way Superboy and Sidearm were talking after arriving in Pearl Harbor… it almost seemed like they were working together… putting on “a show”.

I wanna mention Tom Grummett’s art.  Feels like every time we chat him up here, I dig his work even more.  I’ve said it before… he brings all of the “excitement” of a 90’s artist… without all of the “extreme” trappings usually associated with 90’s artists.  Just some wonderful work here.

Overall… really, the “right way” to kick off an ongoing series.  Whereas today, we’d more than likely be getting a “Chapter 1 of 6”, here we get a standalone story, during which our hero gets to flex his muscles and show off his powers.  We also get to meet his cast, and get a look at his environment… while seeing what (and who) might be lurking around the next corner.  Very well done!  If you can get past some definite 90sisms, this issue is certainly worth a look.  This issue is available digitally.

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