Superboy vs Donna Troy

Suggested by Sonic It’s time for a battle of DC powerhouses. Both of these fighters have had great showings in the past. Donna has kept up with Wonder Woman and Superboy has performed well against fighters like Doomsday and Supergirl. Ultimately the reason why I would say Superboy has the edge here is he tends to outrank Donna in both speed and strength. Her hand to hand skills are better but they’re not so much so that it would remove the gap between them. The battle goes in much the same way that Superman vs Wonder Woman does. Superboy wins.

Superboy vs Isidro

Suggested by iKnowledge Isidro is back, but his match against Superboy won’t turn out all that much better for him than the last round. Superboy is very powerful and at his absolute best he is able to give Superman a decent fight. Isidro isn’t nearly old enough to have the physical abilities needed to win this match. I don’t doubt that he could probably pull off some kind of comeback once there is a big time skip, but at the moment that’s just not something that he can hope to achieve. Superboy may as well be in a different world in terms of power. Superboy wins.

Teen Titans Volume 1 It’s Our Right to Fight Review

It’s time to look at the start of the New 52 Teen Titans run. I always thought the comics looked like fun with the dynamic covers and the cool new costumes. I can imagine how it may be a little too flashy for some readers, but it helped capture what the New 52 was supposed to be all about. The only thing that I was a little wary about is the fact that one of the main characters is gay and I believe that it may become a bit more of a focus in the future, but hopefully it simply remains a background element that doesn’t come into play. This comic series doesn’t need any romance of any kind. Simply focus on the action and this title should stay solid.

Red Robin/Tim Drake finds out that teenage meta humans are being targeted and kidnapped by an organization known as NOWHERE. He has written many blog posts to warn fellow heroes about this, but decides that he’ll finally have to step in to save them. He dons the Red Robin costume and finds Wonder Girl first. The two of them fight off the agents and Red Robin decides that he’ll save everyone else in the same way. Unfortunately, the two of them do not get along very well and the other members like Kid Flash, Bunker, Skitter, Solstice, and Danny are all not used to being on a team. Red Robin has his work cut out for them as the team ends the graphic novel embarking on their first big mission. They need to save Superboy!

There’s a lot of action in this first graphic novel. Superboy gets to fight the whole group of Teen Titans as he works for NOWHERE in this continuity. I suppose that they built him or that there will be a plot twist about that at some point. As with other modern day trades there are some events that happen in other issues so you won’t fully see them here. After all, Superboy already had his own comic series at the time so the timing must have been interesting. (Granted, the same thing happened in Civil War as well) You can still understand everything that is happening with no extra effort though. The best part of this comic was certainly the battle with Superboy.

As it stands, Superboy completely outclasses the Teen Titans in a fight though. This isn’t exactly evenly matched after all. Superboy is the strongest member around and since he has telekinesis at his disposal, he can even stop Kid Flash. I’ll still take classic Super Strength and speed like Superman any day, but it is always handy to have an extra power. Superboy seems like a reasonable guy even if he isn’t thinking things through a whole lot. It’s obvious that NOWHERE is suspect and even if his mission is to serve them, he should think about what kind of reception he’ll get for failing his mission. That was a good hero move on his part though.

The art is really good and continues to show why DC is leading the industry in this area. It holds its own as well as any other comic on the shelf and that is especially true for the action scenes and character designs. It’s been a long time since Red Robin was such a starring member so it’s good to see that his new design is so sharp. I imagine that Kid Flash’s is the one that people would find too colorful, but it works well for the character.

Unfortunately, the writing is what I’d call the weak point of the comic. The dialogue between Red Robin and Wonder Girl in particular can be a little sad as both of them really try your patience. A line should always be cool sounding or at least it should push the plot along. Some of the conversations that they have are just filler and usually it is just Wonder Girl accusing Red Robin of being a creep. He doesn’t seem to deny it typically so that doesn’t bode well for him at all. Even the conversation leading up to Bunko’s big revelation is rather forced as well. Characters don’t need to be talking about flirting all of the time!

Anyway, as you’d expect I didn’t think too highly of Red Robin. It’s unfortunate since I do like the Robins quite a bit, but he had too many iffy moments. Red Robin tends to look good when he’s on his own taking down criminals and making deductions, but he’ll have to work on himself when he’s with the team. I’m sure that he’ll gradually get used to being a team player. As it is, he also makes a very questionable call at the end of the comic which I naturally disagree with. He lets other meta humans get hunted and injured just so he can have some more proof. Definitely a bad call.

Wonder Girl plays up the “tough girl” angle a little too much most of the time, but granted I can see why she is always annoyed at Red Robin. He constantly calls her Wonder Girl even though she doesn’t want to be called that. She is not as eager to fight as Wonder Woman, but still seems to get a thrill out of it so that’s always a good personality trait. She’s easily the strongest member of the team, but not quite as Superboy’s level yet. Her dialogue needs to get better for her to be more likable, but she’s still better than Red Robin, Bunko, and Skitter.

Skitter has very weak will power. She lets her animal form take control rather easily and comes across as a self-defeating person the entire time. She definitely needs to work on getting a little more confident. Her Skitter form has a cool design and seems to be decently strong so she should grow into a being a good character. She just needs more will power and confidence is a good way to increase that quality. Bunko was a fan of Red Robin from the start so he’s one of the only members who is really glad to be on the team. His telekinetic powers will surely be useful as the fights go on. That being said, his costume is a complete rip off from Iron Fist’s. DC didn’t even try to give him something original. Right now he is a rather bland character, but at least he is optimistic which is more than I can say for some of the others. Danny has no role as of yet and he’s a living street. That’s got to be one of the worst powers of all time. I hope it doesn’t hurt when people step on him. There’s really nothing to say about him at the moment though there may never be since it seems like he’ll never take human form. I suppose having enough written lines as an object could still give him a personality…maybe.

Solstice has mysterious dark powers so it’s good that Raven’s not on the team yet. She seems fairly powerful, but we haven’t really gotten to see her fight yet. Energy Projection and flight is a good start though. She is the only one to realize that Red Robin is up to something iffy and she is also very optimistic. Solstice is definitely off to a solid start as one of the best members, maybe even the best. Kid Flash acts as you would expect him too. He has great speed and it naturally goes to his head. The concept of a backdraft following him into a burning house makes sense even if it feels like he just had some bad luck there. I could swear that the Flash has done the same thing many times with no ill side effects. Kid Flash will be integral to the plot as time travelling shenanigans are already starting and Kid Flash may not be what he seems. It’ll be sort of neat to see his true story, but it’s not interesting enough to warrant a full comic flashback so hopefully it just gets a few panels. His blue costume seems neat though.

The comic ends with a fairly great cliffhanger as the founder of NOWHERE shows up to fight the full team along with an injured Superboy. That should make for a solid fight even if this guy seems completely outclassed. His Grim Reaper design is another great one and the New 52 has done a good job creating original villains. His powers seem shadow based and those are usually difficult to fight against. I look forward to seeing what he has got in the next volume.

Overall, This was a solid comic. It ends up being just shy of the 8 due to the weak writing at times, but still makes for a fun read. It’s a good start to the Teen Titans adventures. The roster is also surprisingly strong as Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Superboy are all power hitters with Solstice and Bunker being decent in combat as well. It’ll be interesting to see which villains are pitted against this group as it will be tough to stop them. After enough issues, I naturally want to see the Justice League fight the Teen Titans. It should be a blowout, but just the concept of a crossover fight is always fun. On an ending note, I’d also like to point out that the group fight against Superboy is exactly how all team comics should begin.

Overall 7/10

Superman Krypton Returns Review

It’s time to look at yet another Superman comic! I have to say that I feel a little bad for the casual comic enthusiast who may be trying to keep up with the Superman trades. DC certainly didn’t make it easy as you have the Superman Action Comic volumes, Superman volumes, and then the unnumbered Superman volumes like this one and Doomed. It makes it kind of tricky for fans to know when they all take place. This one only has 1 actual Superman issue along with a .3 in there somewhere, a few zero issues, and then issues from the other members of the Super family. I guess you could say that this is actually Superman volume 4.5. We temporarily get a break from the Psy War plot, which is certainly a good thing!

Superman was just minding his own business when he bumps into Supergirl and Superboy in space. For reasons unknown to them, they have been summoned to that area! After a little wondering, a cosmic being appears and his herald lets the heroes know that H’el has begun his latest assault on the universe. If he succeeds, everything dies! Each hero is given a task to complete to save the timestream. Superboy must go to the past and make sure that Supergirl gets onto the rocket. Supergirl must defeat the clones in one of the battles of Krypton’s past. Finally, Superman needs to make sure that Krypton actually blows up since H’el wants to stop that! It’s a race against time, but the heroes are ready!

Unlike the first arc where H’el showed up, this is a very small event. It’s so small that technically, the heroes aren’t even on screen together for almost the entire adventure. I thought that was a bit of a cop-out as some more team fights would have been a lot of fun. Each comic is a stand alone adventure for the heroes like in the classic DC/Marvel comics of old, but there are some cutaways so they aren’t completely isolated.

Before the plot began though, we got to see the 0 issues for Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, and H’el. It’s interesting because I’d already read Superman’s and Supergirl’s in the past thanks to their respective collections, but Superboy and H’el’s were new. Origin stories are always intriguing. The Superboy one definitely had some interesting plot points that would probably come into play in his series. The main villain certainly has a cool design at any rate. It’s also neat how Superman’s actually foreshadowed an event that happened in this collection as he witnessed Krypton explode in person. It’s impressive since the issue came out way before this arc began.

H’el’s is a little tragic for the character even if he seriously overreacted. It turns out that everything he has ever known was basically fake so his life was a lie. Now, he doesn’t want to save Krypton so much as he just wants to rule it and destroy everyone who gets in his way. Any sense of heroism is gone now and only the villain remains. He looks a lot weaker than he was in hte original event, which is a good thing since the fights won’t be so lopsided now. He didn’t really get to fight anyone though so it’s hard to say if his true ability was really lowered or not, but that’s just how it goes.

Supergirl’s adventure was likely the most straight forward. As she was under a red sun, she needed to use her hand to hand moves to defeat the clones. She does know some close combat skills thanks to an old friend of hers so she manages to hold her own. After that, she has a quick rematch with H’el as he tries to fight the heroes across time and space. The issue was good although I wish that she had maintained her super abilities since a high speed fight with H’el would have been cool.

Superboy’s issue was surprisingly the best one as it easily had the most action. He got to fight the actual essence of Krypton when it wanted to explode. It turns out in a neat twist that all planets have a hidden life form that makes sure that the planet will die when it is supposed too. It’s one of those random things that will likely never be mentioned again, but this also gave Superboy a good opponent to fight so I am certainly fine with that. The design for the villain was cool and Superboy even got to get along with Supergirl for a change. Their rivalry is certainly very intense on Earth so their’s no shot of getting along there.

Still, they put aside their differences when necessary. I like all three of the Super characters and I assume that they can patch things up eventually. As for the Superman story, not much happened there for a while, but eventually he got to meet up with H’el and have a fight. Granted, H’el was super weakened from fighting Superboy and Supergirl while also having most of his body melt thanks to Superman’s father, but Superman still took a decisive victory in this match. It was a decent climax and while H’el’s end in the first arc was probably better for him as a character, at least this one cemented him as a villain.

As expected, the art is solid. The weakest issue in that regard would likely be Superman 0, but they’re all quite good and live up to DC’s strong reputation for having well drawn comics. The fight scenes are good and the character models stand out as usual. The art would have likely been even more impressive if the collection had only had some more action. Alas, it was simply not to be!

As for the writing, it’s certainly a step up over the last two Superman volumes. This time, Superman actually acts like his typical heroic self for the most part. Even at the very end of the comic where his father tries to destroy H’el, Superman quickly stops him. Destroying the guy simply isn’t right and Superman took a stand. That being said, Superman’s father actually managing to get into space and go across the timelines was a little iffy. I think that the comic went a little too far trying to show how much of a genius he was in that scene. It’s also very intriguing that he would create H’el in the first place as it seems a little out of character to do such morally dubious acts.

If there’s just one issue that I had with this event, it’s that it just felt like filler. I feel like DC only half heartedly brought H’el back and just used him as a time waster. As I explained earlier, it doesn’t feel like much of an event because of how isolated all of the heroes were. Some plot elements also feel random like Superman’s father arriving and Superboy fighting the essence of Krypton. As a result, the collection was also decently light on the action angle. I think that a few more issues for the event would have helped it out a lot. As it stands, half of the collection was made up of origin issues.

Overall, Krypton Returns is still a fun collection. It’s certainly a big step up from the last Superman volume that I read! The action scenes that we got here were much better than the Psy War’s and the writing has also improved. It’s always nice to see Supergirl and Superboy as well. Especially Superboy as I never see him anywhere else and he seems like a fairly good character in the New 52. I prefer this streamlined version to his Young Justice counterpart. H’el was not as impressive as last time, but that’s probably a good thing. Maybe he will return again someday and the cosmic being will have to call Superman to action. If so, I’ll be ready for that! I’m afraid that the Superman reviews will likely stop here for a while, but no worries. Soon I shall have a Marvel one up to counter this! If you’re a comic fan who likes some action, then I definitely recommend this trade paperback to you!

Overall 7/10

The Adventures of Superboy Volume 1 Review

DC made some pretty great comics back in the day. Nothing beats reading the earliest adventures of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the other members of the Justice League. We get a pun a minute with some decently good action scenes that are really one sided between the heroes and random thugs. It may be a little cheesy, but it’s definitely fun. This collection brings some comics about Superman when he was a kid and it’s pretty fun to see how he grew up.

There are a whole bunch of stories in this collection because it is around 230 pages in total and each story is only around 5-8. There isn’t really a lot of continuity in the issues and you can read them in any order, but some characters so appear more than once so you may as well start from the top. Superboy is the main character of course and the stories revolve around him as he helps out the other kids or stops criminals.

One story had him help a kid whose car had broken down and everyone made fun of him. Superboy helped him fix the car and win the race because he’s a nice guy deep down. Another story tested Superboy’s moral limits as he beat the other kids in a marbling tournament even though he knew that he could not lose. This was because a secret plan was hidden in one of them and Superboy had to get it to the scientist. He gave them back the Marbles later anyway so it all worked out. Other stories include inventions that are stolen, kites that have bombs in them, Scout hunts that turn deadly, and a kid who became a cave kid.

There are certainly a lot of plots involved, but none of them are really long enough to speak at length about. They’re simply fun to read and then you move on to the next story. It’s likely that Superboy will be saving the day once again because it’s what he does. It’s pretty incredible to think about since Superboy is already a medical genius by the end of the volume since he was some books at super speed. I wish the current Superman had kept all of this because the old one was a genius at just about everything.

The portrayal of Superboy is consistently good throughout the comics. He always makes the right choices and Superboy is essentially the perfect hero. He also makes sure that Clark Kent is the perfect buddy as he never takes risks, but he always reminds the others to drive safely while giving other good tips. He can definitely exaggerate the Clark Kent angle though and sometimes I feel like he shouldn’t be afraid to win. Clark Kent nearly won the Spelling Bee, but he then decided that he should lost on purpose so that the kids wouldn’t figure out that he was Superboy. I doubt that they would have considered it for long though since Clark always makes himself look bad for the endings. In some ways, his deception is a little more drastic than Peter Parker’s, but not always. Clark still talks tough against the robbers and he’s usually the first guy to make a move.

Superboy was really the only big character in this one, but there were a few others over the course of the comics. Perry White guest starred in one issue and we got to see how he joined the Daily Planet. He did let the fame get to him a little as he got the job since Superboy said that Perry would forget Clark Kent’s name by the time he became Chief. Clark helped him get the job so I would expect him to never forget the kid. There was also another reporter who tried to hit it big and he was decent.

There were some reoccurring characters in the form of the local kids. They’re present in just about every comic, but good luck remembering their names. John, Bob, Tim, they’re all something like that and they all start to blur together as the comics go. They tend to be pretty confident as they rush into danger since Superboy always comes to their rescue. None of them are bad characters, but they’re mostly just around to help things get started. You could replace them with any other kid and the outcome would typically be the same. You can barely call them characters, but we didn’t have as many big characters back in the day so it’s not a really bad thing. Better to be a shadow of a character than a bad one.

The art for the comics is classic. It can be a little rough around the edges and I do admit that Marvel was winning this battle back in the day. That being said, it makes for a lot of funny facial expressions and Superboy sometimes appears to be in his mid 40’s if you were to judge his age from his face. It’s always fun to see the bullets bounce off of the caped hero and the art also lets you know who’s a hero and who isn’t. The villains typically look pretty sneaky and suspicious from the get go.

Overall, This is a pretty fun collection of short stories. It’s a good way to see how Superman grew up and it’s a lot better than any other form where they showed his childhood. It’s certainly a much better version than Smallville and nothing that the New 52 has up it’s sleeve from some secret twists and extra details to Superman’s origins can top this. This is the definitive version of how Superman became the hero that he is today and it’s a must read for his fans. Don’t go in expecting a lot of fights though because this is simply an origin story that took place in a very peaceful town. The only big danger here is the fact that there are many crooks who love to come to the town and people who want to get rich through quick schemes. Luckily, Superboy is always there to save the day…and his reputation as the world’s greatest hero!

Overall 7/10

Scarlet Spider vs Superboy

Scarlet Spider has quite a few tough attacks at his disposal, but they won’t be enough to take Superboy down. He may have defeated the Kryptonian in the comics, but there’s no way that Superboy should have lost that round. Superboy is a powerhouse and his abilities aren’t for the faint of heart. Superboy wins.

Superboy vs Black Canary

Black Canary has a lot of acrobatic skills, but she’s never been a match for Superboy. His raw power and speed are too much for her. She just can’t beat that kind of opponent. That’s why it’s an easy win for Superboy as he rises up the ranks. None can stop him now! Superboy wins.

Superman vs Superboy

Superboy’s a tough guy. He has the powers of Superman! With those abilities he can give anyone a tough fight. Of course Superman has more years of experience and his abilities are better. Superboy may have lost his first fight, but he’ll get there. He can’t stay down forever. Superman rises yet again on the blog. How far will he go? Superman wins.