Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3
Superboy’s team-up with the Cosmoteers is yielding rocky results. While they’re taking down many of Dominator X’s labs, their team dynamics leave much to be desired. Can this new quartet pull themselves together when Dominator X unleashes his most monstrous creation yet…the hulking Infinity?!
Conner Kent wanted to find somewhere to be a hero. And not only was he successful, but he also found another group of would-be freedom fighters he could influence into being better, kinder heroes. The series was only two issues old, and it felt like there was little left to explore beyond solving the nuts and bolts of the plot. Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3 introduces a new idea at the right time, and the series is better for it.
Conner and the Cosmoteers continue to liberate worlds from Dominator X in Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3. They’re also freeing those beings he planned to use as living weapons. Seeing what he brings to the table and that his less bloody tactics have merit, the Cosmoteers ask Conner to join them. Eventually, their efforts have enough impact that Dominator X is stripped of his position and power. But for all that success, trouble is brewing within the Cosmoteers’ ranks. Not everyone is pleased to have Conner on the team.
Superboy Man of Tomorrow began with Conner looking for his place in the world (or universe, as the case may be). Seemingly he’s found it. Porter doesn’t linger on the idea of Conner’s success for long, though. He introduces the concept that rather than find a place for himself; Conner has merely found a place to recreate what he used to have. It’s a surprising conversation because the topic comes at us unexpectedly. After all, Conner didn’t leave a status quo that had been acceptable, hoping to find something new. Nor did he intend to leave Earth from the very beginning.
But as soon as the Cosmoteer suggests Conner is trying to move forward by looking backward, it makes total sense. Conner wants his life to be, in some fashion, the same as it was before the world changed. But he hasn’t considered whether that is even possible.
This potential change in Conner’s motivation comes at just the right time. By the end of the second issue, Conner appeared well on his way to getting what he wanted out of this adventure. As fun as the second issue was, rinsing and repeating for a few more didn’t promise much character development or complexity. Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3 changes that. Perhaps this relatively carefree (for Conner) fight against the Dominators isn’t as satisfying as Conner thought. This increases the likelihood that Conner’s story, the character arc at the heart of this adventure, is far from over.
Readers can be forgiven for not entirely clicking with Lindsay’s art. Conner comes across as very young and relentlessly positive, if not perpetually happy. Even in the moments of most extraordinary confrontation, Conner seems to smile. That continues throughout this issue with one very notable exception.
Following the Cosmoteer challenging Conner that instead of finding a new direction for his life, he’s merely looking back to his past, Lindsay draws a horizontal panel in extreme close-up on the lower part of Conner’s face, specifically just above and below his mouth. The color palette is darker than what Lindsay has been using, and there is considerably more shading. The lines are also straighter, and the angles are not as soft. This one panel reads as a clear demarcation point for Conner–as though he’s confronting something that now can’t be ignored. The panel’s power lies in its stark departure from Lindsay’s style both before and after. It’s a visual exclamation mark that’s impossible to ignore.
Gattoni makes a big splash with sound effects on Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3’s opening pages. It accompanies Conner’s most significant action of the issue as he smashes into a Dominator ship. Lettering settles down somewhat after that, but so does the action. Gattoni knows when to let loose and when to hold back depending on what is going on in an issue.
The adventure plot that this series is built on is fun enough, but Conner’s character arc is where the meat of the story lies. Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3 complicates that story and raises anticipation for future issues more than either of the first two entries in the series.
Superboy Man of Tomorrow #3: Looking Back
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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