Superboy The Man of Tomorrow #5
Conner's been left for dead on a planet far out in the cosmos. With his teleportation band broken, he has no way of getting in touch with Kelex or telling the Green Lantern Corps what Travv's master plan is. He'll need to find a way off this world if he's going to stop Travv, but even if he does, can he really make a difference in this cold, harsh universe?
This series started with a fairly basic idea: Conner looking for a way to fit into this new world that he’s a part of. With each issue his efforts met with less and less success. But far from being a straightforward adventure that makes Conner feel good about himself in this universe, Porter’s story is actually a journey of self-discovery. And in Superboy The Man of Tomorrow #5, Conner finally hits the critical moment where he’ll either change for the better or he won’t.
Conner awakens on the planet that the Cosmoteers exiled him to at the end of the previous issue. The inhabitants that found him treated him and are trying to fix his teleporter. But as Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #5 opens, Conner is upset and dejected. Despite the high esteem the friendly inhabitants hold him in, Conner flies off, believing himself a failure–both guilty of the failings that the Cosmoteers accused him of and of not stopping Travv when he started going too far to stop Dominator X. But the people that helped Conner convince him that he did do good work and that he can save others if he sets out to do it. They also present the repaired teleporter. Convinced, Conner finds the planet Travv is on–where he’s currently on a crusade for revenge and killing everyone who gets in his way, no matter how innocent. Conner defeats him at first. But Travv has one last card up his sleeve.
Like every good journey of self-discovery, this one finally strips Conner of all his illusions. He comes into this issue believing everything the Cosmoteers said about him to be true. Conner is busy trying to reclaim what was instead of growing into what is. His broken communicator also isolates him. When Conner goes out on his own, collapses, and screams–he feels as lost, metaphorically, as when the universe moved on without him. Conner was so sure of himself when he started his adventure–arrogant even–that he was unlikely to change otherwise. We saw in previous issues that he was resistant to this kind of criticism from the Cosmoteers (before Travv decided on ends-justifies-the-means villainy). If Conner didn’t hit rock bottom, he probably doesn’t learn this lesson.
At the same time, Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #5 shifts Conner into a new direction on his arc, it also shifts the antagonist from Dominator X to Travv. Despite Travv’s earlier intentions, he’s seemingly become Dominator X’s most powerful weapon. Unfortunately it simply got out of Dominator X’s control. It’s been a shift that’s developed over the length of the series to this point, so it doesn’t feel like it jumped to this extreme out of nowhere.
Conner has looked almost jovial at even the worst of moments in this series. Lindsay’s art has pushed an almost carefree attitude that matched the self-confidence Porter’s scripts gave him. That art has led perfectly to this issue when Conner is visually down on himself. Lindsay’s art in the issue’s opening pages reflects confusion and then dejection. Just like Porter has brought him down to a rock bottom moment, Lindsay does the same. It’s a brief moment, and as soon as Conner comes out of it the boundless positivity is back in his expression. It’s as visually compelling as it is narratively.
Gattoni’s lettering has been expressive throughout this series, especially the sound effects. In this issue, during the fight sequences, Gattoni colors his sound effects to match the characters, energy blasts, and surroundings. The coordination makes the action moments even more engaging.
An already strong series hits an even higher note here. What seemed like a straightforward adventure with a predictable arc and ending became something more complex. Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #5 gives the series a deeper character arc and punctuates it as a true story of self-discovery.
Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #5: Rebound
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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