Superboy #6 is a great example of how a good story can rise above anything. For some reason DC Comics has decided to regurgitate as many of their old ideas as they can. Flash is dealing with the multiverse, Green Lantern is dealing with another pissed off Guardian and Doomsday has returned. Superboy #6 is one of the issues in the long road of Doomsday’s return, and it feels like writer Jeff Lemire knew that and decided to have fun with it. Lemire takes a step back from his current story arc to put Superboy, aka Connor Kent, in the path of the creature that murdered Superman.
Lemire plays it smart with Superboy #6 by taking the breather to re-establish what’s been going on. The opening pages are packed with panels featuring Superboy and Red Robin bringing us up to speed on the plot of Superboy thus far. Then, literally without warning, Doomsday arrives and the two start beating the hell out of each other. From there issue #6 consists of how many different ways Lemire can think up to have Superboy and Doomsday pound each other into hamburger. You can tell that Lemire isn’t really interested in the whole return of Doomsday angle so why not ratchet it up to a full-blown action epic?
It’s hard to put out a review on an issue like this because nothing really happens. The plot can be summed up with “bam-pow-smash-crack”. I will say this; Lemire manages to structure the fight in a way that puts real tension and drama into it. You can feel not only Superboy’s desperation to stop Doomsday, but also the nagging fears that this is the one being that killed The Man Of Steel. The end is a nice nod to the Death Of Superman as Superboy lays broken and bloody, spared only by the sudden departure of Doomsday through a bright wormhole. Part of me wondered if the bright wormhole had something to do with the White Lantern.
The drawback to Superboy #6 is the art. Marco Rudy plays a really bizarre game of hit-or-miss that covers almost each panel. At times the work looks like something from a school for folks who want to create paintings for dentist offices. They’re blurry and soft, with badly done faces that tend to all look the same. Then, much like Doomsday’s arrival, he’ll unleash with something really electric. Most of the best work comes through in the battle. Rudy’s portrayal of Doomsday is particularly savage and the fight scenes are as realistic in their violence as a situation like this will allow.
Sadly Superboy #6 is a real bait and switch as the cover is one of my favorites so far this year. Eddy Barrows, JP Mayer and Jamie Grant take an old idea of two enemies confronting each other in the rain and make it really sinister. It wanted more of what they were doing and less of the soft stroke stuff from Marco Rudy. The inconsistent art aside, Superboy is a standout part of the boring Doomsday retread.