Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kon-El, Superboy. 1993-2006.

Or Why I am going to stop reading DC comics for a while.

I’m sorry about the spoiler title, but there’s no other way. For those who follow DC Comics religiously is not a spoiler. For those who don’t… well, I don’t think you will care.

During one of the most stupid annual events I’ve ever read since I started reading comics, Superboy, aka. Kon-el, aka. Conner Kent, dies in a fight against Superboy Prime and Alex Luthor, who wish to destroy the universe as we know it to recreate the multiverse.*

And while one could say that Superboy’s death was heroic, and that he managed to engrave himself in his friend’s memories (Especially in Wonder Girl’s memory), and one could say that he’s a less popular character, that it was better for him to die than to have him as plot device for Luthor’s ‘stock secret plan 53’…

I can’t agree with that.

When Superman died, in his big fight versus Doomsday, I didn’t read DC comics. I found them boring. And despite the great hype around Death of Superman, I didn’t believe he was staying dead for long. I bought Superman 75 out of curiosity, but that was all my interest.

By the time we got to “Reign of the Supermen” I had leafed through the stories, but hadn’t bought any. Until I read Superboy’s first appearance.

I’ll be truthfull. It wasn’t the greatness of the script what called my attention (“Don’t call me Superboy!”). It was that Superboy was *cute*.

But I was 16. So I had an excuse.

And Superboy caught me, even when I still think that Superman is a bore. I bought all the Adventures of Superman with Superboy in, I also got the tpb of Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, Return of Superman, and Reign of the Supermen.

Superboy #1 was the second first issue I bought new in my life.

I followed Superboy faitfully during almost all his series, through the times when he wouldn’t grow up, when he got the name Kon-El, and even when he was sent to the Kent’s farm, something that always seemed stupid to me, but I trusted DC back then.
Young Justice was one of my favorite comics thanks to Peter David’s scripts, but I started reading it because Superboy was on it.

When YJ was cancelled, I thought about giving Teen Titans a chance, but they didn’t manage to grab my attention, so for the first time since he appeared, I didn’t bought a comic book with Superboy on it (But I loved him in Legion of Superheroes)

And while I waited for Teen Titans to stop being boring to buy it, I was thrilled to see another of my old favorites back, Booster Gold, thanks to the wonderful “Formerly Known as the Justice League”. Which, by the way, is a wonderful comic comic book. Both FKATJL as it’s sequel, I Can’t Believe it’s not the Justice League are a must buy.

And then in Identity Crisis they killed one of the best supporting characters of the League, Sue Dibny, Ralph Dibny’s wife.

There has been a lot written about the fact, so I won’t fill a post with it. But I was sickened. Not enough to stop buying the Legion, and anything that had to do with the League that I liked, but I was angry.

A year later, in Prelude to the Crisis, Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, was killed along the character of Maxwell Lord (The latter was killed both in character, as what he did was completely out of character for him, and literally, a couple of issues after he killed Beetle). But I still kept buying the Legion because to me it was fun (And I know this is not an opinion shared by many)

Superboy’s death, however, is the last drop for me. Because it was innecessary and stupid, because it seems that someone is following a manual on ‘how to write DC crisis’, because ‘Superboy Prime’ is one of the worst villains ever…

And because when we finally get to the final battle, the climatic moment, the fatal wound… it actually happens off panel. We see Kon and SBP destroy Alex Luthor’s machine, yes. We see how Wonder Girl puts away the debris to find him impaled with an iron rod.

What? How did that happen? Following his original powers, he has a permanent TT field around him, unless he’s distracted or unconscious. Since he is awake when Cassie found him, it wasn’t the latter and… Who would get distracted during a fight against SBP?

And if we follow his ‘Superman-lite’ powers that lately had been appearing, things get worse. Because... well... Superboy should be invulnerable, right?

Citing Annie Wilkes, it’s not that he’s dead. It’s that his death was unfair. (Same could go for Speedball in Marvel’s Civil War. If he dies, well, I can take it even when he’s other of my favorites. But if he’s going to die, I hope that he’s killed with his powers taken in account and not with a dues ex machine, please)

So finally, this is a so long to DC comics. Not a boycott, because I don’t expect anyone to do the same, and it’s not forever because… well, it’s comic books. Kon-El is going to come back sooner or later (And if one sees Teen Titans 34 it may be sooner than expected) and when he does, I’ll start buying DC again.

But as comic book readers, the only way we have of telling the editorials that we don’t like something, is by not buying their titles.

*It’s a bit complicated to explain to those who don’t read comics. So let’s just say it was one of those fights to save the world as we know it and leave it as that.