Superboy Volume 1: Incubation by Scott Lobdell – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]

Superboy Incubation

Bane of Kings reviews the first volume of Superboy from the New 52 Series, Incubation, written by Scott Lobdell and published by DC Comics.

“A title that whilst has a promising start is let down with its unlikable lead character, and a weak storyline that can only be fully understood when read with the much better first volume of the Teen Titans series.” ~The Founding Fields

Writer: Scott Lobdell | Art: RB Silva, Rob Lea | Cover: Eric Canete | Publisher: DC Comics | Collects: Superboy #1-#7

I really wanted to like Superboy. I mean, I enjoyed Scott Lobdell’s Teen Titans, but he’s is slowly turning into a hit and miss writer for me, as the first issue in his Red Hood and the Outlaws series wasn’t too brilliant – which was a shame for the concept drew me in and I rather enjoyed the artwork. I wish the same could be said for Superboy, as while the art is nice and crisp in places, it didn’t work for me on many levels and I really felt that the artwork really let this book down. The fact that it crossed over with Teen Titans really didn’t help either – and although I’d read that book, I didn’t feel particularly compelled to  flick back and forth between each issue to remind myself what had happened as a result I quickly lost interest with the book itself.

Writer SCOTT LOBDELL teams up with artist R.B. SILVA to reinvent SUPERBOY! • Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has put a lot of effort into creating their SUPERBOY, and they intend to make sure he performs to their standards. • Collecting the first seven issues of the new series!

I am quite glad that this book is a library read because I am disappointed to say that this book is probably one of the worst titles that I have read so far this year and would have been annoyed if I’d have brought this when there are loads of better titles out there – Batgirl, Batman and Justice League are some great New 52 offerings. Heck, if you don’t want to stray out of the young justice circle then Teen Titans is lightyears better than what I found in these seven issues.

Superboy IncubationIncubation starts right from the start and creates an interesting origin story for Superboy – cloned as a weapon of NOWHERE (only in comic books would an organisation be called NOWHERE), the first issue was what drew me in and persuaded me to give this book a chance. As I was reading it I would be interested to see how Superboy develops as a character and I also wanted to fill in the gaps between this title and the Teen Titans. However, after a promising start – it sort of fell apart from the first issue onwards and by the end I was left not enjoying this title. Firstly, there are several key issues with this book that prevented me from having maximum enjoyment. It’s narration heavy – to the point where it bogs down the title and the panels feel crowded with words. This is a shame as the series had the potential to be so much better – as I’m a fan of clones going rogue stories ever since I read James Patterson’s Maximum Ride. (The first three books were strong, but the rest took a sheer nosedive in quality).

I enjoyed the start of this series mainly because of the concept, which as mentioned above – is one that I enjoyed, and the first issue was promising mainly because it showed just how alien Superboy was as a character – he’s really not your average teen hero at the start which really differences this from other titles. However, as the connections with Teen Titans and more start to become apparent, this graphic novel slowly loses its grasp and becomes not only more confusing, but also less entertaining and the weak plot becomes clear. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened to this title if Lobdell had not chosen to connect it with Teen Titans, but alas he has done so, and the end result is a let down.

The plot is weak, and the last issue left me with no motivation to read the subsequent issues in the title so I think it’s safe to say that Superboy will be a title that I will be avoiding in future unless writers who I have a more positive experience with than Lobdell get on board this volume. But it’s safe to say that with uninteresting characters, below-par artwork and many more flaws with this title, Incubation is one to avoid.

VERDICT: 2/5

Weak plot. Unlikable characters, and below-standard artwork and a badly-constructed connection with Teen Titans make this title a miss. It’s for collectors and die-hard fans of Superboy only – so this is a title that you should avoid.

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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