ART: R.B. Silva, Rob Lean, and Iban Coello
It came as no surprise to me when I found Superboy #9 to be one of the best issues of the series. While Scott Lobdell still finds ways to make really silly mistakes, those instances are minimal this issue. This month, Superboy, Teen Titans, and Legion: Lost are all part of "The Culling", a crossover event that pits the Titans and Legionnaires against Harvest and his team of Ravagers. Superboy #9 stands as Part 2 of the four-part epic, giving it a 'will-they-wont-they' approach to the fates of these kids against a psychopathic paranoid monster.
The Titans and Legionnaires - along with other, unaffiliated metahuman kids like Beast Boy and Terra - find it difficult to work together, let alone trust one another, a sentiment that can be easily felt by readers who pick up Teen Titans every month, but not Legion: Lost, or vice-versa; if you don't readily recognize these characters, you find yourself agreeing when Red Robin doesn't want to include the Legionnaires in his strategy, for example. The actual 'Culling' is basically your "Battle Royale" scenario - most famously grafted onto a post-apocalyptic world for this year's infamous The Hunger Games - where the children are forced to fight each other to the death in order to see who has what it takes to join the ranks of Harvest's Ravagers.
"The Culling" storyline began last week in Teen Titans Annual #1 and served mostly to introduce (and in some cases kill off) characters like Terra, Beast Boy, Artemis, Thunder, Lightning, and others - all of whom had some connection to the Titans before the Flashpoint event. Superboy #9 takes the next logical step and features the main battle between the teamed-up Titans and Legionnaires squaring off against Rose Wilson and the other Ravagers.
My opinions concerning origin stories and Lobdell's handling of the Titans and Superboy thus far set aside, if you're going to pump your titles full of fights, you better make them awesome and in the case of Superboy #9, they are. Basically, it boils down to Superboy vs. Warblade and Red Robin vs. Rose Wilson with a few other heroes helping out here and there. By the end of the issue, all the other Ravagers have been taken out, and Harvest descends to take on all the teenaged superheroes by himself. It's a pretty awesome moment to end on and leads directly into Legion: Lost #9.
PS - Seeing as Legion: Lost #9 is the third act of "The Culling", followed by part four in Teen Titans next week, I figured I could give you a little information about LL#9 if you don't regularly read it, just in case you want to know what's happening when you pick up TT#9 next week.
Basically, Legion: Lost #9 is an issue-long battle between the combined forces of the Teen Titans, the Legionnaires, and the other Culling participants against the awesome power of Harvest, who seems to be deflecting and countering any and all attacks made against him. Also, the issue is littered with instances of Harvest referencing the 31st century, knowledge of the Legion, and Bart Allen's true history. In fact, Harvest explains that the Legionnaires were never lost - he had called for them. In many respects, LL#9 makes it seem like "The Culling" is more or less the endgame to the origin story for the Titans, Superboy, and the lost Legionnaires, providing a platform with which to reveal secret information, make or break alliances, and finish up all this ongoing-epic stuff that has lasted a whole 9 issues for all three of these series.