ART: Sebastian Fiumara
Either I'm just getting used to terrible writing, or Scott Lobdell is finally, finally, finally hitting the half-serious half-cheeky tone he's been searching for most of the last ten months. Or it could be that he's finished with that N.O.W.H.E.R.E. ridiculousness that literally went nowhere. Whatever the reason, Superboy #9 is my favorite issue of the series so far. I've also come to terms - at least a bit - with the fact that Lobdell is going to keep Superboy and Teen Titans interwoven for the foreseeable future. Wonder Girl 'guest stars' in this issue as she and Kon (thank Jeezus I don't keep having to call him Superboy every single time) search for the rest of the Titans on Mystery Island, which is shaped like question mark.
One of my biggest gripes with Lobdell's writing, thus far, is the shallow way he chooses to develop characterization. Inner monologue can be effective if done well, if it's believable and relatable to how normal people think and act thereon. Unfortunately, Lobdell's use of inner monologue is frighteningly hollow and redundant. Until now, it seems.
Granted, the first few pages are pretty cheesy (Kon refers to himself in the third person at some point), but otherwise, the minimal use ends up being effective. It seems that isolating Kon and Cassie has given Lobdell a bit more legroom to work with each character. Instead of juggling every Titan or the numerous N.O.W.H.E.R.E. cliche villains, playing these two juggernauts against each other actually works. I found myself, on multiple occasions, thinking, That ain't haflf-bad!
Even the part where Kon uses hi telekinetic powers to 'feel' the ground and see Cassie topless was kind of endearing in an awkward adolescence kind of way. Yeah, it's a pretty weird couple of panels, but they give both of these characters some much needed personality. Up to now, Cassie has been a total bitch and nothing else, while Superboy's entire existence has been focused on N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It's a whole lot easier to like these two when they have more layers like real people.
At the end of the issue, Superboy and Wonder Girl find a mysterious set of stairs leading into the earth, down below the surface. They end up coming out upside down? It's a pretty heady page and one that promises an awesome continuation in Teen Titans in a few weeks. Keep this up, Lobdell, for real. I was one more bad issue away from not reading Superboy anymore, but now I'm hooked. Kudos.