"The Insiders Part One"
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Matthew Clark (p), Art Thibert (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Superboy goes on a rampage, serial killer style. Winick and Johns are intent on collapsing evermore the boundaries between their two similar team books, as a similar betrayal within the Outsiders’ ranks parallels this dire turn.
Comments: Johns is in ultra-violence free-for-all mode this month. What is it with him and the various crucial joints and appendages and bodily organs of this team? After building for two years from the disturbing news that Superboy is half Luthor/half Kal-El DNA, a sonic trigger sent by e-mail turns Conner into a rampaging Super-beast.
I have mixed feelings about this story, because while I enjoyed the sub-plot, this is not the ideal way to transit this story to main plot status. Conner rampages through his teammates, exploding Cyborg (again), punching his girlfriend in the face, and seriously damaging best friend Robin’s arm. Subtlety falls completely by the wayside, as Johns amps up what amounts to empty drama.
Because the interest in the story isn’t “how much damage can an evil Kon-El do?” The interest in the story is “do Lex’s genes have an inherently corrupting effect on Superboy, and can he learn to live with this temptation for evil that exists within him, if in fact it does exist?” By turning him into a pre-programmed rampaging robot, that freedom of choice, that dramatic tension, is stripped from him as soon as the story begins, and so the rest of the tale becomes containing the Juggernaut, which isn’t as interesting as talking the Juggernaut down, or the Juggernaut beginning to question himself.
Now, this may all be a delaying tactic before we get to the real meat of the story, and it is obviously being timed to tie in to a similar (and similarly predictable) betrayal from within the Outsiders’ ranks this month.
But, at least for this story, the plot machinations are over-obvious and crude, and the longed-for payoff fizzles.
Art-wise: Clark’s work is passable but uninspired; most of the credit should go to Thibert’s inking which, though decorative, maintains a high level of detail.
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