Reign of the Supermen #486: Jon Lane Kent

Source: Superboy vol. #19 (2013)
Type: Alternate future
One of the reasons I am hating on the New52 is Scott Lobdell. This guy has been writing Superman, Superboy, Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and all of it is SO Marvel Comics, it's not even funny. He's writing this stuff as if it were 90s X-Men. Case in point, his recent attempt at a sort of origin story for Superboy (which reminds me, haven't Reigned in the New52 Superboy, do that next week), which involves the following very X-Men-like ideas:
1. A villain who is ultimately responsible for everything even though we've never heard of him and he has a lame name (Harvest). I'm having Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister flashbacks.
2. The villain comes from a future in which metahumans are hated and hunted because they caused some kind of disaster/strife. Days of Futures Past-type stuff, except set in the 30th century, which is way too close to the Legion timeline to make any sense.
3. In his non-zombie form, Harvest has a scar on his eye. Of course. Cable would be proud to call him a cousin.
4. In FACT, there's a lot of Cable/X-Man/Rachel Summers in here, with Harvest grooming the son of Superman and Lois Lane, or at least clones of him (because we haven't achieved Madelyne Prior levels of convolution yet) to be his champion through which metas are destroyed at the root. Potential scions of present-day heroes were all the rage in the X-books, as you know.
5. Lets make it a little grim too, with the original Jon Lane Kent falling dead before the age of four from a great height due to genetic incompatibility. [SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN AGENDA PROPAGANDED!] And he looked like such a happy baby, too.
Frankly, I'm surprised his powers didn't wait for adolescence to manifest because, y'know, mutants.
6. The Jon Kent clones last longer and longer under Harvest's creepy tutelage, but they inevitably die because of their paltry Lois Lane genes. You're not an X-Man unless you died a bunch of times.
7. Everything Lobdell established before that doesn't fit in with this story immediately retconned.

So Superboy is now one of these clones made from Superman/Lois DNA and I guess maybe a sleeper agent for Harvest's mad plan to destroy the metahumans like Superman (he's not a metahuman, dumbass) using the scion of the first metahuman (and he wasn't the first, idiot) because it's more poetic that way even though Harvest's own life history has shown that the Jon Kent genome isn't viable. And don't get me started on how Harvest stopped raiding baby Jon's corpse for DNA and went to his parents instead... somehow making a Jon Kent look-alike every time. BECAUSE THAT'S HOW DNA WORKS!


Paul C said...

I'm really enjoying Lobdell's Superman run so far but I checked out Superboy's WTF issue out of curiosity and it's hard not to agree with your assessment. I've always hated all the Cable/Mr Sinister/future/clone/bollocks part of X-Men continuity. It does seem as if Lobdell's brought that to Superboy.

One of the reasons I've generally preferred DC to Marvel is the relatively elegant simplicity of DC's heroes origins. To me the nice thing about DC origins is, for the most part you can tell the origin to a non-comic reader in one sentence and it sounds cool. Johns brought that to Superboy a few years ago with his "clone of Superman and Lex Luthor" origin. Now Lobdell's really muddied the waters with this daft Jon Lane Kent stuff.

For me the strength of Lobdell's Superman so far is that he's kept it relatively simple. Each issue has been fun in its own right with lots of action and just enough soap opera & teasing of future storylines to keep it interesting. By his own admission he doesn't plan too far ahead in advance with his stories so when he starts to lay the groundwork for epic storylines involving future bloodlines and cloning, as he's done with Superboy, I think he's setting himself up for a fall.

Anonymous said...

Lobdell is working in comics only because of the overprized artists of the early 90s. Seems Bob Harras (editor of the X-Men comics at Marvel) was bending over backwards for the Lees / Portacios / etc, screwing over writers in the process (Claremont, Byrne, etc) whose job had become slapping word balloons on finished art and trying to guess what story the artists have decided to tell.

Scott Lobdell was an aspiring comedian, who happened to be in the right place at the right time as Harras was looking for someone -- anyone -- willing to put up with this crap. And by the time the Lees / Portacios / etc had left Marvel, Harras had burned bridges with the old writers, so Lobdell stayed on.

Compared to Claremont -- who had long been spinning his wheels by his exit anyway -- I was pretty happy to see Lobdell on the X-Books. Compared to a Waid or a Johns or a Snyder or a Tomasi, though ... ? I wish Lobdell would take one of Scott Snyder's writing classes, to maybe realize how vital it is to plan your story out so you can introduce themes and build to resolutions and so forth.

Siskoid said...

Maybe I'm tainted by the fact I remember him as the guy who wrote the most awful fill-in strips in Marvel Comics Presents (when he started out), not long before I quit all Marvel books for good. 1990 I believe it was. I wouldn't read another Marvel book until Karl Kesel's Daredevil and only relatively recently got back into Marvel books, and right now, their output is a lot more fun than DC's.

When I saw Lobdell on a few New52 books, and remember, I tried the 1st issue of everything (oh research!), his Titans were an X-book, with superpowered kids running from the authorities. I was one of the few who liked Red Hood (I loved the buddy humor if not the Starfire characterization), but he lost me with the stuff where Jason Todd had friends in lost civilizations... it just came out of nowhere. Which is how I feel about his deux ex machina character in Superman, Dr. Veritas. What the hell. It's the kind of character I could imagine in Claremont's X-Men (which the 90s emulated and extremed to death, from what I can see), but again, comes out of nowhere in Superman. The few issues I've read of his on Superman material, it ALMOST works, but then something tremendously stupid or ill-considered happens and he just hasn't built up enough good will from me that I can accept it.

I find it strange that he would slap that crazy whopper of an origin on Superboy and then deliver the book into someone else's hands. Or is Justin Jordan just filling time before Lobdell returns, Harvest in tow?

snell said...

Stryfe. Don't forget Stryfe (shudder).

Siskoid said...

That was after my time, happily, but I did make a subtle reference to him. Didja notice?

karl said...

Harvest turned up in the latter issues of the recent Legion Lost, and what a fuck-up it was - endless regurgitating of the plot [which no-one could glean anyway] and characters who couldn't begin a sentence without mentioning each other by name first.

LiamKav said...

"One of the reasons I've generally preferred DC to Marvel is the relatively elegant simplicity of DC's heroes origins."

That's true in some cases. The whole "Doomed planet, desperate scientists, last hope, kindly couple" aspect. But "guy got chemicals on him and was then struck by lightning and can now run really fast"? That's less "elegant simplicity" and more just "simple".

And there are a fair few Marvel characters that have that resonant simplicity to their origins. The Hulk's is pretty good, and gets better the more you dig (Repressed Banner was trying to build a nuclear bomb, for example), but you don't have to dig. I would agree that Superman and Batman have the best origins in comics, but for most DC heroes it's a pretty sharp drop off after that.

I'd also buy the "DC's origin stories are superior" if they didn't keep rebooting them every 3 years or so...


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