The Kid is captivated by Supergirl in Superman’s adventure # 502.
Superman’s adventure #502
Triangle number 1993 – 19
Author: Karl Kesel
Penciler: Tom Grummett
Inker: Doug Hazlewood
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Albert de Guzman
Although it was hard for me to find every issue of “Reign of the Supermen” as a kid, it was the only series I never missed. Superman’s adventure. I was just completely in love with Kid and would be for many years to come.
Although Kid seemed to have taken Superman’s words to heart at the end of that issue, that does not seem to be the case as this issue opens and he is back to showboating while rescuing a car with teens from driving over hobs. Bay bridge. To impress Supergirl, he drops the car just to catch it again.
This is where the character’s naivety and hormonal anxiety come into play, as Superboy is courted by Lex Luthor via Supergirl. Lex has wanted his own personal Superman since the original Man of Tomorrow arrived in Metropolis all those years ago, and with four to choose from now, he will not rest until he has one on the payroll. The problem here, though, is that Kid is already exclusive to WGBS, including being followed around by their news team all day long.
Do you remember Rex Leech? The guy who desperately wanted to buy the pictures of Superman’s death of Jimmy Olsen? Well, now he’s been hired by someone to play middleman and hire an assassin to try to wipe out the child.
On Bibbo-Watch he gets a dog tag for his new puppy, but the limit on the tag is six letters, so now he has a tag that says “Krypto” and not “Krypton” as he wanted. It confuses the mind that he is content with this, as this is certainly not the only guy in town who sells engraved dog tags. It’s a clear shortcut to reintroducing a dog named Krypto into the Superman myth, but in the end it just feels rushed and a little lazy.
Lex plays directly to the child’s raging hormones and invites him to a fancy dinner with Supergirl wearing the smartest dress possible, and because this is a 16-year-old with no moral compass to speak of yet, it works almost instantly.
But what Luthor did not count on is WGBS and Rex Leech playing to the same hormones. Leech and Vinnie Edge have put Superboy together with Clark Kent’s old apartment at 344 Clinton Street (remember it was packed up and moved out in the last issue of Superman). But more importantly, Rex introduces Kid to his daughter Roxie, and Kid, full of hormones, immediately signs the contract. If Rex had not already been established as the slimy man in Metropolis, this sequence would do it alone as he uses his daughter’s sex appeal to make money. It’s incredibly creepy, and reading it 30 years later, it’s hard to see how they’ve ever made Rex a likeable character in Super boy. Rex also creates the ongoing subplot of the Kids brand on both the Superman “S” shield and the Superman name, while Tana Moon privately protests that Vinnie Edge is taking advantage of Kid.
The other half of the case is the child’s encounter with the assassin hired by Leech, a man named Stinger. When Supergirl arrives to help, and also to see if getting the kid over to WLEX, the Stinger escapes by blowing up the Hob’s Bay bridge into the air.
The question ends with a tease, just as the questions up to the doomsday conflict did. An alien ship approaches Earth, set on war.
Do you miss previous posts in The Never-Ending Battle? The early contributions can be found on Comfort Food Comics, while newer ones can be found here on The Beat.
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