Yet again, I got reeled into a cross over event, this time being H’el On Earth involving Superboy, Supergirl, and Superman comics. While Superman #13 leads up to this event, the real crossover begins with the 14 issues. And for any wondering about order to read them: Superboy, Supergirl, Superman. Really, Superboy peaked my interest in it, and I’ve been interested how Lobdell’s Superman would be. Have to say so far I’m not disappointed, and that some spoilers may lie ahead.
NOTE: if you wish to skip most the story spoilers and want just my general thoughts, skip to the last paragraph.
DeFalco handles things well with Superboy, albeit the starting couple of pages were a little confusing as it apparently picks up from Legion Lost issues 14-16 that I never read. Getting beyond that confusion that I personally wish just didn’t exist there, we pick back up with Superboy finding Bunker just crashing uninvited at his place, as well as a nod to events from previous issues before the real fun starts up. H’el, paying his first visit. H’el who kind of made me think of Bizarro Superman at first with the backwards Superman’s logo S and odd skin tone… And boy Superboy is lucky! He apparently is H’el’s first visit! Or maybe he’s not that lucky after all. At first it seems only Superboy can see him, and then (despite most of the Teen Titans jumping in to help) he gets his butt handed to him. Sure he lands a few blows, but they don’t do too much but just piss off H’el.
Next visit goes to Supergirl! After a tie in to Superman #13, as well as previous Supergirl issues (which Johnson makes far less confusing then DeFalco did with Superboy), we soon get treated to H’el’s visit. Despite an awkward introduction, things go pretty smoothly and generally fight free here. They talk, H’el explains himself and supposed loyalties to the House of El, and then H’el brings out Superboy and offers to break his neck! How nice, huh? Well, Supergirl doesn’t go for it, stating she wants to discuss with Superman on the matter first, and this directly ties us into Superman’s series!
So same stuff, Lobdell does a nod to previous issues but this time then Supergirl arrives! Luckily her crash course in the English language lets her pass as a random cosplay human interest story! I also must say Johnson and Lobdell did a nice job connecting the end of Supergirl into this issue. Just enough blending without redoing so much that you read more than brief bit twice. After they escape in costume to a more secluded place, H’el is introduced! A more detailed description (luckily, again, without really retelling anything) of H’el’s arrival is given and then TADA! Superboy is produced and He’l states he’ll kill him! Man, Superboy is having all the luck in this, and all because he’s a clone! Granted to say Superman objects, H’el beats him up then makes himself look like Superman somehow as he beats up Supergirl, then goes to beating Superman up again. At least Superboy manages to wake up and give Superman a hand. And as Superman calls him “um, Super-Kid”, I believe this is their first meeting. After taking both on fairly easily, he leaves taunting that with Supergirl’s help he will bring back Krypton despite any price the Earth will pay for it.
This will continue into the 15 issues, again running Superboy, Supergirl, and then Superman. I admit I hope to see some actual Superman/Superboy interaction happen coming from one of their comics. Overall though, all three issues with this story have been holding my interest, but I will state Defalco (mainly with the non-H’el related bits) was probably the weakest link for this set. More so, I really am curious to know more about H’el. His appearance, as stated before, reminds me a bit of Bizarro. Minus the fact he’s smart, talks normally, and apparently only sometimes wears the backwards S – which has so far only been done in Superboy. Also curious is he seems to hold multiple powers beyond that of Superman and Supergirl. Some that actually seem similar to some of Superboy’s, but even more beyond that. It leaves some questions, which for now I think is good. It of course also sets up the fact that a tag team will be needed to deal with him, and/or an improvement on a current character’s abilities. Added bonus in my book is this crossover should just expand the 14 and 15 issues across three titles only. So its not going to be long, and will be easy for most people to keep up with all of it.