This is about Conner's search for personal identity. Nature vs nurture. Who is he? How much does he behave like his genetic donors? Is his behavior and nature influenced by them? How is he like and unlike Superman and Lex Luthor? What kind of man does he want to be?
This is one of those happy books where I enjoyed both the story line & the art. It's going on my keeper shelf. I would recommend it to any fan of Superboy. I can't wait for the next book. (I'm assuming that this is one of a series because there were several secondary matters introduced and then left unresolved. The book felt like a setup for a series.) I greatly enjoyed this book, but had a few minor quibbles.
Liked: Conner makes the Kent Farm his base as he rediscovers himself and tries to decide who he is. He catches up with old friends, Tim and Cassie, and makes some new acquaintances. Conner tries to be a better son to Ma Kent, and find his place in the world. I was charmed by the scenes of Conner bonding with his dog. Conner also reestablishes his relationships with Cassie and Tim. There's one brief, but amusing exchange, between Conner and Bart.
I would've liked to see a little more of Bart, Cassie, and Tim, and a little less of some of the new characters. The main story consists of Conner measuring his behavior against the behaviors of Superman and Lex Luthor, and wondering how much he is like and unlike each. Conner has encounters with both Superman and Luthor.
Minor Quibble: While I admire the honesty and forthrightness of Cassie and Tim's confessions to Conner, as well as Conner's generosity of spirit in his responses to them, it seems to me that matters are smoothed over too quickly and easily in order to advance the main story arc. In fact, I think that Tim confessing his attempt to clone a Conner 2.0 would have advanced the identity story line. I would expect this to be a very big deal for anyone and an even bigger deal for Conner considering his particular identity issues, but Conner's reaction is very mild.
Also no matter how understandable it was for Cassie and Tim to seek comfort from each other after Conner's 'death', or how unfair it would be for Conner to blame them for any comforting taking place between them while he was 'dead', I would expect Conner to have more of a reaction to Cassie's confession that she had been comfort snogging his best friend. Instead Conner promptly forgives all. He brushes both cloning and best friend snogging aside with very little reaction.
Maybe he was feeling numb. Maybe it didn't really hit him. Maybe those two lamas seemed like baby lamas after his 'death' and revivification. But it's not addressed and the reader is left to guess at his feelings and wonder about his muted reactions. I can understand if Mr. Johns had no wish to ride those particular drama lama, but once drama lamas are introduced into a story, characters need to react to them.
On the whole, I enjoyed this story very much and hope to see more Superboy books from Mr. Johns as well as more books illustrated by Francis Manapul.