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Superboy is back on Earth, and he's ... a little different. Last year, Brian Michael Bendis launched his first major storytelling effort at DC Comics with The Man of Steel, the six-issue miniseries that kicked off his still-ongoing run with Superman.
The Man of Steel was full of big ideas, including a new villain, new takes on classic characters, and a new journey for Jonathan Kent, aka Superboy. Today, in Superman #7, Bendis is finally exploring the impact of that journey, and it could be huge.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Superman #7 below.**
As you may recall, in The Man of Steel #6 Jon Kent and Lois Lane left Earth with Superman's father, Jor-El, to undertake a kind of cosmic field trip to teach Jon about the universe and perhaps cheer him up a little bit after he saw a bleak future for himself after getting rejected by the Teen Titans, among other things.
Jor-El believed the trip would be an essential part of his grandson's development, while Lois planned to tag along to both help her son and write a book about the journey. Lois very quickly decided she wasn't needed on the trip and came back to Earth. Three weeks later, Jon came back too ... but he's not the same.
Check out one of the opening pages from this week's issue:
So Superboy is now very nearly not a boy anymore. His trip lasted years thanks to some kind of black hole experience, while only weeks passed for his parents back on Earth. After Superman takes him back to Lois, who demands an explanation, Jon begins to tell the story of exactly what happened to him, but much of the first issue is for the readers' benefit more than his parents.
We get to see the early days of the journey, including a visit to a space station where he meets several different alien species and does some fighting alongside his grandfather. We see the moment Lois decided she was in over her head and took off for Earth in a shuttle. Then the issue ends with a warning from Jonathan Kent about his grandfather, setting up the next part of this arc.
"Grandpa is completely insane," Superboy tells his father. "And we have to do something about it. Sorry, Pa."
The issue ends there, with Superboy stressing that he's been trying to get back to warn his father about his grandfather's problems for a while. We have no idea yet exactly how these issues manifest, how long they've been problems, or what Jor-El's doing now, so we'll have to wait until the next issue to find out. For now, we just know that Superboy will definitely never be the same.
Superman #8 lands February 13.