First seen in Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special and Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn, there’s a new Korean hero named… City Boy! Or at least, that’s the best translation of what the cities call him.
City Boy, a.k.a. Cameron Kim, is just trying to make a living by using his powers of being able to speak to cities to find lost and hidden goods to pawn, and it’s only just enough to get by. And those abilities mean he hears everything everywhere all the time, including each city’s histories and the truths behind them. (It’s very loud in his head and something he has to live with.) As his powers get stronger, the cities start forming animal avatars from scraps in order to physically travel alongside him on his adventures. Of course, Gotham is a rat avatar made of city scraps, but what about Metropolis, Blüdhaven, Amnesty Bay, or even Themyscira? And not all cities are so kind…
But Why Tho?I encourage you to try this title. Especially if you’re young and looking for someone closer to your age, are an Asian comic fan looking for relatable characters, a ‘regular Joe’ wanting to explore a new corner of the DCU, or maybe if you like Spider-Man style angsty teens with powers. If any of these fit, City Boy #1 is your ticket to it.
First Comics NewsDC’s “We Are Legends” line continues to get a strong build with the release of City Boy, who gets his own title after making several appearances in a few anthology series thanks in part to Greg Pak, he seems to be in good hands. The series gives a quick introduction to City Boy himself (real name Cameron Kim) who’s a street thief who has a supernatural connection to the cities that he inhabits (Currently he’s calling Metropolis his home); Throughout the issue, we get to see Cameron use his powers as he scavenged around several parts of Metropolis while shedding some light on his origin (It’s heartbreaking, to say the least) but he somehow manages to get the attention of some major villains (I won’t spoil their identities but let’s just say they’re been in several Superman titles); Pak’s script is energetic and intriguing but it also shows the pros and cons of Cameron’s powers while putting in smack dab in the DC Universe instead of putting him in his own world as the latter works well for the story that Pak is telling. The fact that this issue ends on a very dark and chilling note tells me that this series will take a lot of twists and turns that are sure to excite the readers while making him the next breed of hero to emerge within the DC Universe.
Comic WatchWith great characterization, solid heart, and natural connection to the DCU, City Boy #1 is the start of something really great. Thus, with the debut of this issue, DC's We Are Legends imprint goes three for three with their titles in terms of quality.
The Super Powered FancastThe Story: Pak crafts an interesting and entertaining first issue. The story takes some interesting twists and turns and I like the fact that the reader is brought into a seemingly standard crime story that beautifully teases a bigger, more dangerous story to come. I look forward to seeing where this story goes next. The Art: Jung’s art is beautifully detailed and filled with great movement and energy. There is a vibrancy to the imagery that kept me engaged throughout the issue.
Geek DadThe third of this month’s original launches featuring Asian heroes by top creative teams, this is definitely the most unique new character. We first met Cameron, aka City Boy, in one of the Lazarus Planet one-shots where we were introduced to his rather complex series of powers that allow him to find a city’s secrets and hidden objects. But a flashback that opens this issue reveals he has a traumatic past involving his mother abandoning him, and that leads him to being rather closed-off to people—whether it’s family, or an eccentric homeless man named Fujimoto who seems to think they’re friends. As he returns to Metropolis, Cameron quickly runs afoul of a rather cruel crimelord who things the young hero is looking to use his abilities to harvest goods from the city—and wants to be cut in. This villain, Boss Chung, is a bit of a stock character but definitely has an air of menace about him. This issue is rather flashback-heavy, and we get to see Cameron get his powers via an experiment gone wrong that sees a mad scientist accidentally beam the spirit of the city into his brain—something that gives him incredible abilities, but also leads to intense trauma. Greg Pak has written a lot of young heroes over the years, but Cameron has more edge and more pain than many of those lead characters. He’s an interesting lead and his powers are genuinely unique, but one issue in his world seems sort of closed off as well. He doesn’t have much in the way of a supporting cast, nor does he seem really interested in getting one. There are the most unanswered questions in this book of the whole wave, but Pak is a very talented writer and he’s set up something interesting here. Cameron’s powers alone are enough to make for some incredible story opportunities, and the new villain at the end shows promise for upping the threat level.
Weird Science DC ComicsCity Boy #1 is a dead-solid perfect origin story for DC's latest hero. Greg Pak packs motivation, depth, and intrigue into every page, and the artwork is Grade-A. If you were intending to pass on City Boy after his odd introduction in Lazarus Planet, this comic may change your mind.
Graphic PolicyCity Boy #1 isn't a bad debut but it also doesn't quite completely excite. It has a tone that feels like it straddles audiences and in that way it feels like it holds back a little. But, mostly this feels like the opening chapter of a longer story, exactly what it is. For me, it falls on the line between a “buy” and “read” but knowing Pak's record in quality, I lean towards the former hoping that this is just a piece of a much more entertaining puzzle.
ComicBook.comCity Boy #1 may not reinvent the wheel in regards to superhero origin stories, but the plight and power set of its titular protagonist prove to be sufficient. The issue dives into tragedy without tiring out its readers, and sets up a conflict that casts a wild shadow on the stories to come. Based on this clever effort from its creative team, City Boy #1 has the potential to form a compelling new pocket of DC Comics' canon.
Major SpoilersComing into City Boy #1, I was not expecting a noir-tinged organized crime story, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got it. Cameron may come off as a bit melodramatic for some, but I think he manages to stay more on the grim side of things and doesn’t cross into whiny territory. There are some shortcomings though, specifically when it comes to expressing Cameron’s superpowers which become boring to experience.
Lyles Movie FilesNew titles with original characters don’t have a great track record with DC as of late. Despite a hokey title, City Boy seems like it could have some potential. A large reason for that is Greg Pak is the writer. Pak has been an established DC writer for awhile and he’s a solid storyteller capable of providing a compelling mysterious origin story for a new character. Cameron has a sort of sight beyond sight and can spot things people leave behind. A superhero dumpster diver doesn’t sound that interesting, but Pak comes up with some unique angles to drive the story along. The addition of some well-known familiar faces also hints that City Boy could be a significant player in Metropolis. Minkyu Jung’s artwork is solid. There’s not a lot of action in this issue so Jung has to keep the book visually engaging with expressive characters and unique perspectives. Color work from Sunny Gho is suitably a blend of bright colors and darker tones as the story requires. City Boy’s debut is a solid introduction to a character that offers something different than the typical DC hero. If you’re searching for a fresh title this might be a book worth exploring.
Graphic PolicyWe anthropomorphize cities and treat them like living things with thoughts and feelings, but what if that were true? City Boy #1 by Greg Pak and Minkyu Jung takes that concept and literalizes it. City Boy #1 stars Cameron Kim, who has the ability to communicate with cities. His power is left a little vague by this first issue. We see a lot of what he can do but we aren’t given a clear explanation of his powers. Cameron was abandoned by his mother at a young age, leaving him to become a natural loner traversing the streets of Metropolis and using his powers to find valuables in the nooks of the city where no one looks. Much like another we are legends title Spirit World, City Boy had a prelude in Lazarus Planet tie-in comic. Reading Spirit World without that tie-in confused me more than a little. Luckily here in City Boy, the story feels completely independent and doesn’t require you to have read the tie-in. The art by Jung is clear and communicative, the real highlight is when we get a glimpse of the true power at Cameron’s disposal. Overall City Boy #1 is a good first issue, it’s intriguing and sets up an interesting narrative. But there is a feeling that this will all read better once collected in trade.