Super Sons accomplishes something that too few comics do these days: it is pure joy. From beginning to end, this book is an outright blast, and even though it’s only in its second issue this might be my favorite book on my slate right now.
A lot of what makes this book work is the fact that the stakes feel as if they’re real. There are times when seeing children in peril crosses a line into discomfort and manipulation, so it’s a line that has to be toed very delicately. Thankfully, master storyteller Peter Tomasi doesn’t fall into any of those traps, as he balances the sense of danger with levity. Sure, the choices that Damian and Jon make have consequences. I mean, the first issue ended with them trying to break into LexCorp, only to be apprehended by Luthor himself. It’s a sticky situation no matter how you look at it, with the appropriate amount of tension needed to make it feel like the boys are in danger without feeling crass.
Right from the get-go this issue is a pure adrenaline rush, with the boys trying to get away from their captor without their dads finding out. The dichotomy of the boys’ personalities proves to be the greatest thing the book has going for it, and that’s saying something considering this book has a lot working in its favor. This is an issue where Damian tries to outwit Lex Luthor, and friends, if there were ever two arrogant, hardheaded people I wanted to see outwitting each other it’s these two.
The best thing about it is Damian truly believes he’s smarter than the smartest man on Earth, and you know what? I almost believe it myself.
Then there’s Jon. Sweet, innocent Jon. He may have it in him to one day be a great hero, but right now he’s an insecure little boy. It’s incredibly charming how he has these burgeoning powers yet he’s still concerned about getting in trouble with his parents.
Unsurprisingly, Tomasi continues to give both boys a unique voice that plays well off the other. He’s had some time to craft his take on each of them, not to mention, you know, being a pretty good writer in general. This series could seriously just be Damian and Jon verbally sparring with one another and I’d read it for 75 issues and five annuals.
It’s not all witty banter and repartee, though. My one complaint about the first issue was the prologue that didn’t seem to have any sort of bearing on the main story. Well, instead of stretching it out over months and risking flagging interest, the purpose of the prologue and its “sitcom family” is explained in detail. This sub-plot is surprisingly dark, even when you consider the sinister undertones it had last month. There’s certainly the frightened family whose members are afraid of one of the children in particular, but it runs even deeper than that. Spoiler-free, there’s a level of carnage and violence that doesn’t quite fit with the tone of the rest of the book. Now I’m not necessarily squeamish when it comes to things like that, but it’s pretty brutal when you consider the somewhat lighter tone of the rest of the book. It does a great job of painting this kid as a real threat, though, so it’s not all for naught.
Kid Amazo slaughters most of his family, with only a young girl escaping. It’s pretty intense, I’m not going to lie. The boys’ reactions are appropriate and, despite the horrific circumstances, endearing: Damian is unfazed by the bloodshed, treating it like any other case, and Jon absolutely flips out. It fits his more naive personality, and it also leads him to the lone survivor of Kid Amazo’s massacre.
Like the writing, Jorge Jimenez’s visuals are fantastic. His style fits the book perfectly, with a look that’s exaggerated enough to fit the boys’ youthful adventures while still being packed with detail. There are some world-class facial expressions here alone, and his attention to detail is astounding. I love the little hints throughout about Batman and Superman maybe possibly tracking the boys, and even small details like Jon’s spit-curl stand out. I could do without ever seeing a Super character’s “glowing angry eyes” ever again, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.
Alejandro Sanchez deserves credit for his colors too. They fit Jimenez’s style to a tee. Robin and Superboy are already colorful characters, and while they “stand out” they’re never distracting. They perfectly fit in with the urban and industrial landscapes they find themselves in, and Sanchez details the environments with great texturing and light effects. While Tomasi and Jimenez may “headline” the book, deserves top-billing alongside them.
If you can’t tell, I love this book. It’s fun without being lightweight, serious and focused without being oppressive and cynical. Here’s hoping the quality can be maintained for the long haul, though with the pedigree of the talent involved I’ve no doubt it will.
Bonus: A delightfully whimsical variant cover from Dustin Nguyen who could draw pretty much anything and I’d probably want it.
- You just like great comics.
- You like Damian and Jon’s dynamic.
- Seriously, I love Super Sons. It’s everything that makes comics great.
Overall: Just as charming and fun as the premiere issue, with one or two minor quibbles. I was on board with Super Sons when it was announced, I was on board before it even debuted, and I’m still on board one month in. Almost everything about Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent’s adventure clicks: the writing is snappy and spot-on, the visuals are pitch perfect, and the tone straddles the line between fun and serious perfectly. This may be one of the best books DC has debuted in years, and I see no signs of it slowing down any time soon.