This is a testament to how great this book is: even with a chapter that doesn’t reach the highs of its predecessors, I still had more fun reading it than just about any other book out there. Such is the case with Super Sons #4, the first issue in the series that I wouldn’t describe as great. It will have to settle for “really good.”
It’s funny: for all their powers, skills, and experience, the boys don’t really have to worry about supervillains. Sure, when we first see them here they’ve been captured and incapacitated by Kid Amazo, but it’s nothing they can’t handle. Surely Damian has some trick up his sleeve to get them out of danger. No problem.
They don’t even have to be too concerned with each other. Their rivalry with one another, though it can get pretty testy, doesn’t get in the way of the boys working together as a team. Even if they don’t like each other and take every opportunity to throw barbs and insults, they still work well together. Neither one will admit it, but they do.
No, the one thing they have to fear above all else? The greatest threat to the Super Sons?
Or… butler, in Damian’s case.
Yes, it seems the boys will be in big, big trouble once they finish saving innocents from harm and take down a psychopathic teenage supervillain. In the meantime, though, they kind of need to finish taking down a psychopathic teenage supervillain. No biggie.
There have been times that this Kid Amazo arc has gotten pretty dark, especially given that Reggie seemingly murdered his entire family just for the fun of it. Through a fairly lengthy bit of monologuing, that’s walked back a bit: he didn’t kill his family, he just heavily sedated them and killed Amazo robot doubles. Over and over and over again. The technique to telegraph it is a little clumsy, as it is a lot of monologuing, but I think it was a wise choice in the end. Make the kid a threat, sure, but he doesn’t need to actually murder anybody. That took this energetic, fun book to some places I didn’t think worked, so I’m glad Tomasi’s plan for Kid Amazo wasn’t to make him entirely irredeemable.
Not to say he doesn’t pose a credible threat. Reggie is a pretty crazy kid, and given a chance I don’t doubt that he would take a life. That, his impressive power set, and the Amazo armor that he stole from Luthor combine to make him a pretty powerful nemesis for Robin and Superboy.
That is, until Luthor himself shows up and demands his property back.
Lex is characterized a bit weird here, going a little more over-the-top than he normally would. Someone stole from him, sure, and that means they at least temporarily outsmarted him, which is enough to set him off. His demeanor is usually icy, though, with menace radiating off his otherwise stone-faced facade. Here, he just bursts through a wall and starts demanding his stuff back, which is understandable but not quite Lex.
I do love that Damian effectively played him, though, figuring that Lex would find them and demand his property be returned. I’m not saying that Damian is necessarily smarter than Luthor, but he is shrewd, manipulative, and cunning just the same.
In fact, I think the biggest missed opportunity in this issue is when Damian asks Luthor for help.
That little sneer on Damian’s face is great and works well enough with his delivery, but how much better would it have been if Jimenez had drawn him rolling his eyes and making air quotes? That’s a totally Damian Wayne thing to do and I’m kind of upset that he didn’t.
But, hey, it’s Jorge Jimenez. He’s great, and a perfect fit for the book. His action scenes are packed with detail and still remarkably easy to follow, and the expressions he gives Jon and Damian especially are priceless. I really love this guy’s style, in all its wiry, exaggerated goodness.
Props should go to Alejandro Sanchez as well, whose bright colors are just as much a part of the fun and energy of the book as Tomasi’s scripts and Jimenez’s pencils. Look at how he plays with light and uses white space to his advantage. It’s breathtaking stuff, along with the standard primary color looks of the two leads. The blues pop out against all the reds and yellows, gorgeous hues against equally detailed backgrounds. Even if it wasn’t so much fun to read, this series would be great to just look at.
In the end, after all their heroism and bickering, the boys are still that: boys. Superpowers and being “Batman’s better half” or no, they’re still kids who have to follow the rules laid out by their guardians. It’s that dynamic that sets this book apart from others, the aspect that makes it truly unique. So bookending scenes where the boys are in deep trouble with Lois and Alfred? That’s what makes this Super Sons.
Bonus: An abstract but still stunning variant from Dustin Nguyen. Seriously, get this guy penciling everything.
- You love the Damian/Jon dynamic.
- You love this book.
- You just love fun, enjoyable comics.
Overall: Super Sons is special. It’s as much a comedic adventure as it is a straight-up superhero book, blending witty dialogue and exciting action to create a truly great comic. Even if I enjoyed this issue just a tad less than the earlier installments, it’s sill one of my favorite books on the stands. It’s well-written, wonderfully illustrated, and just plain fun, a pure example of entertaining comic book storytelling.