I… I can’t put into words the amount of joy I experienced reading this chapter of Super Sons… So I have no idea how I’m going to discuss how incredibly fun and satisfying this issue is. The only expression that seems remotely appropriate, would be to hug Tomasi. You know, one of those long, awkward, hair-petting hugs that you do when you’re overjoyed.
If there’s one thing that I feel Rebirth has done right, it’s restored many of the relationships that made DC Comics great prior to the New 52! We’ve seen this in a number of titles, but especially in Superman and Super Sons. There’s just something about the dynamic of Clark, Lois, and Jon that is infectious… And whatever that is, it’s beginning to rub off on Damian!
Many of you know that I prefer character-driven narratives. I often think people hear that description and think, “Oh, ‘character-driven narrative.’ That means the story will be slow, or boring, or take itself too seriously,” but this chapter proves that’s not the case. “Secret Headquarters” is a one-shot story that hits all of the right notes! For nearly a year now, we’ve watched as Damian and Jon crossed paths, Damian negatively influenced Jon, the two became reluctant teammates, and eventually developed a mutual friendship! Their adventures together have resulted in the two becoming the “Super Sons.” So, what happens now? Why, they get their own secret headquarters, of course!
Both boys have proven to their fathers that they can be trusted, and have earned the privilege of some independence. This will undoubtedly lead to some interesting antics down the road, but for now, we simply get to revel in the joy of this moment. I dare say that it’s impossible to read this chapter without smiling. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m a pretty cynical person – much like Damian – and I grinned like an idiot the entire time I was reading this issue. That’s how good Super Sons #10 is!
I’ll be honest, there isn’t much that happens in this issue, and that will probably turn some readers off. I don’t need a ton of action or danger to find a book interesting though. I just need a really good story with good writing. You know what Peter J. Tomasi delivers here? A really good story with really good writing! From the dialogue, to the set-up, to the relationships, this book feels like a long-time friend you’re catching up with over dinner and drinks. There’s something about the dynamic of certain characters that win your favor. From Bruce and Clark, to Dick and Wally, to Tim and Conner (even Booster and Beetle), once you find a duo that works well, you crave more of it!
The opening page captures all of these elements, and I promise you this is just the tip of the iceberg! Just like Bruce and Clark make each other better men, Damian and Jon also make each other better! It’s rare to see Damian happy, but Jon – somehow – manages to do that. Damian is such a hardass that when we do get to see his humanity shine through, it’s impactful. We’ve gotten glimpses of it with Bruce, and to a stronger degree with Dick, but since Jon is a kid, he reaches Damian on a whole other level. Damian kind of gets to “pay it forward” with Jon. What I mean by this, is that Dick served as an incredible “big brother” figure to Damian, and Damian is not only passing that on to Jon, but getting to experience the joy of serving in the big brother role. It’s what makes Dick such an endearing character, and adds elements of unmatched dynamic and complexity (in a positive way) to Bruce and Clark by making them fathers.
Damian isn’t the only benefactor of this relationship though. Jon gets an abundance out of it by gaining self-confidence. While Damian learns to trust others more, Jon learns to trust himself more. There are a number of life lessons presented through the hopeful and joyful scope of a child, and the story is an absolute pleasure to read. But the secret headquarters comes with a catch, and it’s an entertaining one. There are also teases in this issue of what to expect in the upcoming “Super Sons of Tomorrow” arc. Needless to say, I’m excited and you should be too! If you haven’t been reading Super Sons each month, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. The great thing is that this is a perfect “jumping on” point. You don’t need to catch up, just dive in and enjoy the ride.
The Art: Jorge Jimenez usually covers art for Super Sons, so I was a little disappointed when I saw a fill-in artist for this issue. I became familiar with Jimenez while he was working on Earth 2 Society, but didn’t fully become a fan until I saw him at SDCC one year. The guy is incredible. Knowing his work ethic, speed, and the quality of his work, I didn’t think it would be possible for me to enjoy the art in this issue as much as I did. And just like that, I became a fan of Jose Luis.
I’m not familiar with Luis, and although I may have read one of his previous works, I didn’t do so knowingly. That being said, I’ve taken note of him now. He delivered some solid pencils and storytelling for this issue, and DC would be insane to not find a permanent home for this guy. There’s a light-hearted tone to his work, and it would be perfect for something like Teen Titans. I will admit that there are some inconsistencies from panel to panel, but their minor when they do occur. The emotion each of the characters emit, and the subtlety of their reactions more than make up for these opportunities though!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Fortress of Attitude. The fact that Damian and Jon get their own secret headquarters is satisfying enough, but seeing Jon call it the “Fortress of Attitude” with an abundance of joy is priceless! The juxtaposition of Damian’s reaction only makes it better.
Private School. If you read Brian Q. Miller’s run of Batgirl, then this plot might feel a little familiar to you. He had Damian going to the same private school as Stephanie, and it was incredibly entertaining! If Tomasi can deliver in the way that Miller did, then you should prepare yourself for a lot of laughs in the future!
Flying. I think the moment that sealed the deal for “Secret Headquarters” to get a 10/10 instead of a 9/10, is this scene between Damian and Jon. Not only do we get to explore the trust the two have developed for one another, but also their desire to make each other’s life better! Jon attempting to share the joy of Damian flying, and Damian sharing a darker, yet positive moment in his life when he was also able to fly, made for an incredibly touching moment. And having Damian thank Jon for helping him remember… Be still my heart!
The Future. Grant Morrison explored Damian’s future during his run, and I feel as though every writer that has taken Damian on since then, have touched on this in one way or another, at some point in their run. The next crossover arc, “Super Sons of Tomorrow” looks as if it will take on this futuristic Damian head-on, and I’m incredibly excited!
Get out of here! This book got a 10/10!
- You want to read a fun, feel-good story.
- You enjoy friendships like Bruce and Clark, Dick and Wally, or Booster and Beetle.
- You like the humanity and childlike nature that Dick brings out in Damian.
Overall: I adore Super Sons as a book, but “Secret Headquarters” went way beyond my expectation! The relationships of Bruce and Clark, their self-awareness, their relationships with their sons, and Damian and Jon’s relationship with each other is absolutely infectious! If I had to use one word to describe the issue, it would have to be “fun-credible” because there isn’t a single word to give this chapter justice. Go get this issue! Enjoy it. Laugh. And thank DC Comics for making something this fun a reality… And Mr. Tomasi, if you see this, kudos, sir! This book is an absolute gift to anyone who reads it!