Super Sons #12 review

At long last, the “Super Sons of Tomorrow” arc has come to an end.  Of the five installments, this is the best, though that’s unfortunately faint praise.  Like too many crossovers in the past year, this one goes out with a bit of a whimper, its purpose seemingly nothing more than setting up even more stories in the future.  It’s what happened with “The Lazarus Contract” and even single-series arcs like “A Lonely Place of Living,” and while the story is at least a little more coherent here, there still isn’t a great reason for it to exist.

In fact, there isn’t really a great reason for this issue to exist other than to fit in lots and lots of dialogue.  And I mean lots of it.  There’s scarcely a single action scene or sequence here; it’s all dialogue.

With writers such as Tomasi and Gleason, this isn’t inherently a bad thing.  Sure enough, there are a few great lines here and there, particularly between Jon and Damian.  The final third in particular is particularly strong, with a few gut-punch moments that help elevate the material.  Despite its strengths, though, this whole issue reads as nothing more than an extended epilogue, failing to truly tie up loose threads and engage on its own merits.

One of my main complaints with this crossover has been the fact that it doesn’t seem to have a purpose.  While reading, it did make me ask quite a few questions, though none are adequately answered: What is it trying to say about Superboy?  Is this designed to bring Cassie, Conner, and Bart back into continuity?  What does the future hold for Savior/FutureDrake?

Of the three, it’s the final question that’s the easiest to speculate about.  There aren’t any firm answers regarding his fate, as he’s been absorbed into Hypertime and is “everywhere and everywhen.”  By absorbing Jon’s solar flare, he apparently lived up to his namesake, but it’s still a pretty abrupt ending for the character.  My guess?  He’s part of the time stream now and will pop up again and again, possibly becoming the new Superboy Prime: a twisted perversion of a popular character, driven by equal parts righteous indignation and outright anger to reshape the world based on his ideals.  I don’t really like Superboy Prime, so this doesn’t really excite me, but based on the story and the outcome it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the plan with Savior.

Granted, it’s pure speculation, but without much else happening here that’s about all that can be done.

I will say that the title page is incredibly visually interesting, and the best looking spread in the entire issue.  It’s been used before in this arc, but I like the grab bag of visual cues from previous Crises and crossovers.  Tyler Kirkham and Tomeu Morey do what they can with a script that’s lacking in action and the need for visual flair, and while their work is more than serviceable, there isn’t much in the way of excitement.  That title page is genuinely great, though, with a dynamic view of Hypertime and its various callbacks to stories throughout DC’s history.

If Drake at least gets a modicum of closure, his Titans teammates aren’t as fortunate.  There’s some nice interplay between Superman, the Teen Titans, and the trio, but then they just… leave.  Some cryptic words are shared, goodbyes are said, and Kid Flash takes a selfie, but Conner, Cassie, and Bart return to their time without leaving much of an impact.  I was incredibly excited to see the three of them, hoping that their inclusion would usher in a return to continuity.  I think it’s safe to say that quite a few readers were in the same boat, too, so that makes it even more frustrating that their inclusion amounts to nothing.  You could say that their continuing existence in an alternate timeline could plant the seeds for their eventual return to continuity down the line, but like Drake’s ultimate fate it’s nothing more than speculation at this point.

Pictured: selfie

Honestly, I was almost expecting to be let down by this issue, which may be why I was ultimately more forgiving of it than I was other installments.  The lack of any definitive resolution is frustrating to be sure, and I wish that this crossover had been more than what it was.

Yet, I couldn’t help but be moved by the final scenes.  From the first issue, Super Sons‘ greatest strength has been the burgeoning friendship between Damian and Jon.  If nothing else, this crossover served to strengthen that bond, made evident by Damian’s decision to hold a vote for Jon to have honorary Teen Titans membership.  A year ago, Damian wouldn’t be caught dead defending Jon, yet here he is, being a vocal advocate for him.  It’s a great indication of how close they’ve become, made even stronger by the melancholy resolution.

Could they have gotten to the same point through a different story?  Sure.  Was this questionable crossover necessary to reach this specific climax?  Most certainly not, but that’s how it is.  Usually I try to at least appreciate the intent of a story, even if the execution misses the mark, and I can’t really do that here.  There were so many missed opportunities and such an unclear purpose that I can’t recommend the arc.  However, compared to “The Lazarus Contract,” which existed solely to set up stories for three separate titles, “Super Sons of Tomorrow” ultimately strengthens the characters in the title: the Super Sons.

BONUS: A stunning watercolor variant from Dustin Nguyen.


Recommended if:

  • You’ve been reading the “Super Sons of Tomorrow” arc.
  • You can overlook a lacking plot when there is strong character work.

Overall: I hesitate to call this the best installment of the arc, as most of its strengths come from interactions and developments that could have come about another way.  As in, the whole “Super Sons of Tomorrow” story wasn’t necessary to bring everyone to where they are at the end of this issue.  Still, the final few scenes are strong enough to almost recommend it on its own, and the Hypertime visualization makes for a fun game of “spot the story.”  The arc itself may not be redeemed, but Tomasi and Gleason wisely focus on character over continued spectacle, strengthening the bond between Jon and Damian to hopefully make Super Sons an even stronger title going forward.

SCORE: 6/10