Last month we got caught up on what’s going on present day as the Super Sons tangled with Vandal Savage and rushed off to rescue another League member. With the list of heroes left to save dwindling and the boys not so secret antics starting to leave a trail, just what is in store for them next?
A fall back into old form it seems. This issue once again jumps between past and present, as the boys knock another Leaguer off their list and as the story returns to where it left off in England with Rora having just saved the boys from the scroll monster sent after them. It’s still a fun issue, but the pattern it’s following has started to wear on me just a bit.
I’m a bit torn going into this review. I enjoyed this issue, it’s hard not to when Tomasi is still consistently putting out a story where Jon and Damian are just so bright and fun. Not to mention the fact that their antics will probably always be amusing, but I have a few problems with the structure this month. The whole idea of rescuing Justice League members from the doom scroll always felt just on the edge of repetitive, and this month it lands squarely in that peg as it almost repeats what Tomasi did back in issue #3, just with a few changes. We have another JL rescue that’s summarized, this time by Aquaman instead of Damian. Then it has another jaunt to the past that is different but since it directly continues where issue #3 left off has much of the same flavor as before. And Tomasi has been making each rescue feel unique, but it’s still a lot to have in a limited series, especially when the structure of that rescue is the same rule wise: find out who is targeted next, rescue them without being caught, sneak away with the JL member left bemused lather rinse repeat.
My other problem is that I still wish this story had been told in order–or roughly in order. I’ve mentioned this before about this series, but it’s hard to get excited about the past portion of the narrative because I already know the outcome: the boys escape and Rora gets to the future separately. This automatically creates low stakes for the past portion, and while I had some hopes that these scenes would still be exciting and engaging, they haven’t felt quite as much fun as the portions taking place in the present do. On top of that, while this is a Super Sons story, I also would have liked to have more of Rora earlier in the narrative. She’s a crucial part of this adventure and a character we are supposed to root for, so to have most of her relationship with the boys saved for bits and pieces we get later on removes some of the impact she could have had on readers early on.
Here’s where my torn feelings come in, because even as I complain I get why Tomasi chose to split the story up between past and present. And that goes back to the repetition of rescuing Justice League members from the doom scroll. If we had every one of those in order it would feel overly repetitive and boring, so splitting it with the past adventure breaks up the story in an engaging way. I just wish that the adventure in the past felt a little more engaging. None of this means the story isn’t an enjoyable read, it’s just that I want more out of it. Something to shake things up a bit.
Okay, I have whined, but what did I like? Well something I really loved in this issue is how mirrored Jon and Damian are to each other in the past and present. I’ve touched on how they’re different and similar through my reviews, and this issue just shows that in another way. In the present, Damian is competent and knows just how to deal with each situation, while Jon is a bit out of his depth. He’s trying, and he’s skilled, but he’s also the kid the story leans on for humor. However, in the past it’s Jon who gets to be the competent one, his open friendly nature makes him a natural to work with Rora and other characters they run into, while Damian’s personality ends up putting him in the humorous situations. Both boys are good at what they do, and this issue does a great job highlighting those elements.
The art changes this issue as well. Max Raynor is still on the first half, but Evan Stanley takes over with the past portion and does an excellent job. Stanley’s art is cute and cartoony and a good fit for a Super Sons story. Jon and Damian’s expressions are adorable here, as he really manages to grasp how charming Jon can be and how grumpy Damian is. Even Rora’s genuine requests for help is easily read on her face.
His backgrounds can feel a little sparse, but there are some other moments where they look really pretty too, such as when the kids are entering a tree house. Luis Guerrero’s colors help with this, giving the forest scene lovely warm colors.
The story wraps up in a way that seems to indicate the last couple issues will break out of some of the problems I’ve had with some promises of action, answers, and more adventure. Even as frustrated as I was with some elements, I am excited to see what comes next.
- You still enjoy Super Sons shenanigans
- Comparisons between Jon and Damian are your jam
- It’s a consistently fun story
Challenge of the Super Sons is still a lot of fun. This issue is a bit weighed down by some issues that have been chasing it for a while, but even in all that the characters are the real shining star of this book. If you love Jon, Damian, and their whole vibe together, this is still the book for you.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.