Super Sons Issues #1 to 4
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Rob Leigh
Review by PeteR
Super Sons by Peter Tomasi is not the first time D.C. has played with the concept of the offspring’s of Batman and Superman. There have a couple of incarnations of the Super Sons in the past. During 1946 and again in 1949 there were imaginary storylines in the Superman Daily newspaper strip where he and Lois have a son. Showcase Comics #9 from 1957 and Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #15 from February 1960 also have Kal-El and Lois being parents. Superman #131 from August if 1959 had Superman fathering two biological children with a “mystery woman”. All of these were “imaginary” stories and are just a few of the examples of tales featuring Superman’s potential brood
Meanwhile in the Batman universe, for the April 1960 issue of Batman #131, written by Bill Finger and art by Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, Alfred crafts an imaginary tale of the son of Bruce Wayne teaming up with an adult Dick Grayson, who had inherited the Batman mantle. . I’m not even going to get near how many adopted children stories there were for both Superman and Batman.
In January of 1973, World’s Finest comics introduced The Saga of the Super Sons. These were the teenage sons of Batman and Superman (the mothers were not identified). The stories centered on the sons rebelling against their fathers, their legacies and various social issues. There were 12 Super Sons stories that appeared in World’s Finest comics. Most of them written by Bob (a continuality of his own) Haney and drawn by Dick Dillon. Reading those stories as a kid, I thought they were really cool. Now, they are very dated and half the time, the two sons come across as being whiney and entitled.
D.C. Special Series issue #15 published in July of 1978, had three brand new stories in it. One of those tales was I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife, written by Denny O’Neil with art by Michael Golden and Dick Giordano. In this story, Ra’s al Ghul performs a marriage ceremony between Batman and his daughter Talia. Since Batman was unconscious at the time of the wedding, he doesn’t believe there is much validity to it. This marriage is mostly forgotten about.
until 1987 when Writer Mike W, Barr and artist Jerry Bingham created the Batman graphic Novel titled Son of the Demon. In this story Batman and Talia consummate their marriage. Talia becomes pregnant. She tells grief stricken Batman that the pregnancy miscarried, but nine months later, at the end of the book a baby is dropped off at an orphanage and adopted. Nineteen years later, in Batman #655, writer Grant Morrison introduces the character Damian Wayne, Talia and Bruce Wayne’s son who has been raised up to this point secretly by his mother.
In December of 1996, the Earth One, post-Crisis of Infinite Earths yet pre-Flashpoint (just nod your head like you’re paying attention) Lois Lane and Clark Kent finally are married for real in the D.C. continuity. Nine years later, during the 2015 Convergence crossover, Clark is depowered long enough that he and Lois can conceive a child. Johnathan Samuel Kent is born in issue #2 of Convergence Superman. One of the results of the whole Convergence story line is that version of Lois, Clark and Johnathan are marooned in the post New 52 reality. All of this sets up a universe where both Superman and Batman are fathers.
It was inevitable that D.C. would team up Damian Wayne and Johnathan Kent. Jon is a terrific kid being brought up by two happy, loving parents. Damian is an egotistical, over-compensating, massively competitive jerk who was raised by the League of Assassins. What could possibly go wrong?
The new Robin and Superboy meet one another in the 2017 issue of Superman #10. Mayhem and comedy ensue. The fans loved it so giving the two characters their own team up title was inescapable.
Super Sons issues #1 through 4 contain the first story arc of the series. The boys have to put aside their competiveness and Robin’s attitude long enough to defeat Kid Amazo. Amazo is an android who can mimic the superpowers of those around it. Along the way the diminutive duo brilliantly infuriate Lex Luthor and find themselves in deep trouble for breaking curfew. Good stuff.
Writer Peter Tomasi (Superman, Batman and Robin, Nightwing) complete grasp of the characters’ personalities is obvious. His writing style expertly balances humor and action during the first four issues of Super Sons. Since Jon’s powers have not completely kicked in yet and occasionally don’t work at all, there is a sense of peril in the adventures. Damian is relentlessly smug and infuriating. The bickering between Superboy and Robin is priceless.
The art for Super Sons is executed by Jorge Jimenez (Earth 2: Society, Smallville Season 11 and Superboy). Jimenez’s artwork for the action scenes is good. Where he really shines, in Super Sons is his use of expressions and body language. Johnathan’s gawky, awkwardness is pronounced, especially when compared to Robin when he’s in full Dark Mite mode. Jimenez has the ability to draw multiple different interpretations of incredulousness. The boys look like adolescents rather than short adults, a pitfall of numerous comic books about kids.
Alejandro Sanchez‘s (Earth 2: Society, Injustice and Superman) use of colors on Super Sons is deceptively intricate. His computer work, showing gradations of shades and tone is impressive. As an old school comic guy, I thought using computers to color comics was a cop out. I was wrong. Sanchez has a video on YouTube demonstrating how time consuming his coloring process is. Super Sons lettering is crafted by Rob Leigh who has provided the calligraphy for Action Comics, Jonah Hex, The Spirit and dozens and dozens of other titles.
Why you should buy this book? The first four issues of Super Sons are a great deal of fun. The banter and the characterization is spot on. Superboy desire is a needed counter weight to Robin’s Machiavellian style of crime fighting. Robin and Superboy could grow up to be the World’s best heroes, if they don’t strangle each other first.