Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #1

Supersons #1 came out last week and was exactly the fun sort of romp that I thought it would be. If people think that Batman and Superman would have a hard time being friends, they should read the interactions of the two young heroes Robin and Superboy. Damien's abrasive personality, flaunting of rules, aggressive heroing, and and overall superiority complex contrasts wonderfully to Jon's rule-following, optimistic, and otherwise good behavior.

How and/or why would these two hang out?

While those personalities seem to clash, both are young legacy heroes trying to figure out who they are in this crazy world. There is more in common than not. So I can see why they would seek each other out as well. In my head canon, Damien is lonely and wants someone his age to pal around with.

Writer Peter Tomasi does a great job in this first issue. We get a hint of an upcoming villain. We get a flashforward of a battle, a taste of things to come. And we get a compelling opening adventure which does a nice job of laying out who these characters are. When the issue was done, I wanted more. That is what a first issue should do.

I have praised Jorge Jimenez's art in the past but he really shines here. His style is starting to get a little more daring in my mind. I am starting to get a sort of Chris Bachalo/Humberto Ramos sort of feel, a sort of bending of the art away from realism and into something more interesting.

Super-entertaining and Bat-tastic. Count me in.

On to the book!

We start out with a scene which seems straight out of the Twilight Zone episode "It's a good life." A young boy named Archie is getting everything he asks for from his family and friends. They seem to be tripping over themselves to please him. They seem to not want to defy or disappoint them.

I figured this was going to be just like that Zone episode where Archie has reality warping power and these people are afraid of him.

But then Tomasi pulls back to see that this is some sort of television set.

I still think Archie is somehow threatening these people. Maybe he is trying to create a fake life and has kidnapped the others. But this was a surprise ... and I like surprising.

Then we are dropped right into the action. Superboy and Robin are running through a jungle being chased by Robin and Superboy robots. It is a wild frenetically paced couple of pages, complemented by the crazy art by Jimenez. Diagonal panels, stretched out faces and bodies, angled lasers ... it all gives the proceedings a feeling of speed.

And I very much like this panel of Damien being carried by Jon. Although why I like it is coming up later in the book.

But that is in the future. We fall back to the present in Hamilton.

Jon is on the bus and sees another student being bullied. He can't stand by and do nothing. So he stands up and intercedes. I love his look of determination. But when he tries to defend this other student, Jon is told to take his seat by the driver.

This shows who Jon is perfectly. His friend Kathy tells him not to get involved but he can't witness injustice or bullying and not act. Like father like son.

The bullies then start a snowball fight. But as bullies do, they play dirty by putting rocks in the snowball.

The fight is brought to a sudden end when snow from the roof buries the bullies. Looking up, Jon sees the bus driver.

At the end of the school day, Jon sees Damien on the grounds. Damien was the bus driver in costume. Damien was the substitute history teacher in the school. Damien says he dropped into Jon's life because he was bored. But I think it is a cry for friendship.

But Jon is overwhelmed by all the rules Damien is breaking. Driving the bus? Skipping home schooling? Being a teacher?? And that is the big difference.

That night Damien isn't allowed to join Batman on patrol because he didn't do his homework. Yep, the homework he is supposed to have done while in Hamilton.

So there are rules and consequences. Damien isn't as cool and fancy free as he let's on.

Again, we see the differences between Jon and Damien. But also the similarities.

Contrast that last scene in the dark cave and the brooding Batman to this bright affirmation scene in the Kent home. The family is playing cards when Jon retells the tale of standing up to the bullies.

And look at the loving Clark and Lois, saying how proud they are of him while touching him lovingly. It's time for Clark to head out on patrol as well. But he leaves with a flourish and a kiss.

I love the contrast here. The sons' different upbringings are going to be the grist for the mill.

By the way, I love that Lois won the poker hand. She would be deadly at the table.

That night, while Jon is supposed to be sleeping, Damien arrives to the White household. Damien peer pressures Jon into going out on a late night adventure, investigating break-ins at Lexcorp in Metropolis.

Jon knows it is against the rules. But the idea of being super and being Superboy is too much. Jon can't be perfect or the book will get boring. It is going to be the overlap of the two boys personalities that is going make this compelling. When we see Jon act like Damien ... or Damien act like Jon .. will be what interests me.

But remember that earlier panel when Damien was being carried by Jon. Here he says he will never allow himself to be carried. Hah!

The book ends with a nice cliffhanger.

Two young super-heroes hanging off of Lexcorp will of course get the attention of Lex Luthor.


So this all worked. Even the little quirks like Damien clicking his tongue adds depth. I am waiting for the first time Jon clicks his tongue at Damien for something Robin has done.

I had a sense that I would love this book. I definitely loved this issue. It did just what a first issue should do. Introduced me to the characters. Threw out some bread crumbs to make me want to stick around long term. End with a cliffhanger to get me back in a month. Count me in.

Overall grade:A


Anonymous said...

I loved it.

Since the "Why is your name first?", "I'm older", "I'm taller" scene to the last one where they get caught, it's been an incredibly funny and more than a bit heartwarming romp.

"We start out with a scene which seems straight out of the Twilight Zone episode "It's a good life."

I haven't watched Twilight Zone episodes and I also thought of that! I wonder whether it's intentional.

Jon yawning is the cutest thing ever.

Damien being deep down a lonely kid who refuses to admit out loud that he wants to be Jon's friend is my take, too. He seems to be obsessed with hanging out with Superboy.

Robin saying he will never get caught piggybacking on Jon's shoulders didn't escape me, either.

So... in a nutshell, rather than doing what they are supposed to, they sneak out and get caught by Lex Luthor, of all people. They're in so much trouble that a term to describe how much trouble they are in has yet to be invented. Their parents will ground them until the formation of the Legion of Super-Heroes at the very least.

Martin Gray said...

Wasn't it terrific? I wonder, though, what happened to the teacher and driver while Damian was impersonating them - locked in a cupboard? The driver seemed unperturbed when he showed up.

Tongue clicking? I shall have to have another look!

I'd have thought Super-Dad would have some kind of low-level super-hearing attuned to Jon when he's supposed to be asleep, a la the old signal watch. I would not be at all surprised were we to learn that Lois and Clark are letting their son go off adventuring, but have Krypto watching from a distance. Unless he's romping in space.