Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #3

Super Sons #3 came out last week and was another chapter in a fast-paced, fun title. Things really seem to be propelled forward in this story. Not much decompression here. And that frenetic, almost 'short attention span' feel to the stories seems appropriate for the protagonists. Everything happens fast in that time of life.

But this isn't just an action book. Most of the fun here is seeing Jon and Damien interacting. At times I have said that the 'always at odds' relationship that DC has forced on Superman and Batman is adolescent and sophomoric. This plays that up. These characters are adolescents! So seeing them be friends and that at each other's throats makes sense. It plays up how silly the Superman/Batman stuff is these days.

One of the problems with that contrast between the characters is that a writer could have them become more one-dimensional. So writer Peter Tomasi has to keep these interactions feeling fresh. I don't want Jon to always say 'this is crazy I'm calling Dad.' And I don't want Damien to always say 'no, I'm the best. I can handle this.' Part of the fun will be seeing how each influences the other.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is the perfect match for this title. Everything is a little warped and stylized. There is this slight craziness to it which works with the pace of these stories. I love it.

Now this arc involves Kid Amazo and I have to say I feel a little lost in what the villain's powers are. But I am just along for the ride here. It's like a roller coaster. Just grab on and try to take it all in.

We open up in Providence, my old stomping ground.

The Super-Duffy's, the family effected by the Amazo Virus, trounces Titano. It reads briefly like an Incredibles book. Even this 'family pose' looks fun. In one page, we see how these characters are a fun-loving hero family. I'd read this book.

It is here that we see Reggie's powers. He is basically like Multiplex. He can create multiple copies of himself.

We switch back to the present when Superman and Batman have seemingly caught up with the boys.

Very quickly, both of the sons can tell that these aren't their fathers. They are androids. Powerful androids, but androids nonetheless.

I love this scene. As always, Robin and Superboy are sort of jabbing at each other. Here it reaches a looney tune style crescendo where they fight, kicking up a cloud of dust, until they can spring out of the fog and attack the androids. I thought this was pretty funny.

It also struck me that this is a case of 'many a true word is said in jest'. These are probably true feelings that easily bubble to the service.

But even this sneak attack won't work against the androids.

It is only when Sally Duffy steps up. Her power is to control machines and she shuts down 'Superman' and 'Batman'.

Still, I didn't know exactly how Kid Amazo has access to high tech androids.

Thankfully we get some back story.

Reggie's powers fractured his mind. His powers increased. He stole the Amazo armor from LexCorp. Now, he has basically become as powerful as the true Amazo, able to duplicate any power he has encountered as well as continue to duplicate himself.

These androids are his super-powered duplicates. Why they have taken the form of Superman and Batman? I know it adds a little spice to the sons' story? But wouldn't he keep them in his own form? And replicating androids? I suppose I just have to roll with this.

Much like in last issue, when faced with the enormity of the problem, the two sons revert to default mode.

Superboy wants to stop this whole adventure and call his father for help.
Robin feels he is the greatest hero and can continue on the mission, confident he'll defeat Amazo.

I understand that these are fundamental character traits for these two. And I understand their differences in outlook and upbringing are the fuel for the engine of this title. But this is the second issue in a row where these exact responses crop up. I don't want this to become a 'wash, rinse, repeat' sort of interaction.

Then things take another weird turn.

With an army of Superman/Batman androids trailing them, Sally again uses her powers to bring the enemy horde to a halt temporarily.

But then, she herself turns out to be a machine. She is an android created by Reggie in her form, as he did for all the family. She has been using her power to control this simulacrum of herself. But Reggie has resumed control.

That's a nice feint and reveal. It also might mean that the brutal murder of Reggie's 'family' in the first issue was actually him just destroying robot versions of them. It doesn't explain the blood or the humanistic responses. But I'd rather this be true than the alternative. That murder scene didn't really sit well with me at the time.

That also means the real Sally is alive somewhere and needs rescuing. The boys are back on the move and Damien may have hacked into the droids controlling system. But before anything can happen, a brawl breaks out. Love the banter here. Who gets top billing. It's like the old comic ... was it Superman/Batman? Or Batman/Superman?

This is a nice cliffhanger for the issue and brings us back to the opening scene of issue one where we saw the boys running through the forest.  And this crazy, action movie pace is welcomed.

In the end, I think this is a fun, breezy comic. The action movie metaphor feels right. This feels like a summer movie, something loud, fun, and full of explosions. And I'm okay with that!

And again, Jorge Jimenez is killing it here. The art and style is perfect for this sort of book.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"At times I have said that the 'always at odds' relationship that DC has forced on Superman and Batman is adolescent and sophomoric."

And you're right.

Then again, if Clark and Bruce insist on behaving like kids, Kara and Babs and Karen and Helena may be the mature side of the World's Finest.

Evidently, this Superboy and this Robin will not fill that hole.

Right now I think the tension between both kids and Damien's assholery are being excessively played up. I need to see more moments of friendship and bonding between them to believe they may become a hero duo.

For the time being Kid Amazo seems... lame and not a very good villain.

"It doesn't explain the blood or the humanistic responses. But I'd rather this be true than the alternative. That murder scene didn't really sit well with me at the time."

Maybe he wanted it to seem as real as possible?

I didn't like that scene either.

Something I like about this issue is the art is colorful and crisp instead of the trend of muted, dulled coloring works that dominated comic artwork for a while.