Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #5

Super Sons #5 came out this week and was something of a coda for the first Kid Amazo arc as Jon and Damian deal with the punishments meted out by their caring parents. I found this to be a pretty wonderful story as the kids to terms with how similar and how different they are by looking at the relationship of their fathers. And thankfully, writer Peter Tomasi makes the Batman/Superman relationship a healthy one.

Another thing which remains prominent in this book is the humor Tomasi brings to the affairs. I have usually found Damian to be insufferable. I sometimes find Jon to be a bit too much of the classic 'good kid'. Tomasi can blur the edges of both characters, making them likeable, believable, and funny.

The art is by Allison Borges, a name I haven't heard of before. Borges brings a sort of cartoony feel to some of the sillier moments while grounding things a bit more once the adults show up. It works here nicely.

So while there isn't a bad guy and most of the action is the two sons trying to beat each other senseless, I loved this issue.

We first see Damian going a bit stir crazy in the Batcave. He has been grounded.

He thinks he has been punished by Batman because Jon was punished by Superman. In fact, Damian wonders if he shouldn't just stay with the Titans, a parent-free zone.

Alfred has the best lines in this issue, dryly commenting on the boys shenanigans while dropping some truth into the mix. Here he tells Damian that Bruce's friendship with Clark is one of the things that Batman completely trusts.

So no 'Batman hates Superman' or 'Batman plots against Superman'. They're friends.

While Damian actually does his time, it is Jon who rebels. He has been grounded and told to not use his powers. But he uses his powers to do chores and then takes off. He doesn't want to move. He doesn't want to stay trapped in this 'prison'.

He takes off. That is a big deal for the goody-goody Jon.

And I love how that middle panel is shattered glass. It's like the family relationship is broken. Great art/words complement.

He heads straight to Gotham, hoping to get advice from Damian of all people.

But while you can take the boy out of the small town, you can't take the small town out of the boy. This was my favorite moment. He says the mildest of curses ... 'sucks' ... but looks around first to make sure no one is around to hear him. He lets out a deep breath.

And then, emboldened, he uses it over and over.

Saying 'sucks' is a big deal!

Heading into the Batcave, the two sons initially talk about their problems. But it quickly devolves into a shouting match of barbs and jabs.

They have a ton in common. They have some differences.

And like hot-headed best friends, they often tussle. I like this sort of friction between the two. They're kids!

Despite that bluster, when they hear Alfred coming, they immediately stop fighting and decide the best thing to do is hide.

I told you Alfred had the best lines.

With the mini-brawl over, Alfred brings the boy upstairs to have them eat.

There he again talks about how important it was for Superman to have Batman as a friend. They live similar lives. They can help each other think differently. They can support each other.

I didn't know how much I missed a picture of Superman shaking hands with Batman until I saw it once more!

The dads arrive and join the conversation. Yes, they fought a lot in the past (like Jon and Damian) but then realized who much they could relate to each other.

Here is my second favorite moment. The eventual 'who would beat who' conversation arises. Superman states the obvious. Hysterical.

In the end, the dads decide that perhaps letting the boys go on adventures together will be good for them. It'll teach them teamwork and perspective. But they have to go out together, to protect each other.

This was a character driven issue, showing how not only the sons interact but also how they interact with their fathers. I think this was a fantastic way to follow up the opening arc. I doubt Jon and Damian will be bosom buddies but at least they understand each other.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

It was a good issue to end the first arc.

I agree, Alfred has the best lines.

"So no 'Batman hates Superman' or 'Batman plots against Superman'. They're friends."

Amen, brother.

Although I'm a puzzled about one panel: Alfred says Superman and Batman fought at the beginning, and we see a panel that appears to reference that story arc where Poison Ivy hypnotized Superman and Batman had to stop him... but later Superman wonders who would win if they fought. So... they didn't fight before? That scene did or didn't happen?

"Here is my second favorite moment. The eventual 'who would beat who' conversation arises. Superman states the obvious. Hysterical."

True. Superman asks how Batman would defeat someone who is several thousands of times stronger, faster and tougher and can fly, and Batman's only answer is... "I'm Batman". It looks like a parody of fanboyish arguments.

Oddly and sadly it reminds me of "Many Happy Returns". Why couldn't Linda take Kara's place and fight the Anti-Monitor? Because Earth-One Supergirl is practically a goddess able to headbutt a planet out of its orbit, whereas Linda is "only" a super-powerful human. She hasn't got a prayer of defeating the Anti-Monitor, and no amount of brains, willpower, human spirit or fancy gadgets will change that fact.

It also reminds me of Mark Waid's "Irredeemable". I haven't read it -I'm sick of "Evil Superman" stories, thank you very much-, but from what I've heard, when the Superman analogue snaps, the Batman analogues get killed very, very quickly.

(Talking about Evil Superman stories, Supergirl just made her debut in the Injustice digital comics. I won't spoil it, but... Jor-El and Zor-El were loving brothers! Imagine that! And they took Kara to dragon-riding!)

(Off-topic, but I've just read an old CBR "The Greatst Supergirl stories" pool: http://www.cbr.com/the-greatest-supergirl-stories-ever-told/ . Okay, on the one hand I'm happy that several Pre-Crisis stories are chosen, and COIE #7 does NOT take the top spot. On the one hand, "Girl Power"? And no Sterling Gates storylines? Seriously?)

Martin Gray said...

Fine review sir, as ever. This was my favourite issue yet, fun from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

> The eventual 'who would beat who' conversation arises. Superman states the obvious. Hysterical.

HAHAHAHA! Now watch the internet fanboys and trollers go to town on THAT scene!

Great review as always, Anj.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Batman vs. Superman, in the 2004 return of Kara Zor-El, it was Batman who got Darkseid to release her from Apokolips by arming Darkseid's weapons and threatening to blow the planet up.