Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: Super Sons Annual #1

Super-Sons Annual #1 came out last week but really was more of a Super-Pets one shot with a dash of of our main characters. Jon and Damian appear in a framework sort of style, giving us some interaction at the beginning and end of the tale. But everything in the middle is all super-pets.

As these are animals, writer Peter Tomasi tells the tale with almost no dialogue. We get growls, meows, and coos. And so, as is sometimes the case with comics, the art really has to carry the story. Artist Paul Pelletier has to rely on the emotive expressions and body language of the pets to get across the vibe of the animal-only scene. Pelletier does an amazing job as I had no problem intuiting what each of the pets was thinking. And, in fact, at times, Pelletier seems to be drawing like Patrick Gleason or Jorge Jimenez, leaning into those artists' styles and giving this a very Super Sons feel.

For a long time Supergirl fan though, the biggest revelation of this issue was that Streaky the Super-Cat is back in continuity. Now historically, Streaky is a tomcat and belongs to Supergirl. He also had powers because of exposure to X-Kryptonite. Here, Streaky is a female cat. And how she got her powers remains a mystery. I hope that she isn't from Krypton. I also hope that eventually she will find her way in to Kara's life.

So this was a lot of fun. Glad I got it. On to the book.

In the opening sequence, Superboy and Robin are working together to capture some bank robbers. It is a quaint little mission, something appropriate for the boys to be dealing with. There are some nice and typical jabs along the way. Earlier in the chase, Jon tries to say heroically that he is Superboy but he is sturck by the getaway car and says Superb-aaarrr instead. And Damian isn't letting him forget how silly that sounded.

But, in an ongoing wrinkle, Jon comments that Damian talks a lot more now. This is the influence that each young hero is having on the other. Maybe Damian feels a bit more comfortable in his skin to be a bit jokey like this.

Back at the Kent home, Krypto notices that there is an ongoing pet kidnapping crisis in Metropolis. In fact, during the above bank robbery, we saw a dog get snatched during the chaos.

Krypto realizes he has to do something about it and he'll need help.

He heads to stately Wayne Manor and meets up with the Batcow. How can you not like a book that has a page like this in it?

From there, Krypto gets Titus, Damian's dog. Titus slips on his harness and Krypto flies off with the Bat-hound in tow. Time for an adventure.

They head to DC Investigations to meet up with Detective Chimp.

Chimp is laid up after a bad encounter with the Brotherhood of Evil. I love his dialogue in the bottom panel, a line which both has Planet of the Apes connotations and the Brotherhood name-drop.Thankfully, Krypto and Titus helped him out of that jam.

And they want his help now with this dog-napping case. After all, he was part of the Super-Pets group that was around recently.

Recently?? Why didn't I know about this!!

Detective Chimp  then remembers the (Legion of ) Super-Pets which also included Clay Critter and Flexi, the Plastic Bird. Those two are new to me. I do like the seriousness which Tomasi and Pelletier give this with the ghostly image of Chimp behind an iconic hero group pose.

But something happened which broke up the band. And whatever it was Streaky most likely still holds a grudge.

In a flashback scene, we see Clark reading a paper about wreckage at the Gotham Zoo.  We see a Evil Pet Squad including Dex-Starr, Harley's hyenas, and some unknown malevolent owl. And in a flashback with a flashback we see a sad Krypto lamenting the apparent death of Clay Critter. I think this takes place on the Daily Planet globe.

I wondered if this was a Super-Pets story that I missed somewhere along the way. I was hoping there would be an old school editor's box with 'See ____ for details of that adventure.' Turns out (as confirmed by Tomasi on Twitter) that this is all new material. That story has yet to be told.

Maybe if sales and feedback on this issue are good enough we'll get a Super Pets one-shot?

Poor Clay Critter, we literally hardly knew you. Could he be a sort of Proty?

Krypto still hopes to reunite the team. In a quiet playground, they find Streaky only to have the super-cat through a hissy fit, literally. She doesn't seem happy at all to see Krypto.

For whatever reason, perhaps we'll learn once the story is told, she must blame Krypto for Clay Critter's death. Thankfully, before the S-shielded animals can attack each other, Titus separates them.

What the hell happened at that zoo??

All that said, as Krypto flies off, we see that Streaky harbors some pretty deep feelings for the super-dog.

It all reminds me of Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters. "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

At the very least, we know that Streaky doesn't hate Krypto 100%

This review is nuts. I'm talking about romantic feelings of pets!!!

In the end, the pet-napper is actually an alien who wants to free all pets from serving human masters. I suppose those are noble goals if animals were truly enslaved. But I think human/pet relationships are mutually advantageous.

And look who shows up to cage the perp in the end ... Streaky!

Looks like the time is right for the Super-Pets to come together again as a force for good.

My guess is this issue wasn't for everyone. But as an old-timer who remembers the original Legion of Super-Pets and who is a huge fan of old school Streaky, I was tickled pink by this story. I don't know if I'd buy a monthly of this team. But a one-shot now and then ... or better yet a back-up strip ... I would love. And we have an untold tale we have to be told.

Overall grade: B+ (elevated by nostalgia)


Martin Gray said...

Lovely review, as ever. My reading of the flashback is that Krypto had Clayface shift into cute puppy form to act as bait, and it was then overwhelmed. I don't want to see the whole story as I would cry!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it.

Honestly, if Superman can keep a Super-Dog again and Atrocitus can keep Dex-Starr, then Streaky is NOT too corny/cheesy/outdated for the current continuity.

I don't know how I'm feeling about Streaky being apparently unconnected with Supergirl. Maybe Kara gave her powers somehow without realizing? Anyway is telling that Streaky makes an reappearance and she has nothing to do with Supergirl, who is nowhere to be seen. When will DC stop snubbing Kara?

On the plus side, it's telling Dc isn't afraid to devote a whole special issue to the Legion of Super-Pets. Can you imagine DC top brass allowing this after the Crisis or at the beginning of the New 52? I don't do it.

"Recently?? Why didn't I know about this!!"

We weren't informed. How rude.

Flexi is weird but I guess Clay Critter is a version of Proty. I mean, look at it!

"It all reminds me of Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters. "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Hah! Good catch.

It reminded me of a "The Simpsons" line: "The dog and the cat aren't married! They're living in sin!"

"At the very least, we know that Streaky doesn't hate Krypto 100%"

Streaky the Tsundere Super-Cat. Sorry, the Redheaded Tsundere Super-Cat. Scary.

"My guess is this issue wasn't for everyone. But as an old-timer who remembers the original Legion of Super-Pets and who is a huge fan of old school Streaky, I was tickled pink by this story."

Too short. When and how did the Legion come together? Why haven't we heard of them before? Will Streaky become Supergirl's pet? Not that I want them back, but Comet and Beppo are back in continuity? I need more!

Martin Gray said...

I'm fine with this team having been Rebirthed into continuity ten seconds before the issue began, I don't need to see an origin More adventures would be nice, though.

Jude Deluca said...

What if the mystery owl is connected to Owlman?

Anonymous said...

This was such a wholesome wacky Silver Age style comic. I'm glad DC are willing to publish stuff like this which isn't ashamed of using quirky Silver Age concepts like the Legion of Super Pets. Krypto interacting with Bat Cow was worth the price alone.


Anonymous said...


Streaky wears the "S"-shield. So, he's already met Clark or Kara in some previously unseen adventure?

Anonymous said...

Never a big fan of Streaky, Jim Mooney wasn't either from what I've read, depicting the cat in a very cartoony manner as opposed to a more restrained version of Krypto. I kinda sort always thought that Streaky didn't really make sense, it was more logical for Kara to "inherit" Krypto's care and feeding...She always struck me as more of "Dog Person" at the end of the day.


Professor Feetlebaum said...

"Never a big fan of Streaky. Jim Mooney wasn't either from what I've read..."
Well, it's possible that Mooney contradicted himself at some point, but here's a quote from an interview conducted by Daniel Best and published in "The Krypton Companion" (TwoMorrows Publishing 2006)

"Streaky the Supercat was my design. I think the writer came up with the initial idea, but I designed him so he looked a little bit more like an animated cat. I fell in love with Streaky from the very beginning. I still draw him. I love cats."

Nobile said...

...I need some die-hard fan support, here: has Streaky always been a she?? (According to that Mooney's quote, it seems not!)

Martin Gray said...

Nope, pretty sure Anj mentioned that here, me too in my own review. So you are a wise person!

Mela said...

I always thought Streaky was a "she", but that's probably because in animation & kids' media, cats usually are female characters & dogs male characters (unless they're poodles). But I do remember some Silver Age stories where Kara refers to Streaky as a "he".

Professor Feetlebaum said...

Maybe Streaky is like Herriman's Krazy Kat. Sometimes male, and sometimes female. But as far as I know, he/she has never been hit on the head with a brick.

The original Silver Age Streaky was male, but I believe that all Streakys since have been female, including the non-powered Streakys in "The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl" and the 2004-2011 series. The Wednesday Comics Streaky was also female.