Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: Super Sons #12

Super Sons #12 came out last week, the final part of the Super Sons of Tomorrow. To be honest, I am muddled in my thoughts about this storyline. I feel like I should like it. And maybe taking a big step back and thinking about the main themes of the story, I do. But a lot of the details that moved this story along seem off to me.

Writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason basically use this issue as an epilogue of sorts, looking at the fallout of the prior chapters, seeing how these events affected the characters involved. In that way, this issue is fascinating. It is an in-depth look at how fragile some of these heroic relationships can be. And I suppose this story gave us back Cassie, Conner, and Bart ... at least briefly.

But we also got another warped future version of a character I very much like. Tim Drake as the addled 'Savior' is not an idea I can easily get behind. Seeing him want to kill a future Superboy because Jon kills a bunch of people is not an idea I can get behind. The fact that Jon has a Solar Flare is not an idea I like at all. Seeing Tim Drake somehow absorb that energy, gaining access to Hypertime and not being incinerated is odd. So the devil sometimes is in the details. Those were the foundation blocks of the arc.

What I can get behind is Tyler Kirkham on art. Kirkham's work just crackles for me. He has been something of a pinch hitter on a number of books I read in the past and has worked on the Super-books more recently. I wish he would just get a monthly book because his stuff is gorgeous.

On to the book.

As I said, the future Tim Drake has absorbed Jon's solar flare power, somehow granting him the ability to surf Hypertime.

Now I freely admit that I am not a huge Bat-family fan. I collect titles now and then. But I really liked Tim and followed his stories in his own book a while back. He seemed somehow the sanest member. So to see him, or at least a possible future version of him, become 'evil', or so unhinged that he thinks murdering a kid before he sins makes sense, is a bummer. In fact the whole trope of future versions of heroes becoming villainous feels played out.

That said, I did like this double splash with major events from major event comics splayed around Savior. Crisis on Infinite Earths, Final Crisis, Identity Crisis, Flashpoint, Rebirth, Zero Hour, Blackest Night, Brightest Day ... they're all there. (Well, not Genesis or Millenium!) But this was a nice look at all the timelines Drake has access too as well as a look back at the DCU.

But just like that Savior is gone. That means the action part of the story is basically over.

With Savior gone, all that's left is trying to figure out what the hell went on.

Like who are these older Titans/Leaguers that no one knows. And why is that guy wearing an 'S'?

Hey, give me a Conner,Cassie, and Bart title drawn by Kirkham any day!

But this is where DC continuity gets all sorts of wonky. So what is the timeline that Conner comes from? The pre-Flashpoint one right? Does that 'exist' somewhere? Superman has no idea who he is.

Surprisingly, Conner answers in a mature way. He won't divulge much. I liked that moment. It was sort of Superman-y!

Superman just drops it. But that also seems a little weird. Things happen quick in the DCU. Just like that these future Titans disappear, snapped back to their world by some chronal string or something.

This adventure has unfortunately driven a wedge in the Titans team. Remember, they split down the middle between those deciding to help Savior and those wanting to honor Damian as leader.

It can't be easy for the more veteran Titans to see a version of Tim Drake, their former leader and friend, be so volatile.

So when Wally does something frivolous like snapping a selfie with the future Titans, Raven gets upset. She destroys his phone angrily. Because he shouldn't be giddy about a picture when the Tim of the future has become a murderous rogue.

I guess I can see both sides. If you wallow in the dark, you won't see the light. But Tim Drake almost killed a bunch of people. Getting a shot of Cassie shouldn't be the first thing on your mind.

The Titans aren't the only one in crisis. Superman is concerned that somehow Damian is a bad influence on Jon. Damian led Jon to this point, where he was almost killed ... or almost inadvertently killed. Maybe Superman wants to break up the Sons team.

If I had to pick a favorite panel in the book, it's this one. Damian, calling Superman 'sir', says he would never put Jon in harm's way.

I cannot imagine Damian saying any of that in the first issue of this book. He has grown a bit, hasn't he.

And Jon also says he doesn't want the partnership to disband.

He wants to make his own choices. And he'd rather be close to Damian as a friend.

I doubt Jon would stand up to his father like this in the first issue of this book either. He's grown. And maybe a simple moment like this will make their relationship a stronger one than the Bruce/Clark one is.

This interaction elevated the whole book for me to be honest. Because the rest of the issue reads more like a Titans issue.

With no where to meet (remember their Tower is destroyed), Batman brings them to the Watchtower. For a brief second, you are reminded these are kids with big shoes to fill. You see them sit in the Leaguers chairs with a mix of awe and pride, like minor leaguers playing in the majors.

But when they vote to see if Superboy should be on the team, they are split again. Flash, Raven, and Aqualad all vote no. Jon is out.

At least they admit that the reason is they need to clean up the current team's dysfunction before they add someone new.

But look at Damian's disappointment.

Somehow that might just bring the sons closer together.

Damian, who just a couple of issues ago was dead-set against Jon joining the team, suddenly is more supportive. He consoles Jon. Heck, that's what friends do.

So a lot of this epilogue, especially the part that focused on Jon and Damian, really sparkled. That conversation with Superman really showed how far these two have come.

Will their be longstanding impact of this arc? Will we see Bart, Cassie, and Conner again? Will Savior be a sort of misguided Waverider moving on? Will the Titans disband or continue to struggle as a team? The seeds are there.

Overall grade: B/B+


Anonymous said...

The art was the best part. The plot, though... It feels like nothing really happened. An evil Tim Drake shows up all of sudden, declaring Superboy will become evil in the future, the Titans are split between those who want to protect Superboy and those who believe Tim, a bunch of future Titans appear during the melee to stop Tim, Superboy goes mad but not evil and is stopped, Tim falls in the Hypertime and the future Titans leave without explaining who they are or where they come from.

In a nutshell it was still another "What if Superboy goes evil?" arc which "might" -might!- serve as a setup for the return of the Young Justice crew. Typical bait-and-switch tactics.


I suppose a highlight is Jon and Damian bonding.

Oh, and Earth-One Supergirl showing up in Hypertime. As... tired as I'm to see original Kara being defined by her death and as much as I hate the mindset which led to it, I have to admit DC ironically and unintentionally made Supergirl impossible to forget. If you're going to talk about Crisis events, you're going to refer to the original Crisis. If you're going to talk about the original Crisis, you're going to allude to the deaths of Kara and Barry.

Mela said...

"In a nutshell it was still another "What if Superboy goes evil?" arc which "might" -might!- serve as a setup for the return of the Young Justice crew. Typical bait-and-switch tactics."

With the noted return of that stupid solar flare AND making parallels between Jon & Flashpoint's Doomsday in the process. It's at the point where I'd rather see them kill off a character I really like and think has volumes of untapped potential than keep this tiresome nonsense up. It really makes me think less of both the creative teams involved and any readers who keep trying to defend it as somehow not awful.

Anj said...

I think the character moments between Jon and Damian, Damian and Clark, and Clark and Conner, and between the Titans were all high points for me.

While plot points (evil Tim, solar flare) aren't to my liking, I can't help but like the character progression in this book.