Friday, August 13, 2021

Review: Challenge of the Super Sons #5

Challenge of the Super Sons #5 came out last week and was another fun chapter in this all too brief mini-series. As always, writer Peter Tomasi has a great handle of the interactions of these two characters at this stage of their lives. Just as fun is the way people react to them at this time period too.

We get another mini-adventure as they, sight unseen, rescue a Justice Leaguer from the curse of the Doom Scroll. That side of the issue also has a very nice cliffhanger/plot twist. I am very interested to see where that leads. The art on the front half is done by Max Raynor who has brought an incredible style and energy to the storyline. I can only hope that DC gives him regular work somewhere. His stuff is electric.

The back half is in the distant past (you might recall that the boys were teleported to ancient time and faced off against Felix Faust and Vandal Savage there). In this chapter, Rora shows her true colors and says how she has been inspired by them to be a hero. The art here is by Evan Stanley and has a very cartoon, almost My Little Pony feel to the proceedings. It is a little jarring to go from Raynor's classic comic book action to this. But it is a feel good chapter so the art seemed to complement the story.

On to the book.

We open with a funny sequence where Aquaman being checked out by EMTs after a run-in with a monster. That whole scene is hilarious as these paramedics try to apply 'human' care to this super-human. For example, Aquaman's blood pressure is probably astronomical given his veins can't collapse secondary to the pressures of the ocean.

It turns out he was next on the Doom Scroll and Damian got him to leave the area by hitting him with specific Scarecrow toxin making Aquaman afraid of water. (Amazingly, we get a call back to the Tower of Babel story from waaaayyy back.)

As you all know, I love the Supermobile so seeing this fist bump was too great not to share.

The Doom Scroll threat is an otherworldly Kraken which has deadly venoms. 

With Aquaman gone, the thing attacks Jon.

I do love how Damian considers Jon his sidekick and not partner. It is ridiculous. And my guess is, internally, he knows that this isn't true. 

What makes this even better is that outside folks often consider Jon the 'leader' of these two.

Its defeat is easy. Damian gives it the same fear toxin making it afraid of water and opening it up for a Jon punch. Nice panel to show the size of this thing and how deadly it could be.

In the aftermath, the sons compare notes.

How great is it that Jon considers all life sacred and worth saving. 

The contrast of character in these two is really the juice of the title.

All along, the two assume that Batman and Superman will be the last two Leaguers to be hit by the Doom Scroll. But it turns out is the sons themselves.

Love the symbol with the zipper from Jon's sweatshirt an element.

And how do you save yourself from the Doom Scroll without knowing you are saving yourself from the Doom Scroll, a component of the spell?

Hmm ...

Nice twist.

The next chapter opens up in the past.

Rora says that Faust think she is completely under his sway but she has been free for a while. She has been staying with him to learn the arts. But the sons heroism shines off them like a sun.

Even though Damian doesn't trust her, Jon extends his hand in friendship. 

You can see the art change here. Dramatic shift!

Rora knows she needs to hide the sons until she can craft a time travel spell to send them back. Best place to go is into the Nightshade forest, a place highly magical and protected.

It is one thing for Tomasi to drop a Tower of Babel reference. It is another to say that the Endless walked in this forest. I love how plugged in this story is to DC history.

Despite the protection of the forest, we see that Savage is ready to attack. 

I know I can be an old man curmudgeon. But this series is so fun and carefree, I can't help but love it in comparison to the sometimes overly dismal state of comics sometimes. 

As I say every review, I will miss this series and only hope we get to see more stories of these characters like this one.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

‘Jarring is putting it mildly so far as the art change goes. Who are these snub-nosed Cabbage Patch Super Dolls?

Setting aside the visuals, I’d still have enjoyed the first half more for the story - it’s wonderful to see an Aquaman tale with no angst, just fun.