Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #8

Adventures of the Super Sons #8 came out this week and was a sort of pause in the action issue, a way (I believe) for writer Peter Tomasi to turn the last corner of the title of the corner and head into the home stretch. With older, scarred Jon in the Superman books now, we are down to 4 issues with these two like this so let's enjoy it.

 It was filled with the standard fun moments. There is the usual friendly friction between Jon and Damian. There is a nice moment where you see how the sons have inspired someone. And there are the usual tangential takes on some classic DC tropes. Tomasi has treated this like a blurry, whirlwind tour through DC's Bronze Age. This issue plugs in nicely to the series as a whole.

Carlo Barberi is on art and, as I have stated many times before, his style is perfect for the series. There is a bit of exaggeration, a hint of anime, and some cartoonish flourishes that complement that story very well. I wouldn't mind seeing him be the designated fill-in artist on Young Justice should Patrick Gleason ever need a break.

But as with each month, there is a pang of sorrow. I loved the original Super Sons series and I love this maxi-series. It is a shame our youthful, overly optimistic Jon had to be grimmed up.

On to the book.

Last issue, Robin freed Superboy from a dark prison cell and the two, along with Joker Jr.

Rex Luthor, running the prison from the inside, decides it is time to actually run the place. Luthor takes out the Gordanian guards and declares himself ruler. And since he has given much of the prison population powers, he demands they do what he asks ... find the sons.

I love this splash page of the new Injustice League. I did not know how much I needed an emo teen General Zod until I saw it. What is he? Teen-eral Zod?

And I love Crime Syndicate's Superwoman there too! Would she be Supergirl?

Just great art by Barberi.

 The villains, including such 'notables' as the Rainbow Raider and the Jack B. Nimble Toyman all head out to search.

I like that Tomasi gives us a glimpse into these delinquents' minds. These aren't sycophants who are falling behind Rex's agenda slavishly. One guy likes his boots. The other likes her helmet. The Raider just likes the idea of escape.

Luthor might have a zealot's fervor. But his troops don't.

Meanwhile, our heroes head to Damian's Batcave. That is, one of his bat caves.

Turns out Damian, like his always prepared father, has 6 Batcaves set up around the prison so he can hole up where he needs to.

Of course he would.

Great characterization, especially with Jon's semi-surprise that Damian was able to set all this up.

 Meanwhile, the sons don't know what to do with Joker Jr. He has both helped and hindered our heroes. So what should they do with him?

We have seen in this series, the sons' attitude inspire those around them, even magically created older versions of themselves. So it makes sense for this Joker to echo that. Luthor has a worse scheme in mind. The Sons seem to be a distraction to Luthor, keeping him from whatever awful plot he is hatching. And Joker believes in Superboy that the Son of Steel can stop Luthor.

It looks like our heroes have rubbed off ... a little ... on this villain.

But the first thing Damian and Jon need to do is get off Takron-Galtos.

Robin heads out briefly, returning with the teen versions of Tarantula and Catman, knocked out and trussed up. He also returns with Al-X, the teen Green Lantern on the planet. Al-X won some Oan internship and part of that training is being dropped onto the prison planet and needing to survive by one's wits. Those Oans ... their a barrel of laughs.

Luckily, Al-X has intel. There is a teleportation system on Takron Galtos that links to a vacation world in the rim. It is called a Vroom Tube. Get it? Like Boom Tube.

But how to get there?

As for Luthor, he is actually quite pleased with finding himself of Takron Galtos. On his home world of Cygnus, a place which reveres super-heroes, he had a hard time coming up with a crew of super-villain lovers. But here, on a prison planet, he has numbers. He can raise an army. 

Meanwhile, Robin has an idea to get to the Vroom Tube. Have Joker Jr and Teen Green Lantern get into the Catman and Tarantula costumes as disguises. Then they can bring the 'captured' Super Sons to the teleporter. Neither original or brilliant, it seems to work as the four get into the site.

 The only problem is Luthor can see right through the disguises.

In a moment of heroic sacrifice, Joker Jr. unmasks as he tosses Al-X, Jon, and Damian into the Vroom Tube. Having betrayed Luthor in the past, Rex blasts him. I guess this kills Joker, a pretty dark turn for Rex. But I guess we have been heading there the whole time.

Still, it shows just how much Jon and Damian effected Joker. He died a hero.

Or did he?

The Sons were the only thing keeping Rex from his nefarious grand scheme. With them gone, Rex sounds like he is moving on. I wonder what his big idea is? Going back to Cygnus and overthrowing the place? Sounds like a Luthor move.

The next issue blurb says 'The Good, The Bad, and The Sons!' My guess is the 'vacation planet' is going to be a parody of Westworld and the Super Sons will be playing a little Cowboys.

The Luthor 'big plot' seemed to come out of left field but I suppose it sets up a finale. And I am still enjoying the hell out of this book. So no complaints there.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Another entertaining issue, but I have the feeling the story is dragging out, and I'm a bit tired of Rex Ruthor.

"And I love Crime Syndicate's Superwoman there too! Would she be Supergirl?"

I doubt it. Since Rebirth, Tomasi has consistently ignored Supergirl. Over forty issues and she was mentioned once... by Jon.

Martin Gray said...

‘Rex Ruthor’? Isn’t he a baddie on Scooby-Doo? Anyhoo, fab issue as ever, and great review.

I see from the back pages puff piece that the upcoming Super Sons DC Ink book stars Jon and ‘Ian’ and... Candace? So it’s not THE Suoer Sons, it’s A Super Sons and a Female Identification Character.

Anonymous said...

Martin - I read the sample BC had from the DC Ink Super Sons book, and I was disappointed. Jon acts like what TV Tropes calls a "Soapbox Sadie", Damien is a generic rich kid, and they didn't have anything with the new girl (whose outfit makes me wonder if she's supposed to be a kid version of Vixen & have animal powers). And for some reason, it's post-apocalyptic or mid-apocalyptic?

So if you, like me, were looking for a continuation of the kids you liked in this & its parent title, it's unfortunately not going to happen. The whole thing had a "talking down" vibe to it, as though kids couldn't handle a regular story (when this & its predecessor have been books that were easy to share with them). This is basically the last hurrah for Jon & Damien before the former is turned into a redundancy & the latter into a regressed jerk.

Martin Gray said...

Thanks Anon, it all sounds rather depressing. I don’t know why they didn’t get a proven comic writer with experience of writing younger characters, like Power Pack’s Louise Simonson or, left field idea here, Peter J Tomasi.

Anonymous said...

Martin - I think Ink/Zoom is relying heavily on getting writers from prose books to sell the lines. For example, the YA-aimed books are hiring people who have been successful YA novelists like Meg Cabot. Ridley Pearson has done books for young readers that have been popular (in my age group, it'd be parallel to getting KA Applegate to write a book for the line). So he's not inexperienced, he's just wrong for this title.