Monday, October 24, 2022

Review: DC's Terror Through Time

Hat tip, as usual, to friend Mart Gray for pointing out a delightful Super Sons story in the DC's Terrors Through Time anthology which came out earlier this month.

Peter Tomasi has always had a great handle on the tween versions of these heroes. I loved all his series of Jon and Damian learning to be heroes and friends. Their methods and outlook were different enough to bring out contrast and friction. But they grew and influenced each other. There was super-heroics. There was humor. It all worked.

All that has unfortunately evaporated with the aging of Jon to late teen. I still think that was a bad move by DC, robbing us not only of these Sons stories but any true 'Superboy' tales. I would love to hear if DC regrets it. Given the recent promotion and changes to Jon, it is unlikely we'll ever get a de-aging. 

Thankfully, these 'lost tales' continue to pop up now and then. Here, writer Sholly Fisch hits it out of the park. This is a Halloween story. It's a humor story. And it has the classic interplay between our heroes. Throw in the JLA and some of my favorite classic villains and this is a win.

I'll also say that these stories for the most part land excellent artists. In this story, Luciano Vecchio brings a nice style to this, stylized without over doing it. 

On to the story.

Jon is excited to head out trick-or-treating with Damian even if Robin isn't quite sure if it's worth it.

Given the need to be 'in costume', Jon convinces his friend to switch outfits.

In the past, Damian's height has always been part of the gag so I'd have loved it if Vecchio made the costumes not quite fit. The costume swap also reminded me of Batman #36 and 37, a solid issue by Tom King and Clay Mann.

The two boys have grown to love and respect each other over the years. But that doesn't mean they can't rib each other like friends often do. 

This first panel is brilliant with Damian boasting an over-exaggerated hero pose, stars glistening around. Then Jon does his best Bela Lugosi. 

But the real joy here is that last panel of Jon losing his cookies laughing. Too perfect.

A quick tour of the individual JLA'ers headquarters yields no candy as none of the heroes are home.

Of all the gags, this visit to Themyscira is the best. 

Too funny.

The last place to visit is the Hall of Justice. There the boys discover that the League has been captured by the Demons Three, a personal favorite of mine. 

At Midnight, a portal will open dragging the heroes to Hell in place of Abnagazar, Rath, and Ghast.

It's up to the Sons to do save the day.

Using the costume change to confuse, Damian proclaims himself Superman's son and uses his 'super-agility' to evade the demons. 

Distracted, they cannot complete the spell that would drag the League through.

At Midnight, the Demons are sucked back to Hell.

I do love Damian again striking the pose of Superman and using his own abilities to keep himself clear, all while saying he is Kryptonian.

But then the real trick.

Jon set the clock back so the Demons thought they had more time. That's Jon using his brain. 

Such a fun little yarn. I wish we had a Son monthly, these guys at these ages, getting into mischief and adventure. It is the perfect gateway comic for kids, more mature than Tiny Titans, less mature than Detective. 

Maybe, just maybe, we'll get more untold tales like this. I can only hope.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

What a gem of a story, Sholly and Luciano and pals could begun a new Super Sons ongoing tomorrow and I’d be happy. And I hope Peter Tomasi returns to write more of the series he co-created, as well.

I do think DC regret ageing Jon up. given how often we’d getting these untold tales. What a shame they attached ‘meaning’ to Jon’s about-to-be-cancelled series. I say bugger it, age him down and the non-readers who declared Jon their Fave Character EVER will move on to the Next Big Thing.

Anonymous said...

Action #1051 in January is switching to 3 stories.

One of the 3 is:

“Lois and Clark 2: Doom Rising,” Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks return to tell the tale of young Jon Kent on the farm with his parents, learning about his abilities, coming of age...and battling the Doombreaker?!"

Excellent! Jurgens wrote the original Lois & Clark series.

The 3rd story is solicited as a 3-parter, but the Lois and Clark series isn't - so maybe it will be ongoing.

The 3rd story will be Power Girl's, written by Leah Williams from Marvel. I read a Gwenpool series from her once and didn't care for it, so we'll see how that goes.

The price will still be $4.99, so I'm thinking it will be three 10-page stories. So the main Superman story will not get many pages at all.

It does seem that Power Girl is about to be featured far more heavily than Supergirl. I wonder if they will ever explain how and when she escaped from the limbo world that a Deathstroke series consigned her to.


Anonymous said...

Glad I put this on my pull list