The thing I enjoy most about the DC Rebirth Superman series is the family drama aspect. Sure, the Multiplicity arc that ended 2 weeks ago didn’t feature any of that, but still. It explores the relationship between Clark Kent, Lois Lane and their son, Jon, who’s starting to develop superpowers of his own. A couple arcs ago, Jon met Damien Wayne for the first time. It didn’t start off too well. After their fathers forced them into a teamwork boot camp of sorts though, they started getting along better. Today sees the release of Super Sons 1, a team up book between Superboy and Robin.
Written by Peter j. Tomasi, who also co-writes the Superman series, Super Sons starts off with a bit of a bizarre and creepy prologue involving a very self-centered child. After that, and a fun splash page of the Super Sons in a crazy situation together, we see Jon Kent heading to school two days earlier. The general theme of Jon’s day at school is standing up to bullies, a theme that is very well handled. Jon manages to resist using his powers or violence, but still stands up to the bullies on several occasions. I won’t spoil how, even if it’s kind of predictable how the rest of the comic plays out, but I will say that Damien shows up at Jon’s school.
This comic is a lot of fun, and the drama aspect helps deepen the fun. The conversation between Jon and his parents after school is short but sweet, carrying the same family feel that makes the Superman series work so well. Damien is a bit of a jerk, but in an entertaining way that leads to a few amusing conversations between him and Jon. There’s also a brief moment where Batman speaks with Damien, providing a good contrasting glimpse between Clark and Bruce’s parenting styles. For those who don’t know much about either character, this comic serves as a good introduction to them.
The art by Jorge Jimenez is great. The two-page intro to the upcoming Super Sons situation is complete with a bunch of close-up panels of each young superhero’s face, with lasers all over the place and sweat on their brows. The following spread shows the two of them preparing to make a stand, with bushes in the foreground, trees in the backgrounds, and what can only be described as a bizarre group of attackers. Jon’s school is complete with a great variety of students, whether it’s his blonde friend Kathy in her orange coat, his black friend with short hair, or the bullies in their unzipped jackets. Facial expressions perfectly capture characters’ emotions, like Kathy’s excitement when Jon declares a snowball fight after school, Damien’s saddened look when he talks about his mother killing someone he cared about, and Jon’s awkward smile when he realizes that Damien’s comment about his mother was serious. Alejandro Sanchez’s art is also great. Everything is bright and colourful at day, it increases the variety of different looks at Jon’s school, and there’s great use of shadows and lunar glow in Jon’s bedroom at night.
Super Sons 1 is a great start to what could be a very entertaining series. I can’t comment on Batman/Superman too much since I haven’t read it, but my guess is this will be a somewhat similar series, but more lighthearted and fun. The dynamic between Jon and Damien is always entertaining, with hints of drama here and there that are usually unexpected. Fans of the current Superman series should definitely pick this up. While I don’t know that much about Damien, it’s probably worth checking out for his fans too.
My only real complaint is that the intro doesn’t seem to have any connection to the main story yet. It’s a minor complaint of course, and that it will probably change as this story arc goes on.
I also want to briefly talk about Superman 17, which also released today. Like Super Sons, today’s Superman issue focuses a lot on Jon Kent. The story is that Kathy is looking for her grandfather. He went into the swamp looking for a cow and hasn’t come back in 2 hours. The two of them head into the swamp. There’s a bit of a spooky feeling in the build-up. Both of Jon parents are out, so he watches a scary show on TV, eating a bit too much ice cream, and briefly loses control of his heat vision when Kathy knocks on the door, startling him. Something in the swamp’s air causes hallucinations, turning the rest of the comic into a spooky adventure that’s increasingly ridiculous as time goes on. This would actually be a very good Halloween issue, but it’s still enjoyable now. It’s also great to see Jon and Kathy’s friendship growing, and how Jon is starting to develop leadership skills.
I won’t quite give Superman 17 a full review, but I will say that Tomasi’s writing, along with Patrick Gleason’s co-writing, is great here. Sebastian Fiumara’s art perfectly captures the spooky mood. Dave Stewart’s colouring is dark, with good use of flashlights brightening things up, and the mist greying everything out.
After the 3-part Multiplicity arc that gave Superman an interdimensional adventure, it’s nice for Jon to get a fun little solo adventure of his own. It’s just interesting that it released the same day as Super Sons 1. I’m not complaining.