Super-Sons #13 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Carlo Barberi, Penciller; Art Thibert, Inker; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray – Super-Sons is up and down a lot, but when it’s on its game, it’s one of the most fun titles DC puts out. Super-Sons #13 finally makes use of the title’s best strengths, setting the majority of the story at the Metropolis West-Reeve school that Damian and Jon now attend. Jon seems to be fitting in fine, having no problems taking dives on the kickball field to preserve his “normal kid” vibe and making another frenemy in the process (this kid seems to attract friends who are unusually rude to him). Damian…not so much, as he can’t seem to turn off his smarts and arrogance. After getting his class assigned extra homework, he’s instantly the most hated kid in the school, but he doesn’t seem to care. Despite this, Jon notices he’s isolated and tries to get him to be a little nicer – without any success, as is normal for Damian.
I do have to say I have a few quibbles with the art across the board in this series – Damian is a teenager and Jon is ten. There’s no reason Damian should still look like the pipsqueak he does here (Tom King and Joelle Jones’ take was the only one who actually looked like the young teenager he is). However, the issue shifts focus nicely from normal kid drama to the appearance of Talia Al Ghul, trying to recruit her son for a secret mission. I’m not sure if she wants him to do anything particularly evil or if she needs his help against a worse evil, but I remember that Talia in Damian’s solo series was a lot more of a grey character than Morrison’s version. The banter between Damian and Jon, while still pretty acerbic on Damian’s end, is less overtly hostile than it tends to be. I don’t know if I quite buy their friendship entirely yet, but this issue is definitely a step up in that direction.
Corrina: Are we over a year into this comic already? Interesting! It has been uneven but when it’s good, it’s very good. After all that mess with the Titans of Tomorrow and Evil!Tim Drake, it’s nice to finally see Damian and Jon in school, a setup that was promised months ago but has only appeared now.
I almost wish this was more like Gotham Academy, where the mysteries and the action center around events at the school, rather than having Talia intervene with the promise of yet another adventure outside of the school. But if Talia is written well, she could be interesting. The problem is, depending on the writers, she either cares about Damian but wants him to be the Demon’s heir or she doesn’t care and only sees Damian as a tool. I find the first possibility provides more room for complexity in the mother/son relationship but it’s unclear yet which Talia she is. There’s a connection to the assassin war mentioned in Silencer #1, so it’s possible she wants to protect Damian. (Idle query: Which is the worst parent: Deathstroke or Talia?)
Either way, it looks like this book will be ending with the revamp of the Superman line coming with Brian Michael Bendis in charge, so this may be the last arc of the series. But Tomasi tweeted this week that the Super-Sons will still be around, so I’m looking forward to that.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.