Super-Sons #16 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Carlo Barbieri, Brent Peeples, Pencillers; Art Thibert, Scott Hanna, Inkers; Protobunker, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Good But Not Great Overall Series
Ray: The final issue of this likable side series for the Batman and Superman lines has been surrounded by a lot of news and controversy. We know that Super-Sons isn’t ending due to sales, and is instead being folded due to the uncertainty over Jonathan Kent’s fate under the new Bendis run. The announcement of a twelve-issue follow-up series to launch in August was a relief to many people – until it was announced that it was a flashback series and as such didn’t guarantee anything about Jon’s fate. This final issue has an interesting framing device, although the central story feels sort of lacking. The issue begins with an old man – unnamed but heavily implied to be either Batman or Superman – reading a story to a pair of kids who are revealed to be Jon’s daughter (who likes to float off the ground) and Damian’s son. And the story he reads to them is the last adventure of the Super-Sons in this title.
The final villain that the boys are facing in this incarnation of the series is the evolved Kid Amazo, who has shed his former human body and is planning to harvest the powers of Jon and the Justice League to attain a new level of power. The issue is that without the original human personality that Kid Amazo had, he’s largely a stock villain. He winds up being more of an obstacle for the boys to face than anything, and a lot of the issue involves Damian abusing Cyborg to lure the high-tech Leaguer into position to serve as a trap for the villain. The boys wind up being praised by their fathers for their successful, if risky efforts. The framing segment sets up some interesting things, and it does seem to imply there’s a future for both of them.
The series was at its best when the friendship between the characters seemed genuine rather than antagonistic. I hope we see more of that in the next run.
Corrina: I loved the idea of this series. Unfortunately, it started with a plot that seemed more suited to teenage characters rather than the more lighthearted tone of an all-ages series. But it grew on me and, as Ray said, the strength of the book is the interplay between the two leads but also the glimpses into Clark and Bruce as fathers.
Yet this last issue illustrates why I can’t call this great. The choice of villain is good, the crisis is good, but the solution is basically for Damian to be smarter than Cyborg, and, in doing so, treating Cyborg more as a prop than a person.
But, in the end, the kids triumph and it’s a nice moment. Here’s hoping Damian is a tad less insufferable in future Super-Sons stories. (As for the future of Jon, it seems to be tied into Lois’s disappearance in the upcoming Superman books, which would affect Jon, and I’m less than thrilled at that.)
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Disclaimer: DC received this comic for review purposes.