Adventures of the Super-Sons #5 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Carlo Barberi, Penciller; Matt Santorelli, Inker; Protobunker, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: A Little Too Much Horror
Ray: Finally, after four issues that were bogged down by too much cosmic villainy and snark between the two kid heroes, Adventures of the Super-Sons #5 gives us an issue that perfectly recaptures the Silver Age vibe the series is going for. When we last left off, Damian and Jon’s involuntary space adventure was interrupted by them crash-landing on an odd deserted planet. When they were stranded there by Joker Jr. (who is captured by the rest of his gang this issue), they went to explore and come across an odd mansion in the middle of nowhere. Inside, they were confronted by odd sights including their future selves. This issue is essentially a double-team-up between the two mismatched heroes and their older doppelganger – Damian a burly, grumpy warrior and Jon a jolly, husky hero-next-door. It’s actually pretty good representations of how they might end up, although I question how Lois became good enough of a cook to overwhelm a half-Kryptonian metabolism!
This issue seems somewhat inspired by the classic “For the Man Who Has Everything”, in that Jon and Damian are tempted by idealized versions of the life they could have – Jon is happily married and now lives in a new fortress in Hamilton, Kansas where he grew up, while Damian has improved on his father’s system and now commands an army of Robins-in-training. But the entire project is overseen by a creepy pair of aliens that seem to be based on Cain and Abel in a surreal environment that is obviously not what it appears to be, and once the truth is revealed the two boys have to team up with their doubles in order to escape the house and the planet. For once, Jon and Damian actually seem like partners (and occasionally friends) and the threat is both real but distinct and perfectly in line with the tone of the series. This is only a one-issue diversion, so I don’t know where the series will go from here. But for the first time, it feels like a Super-Sons series I want to read.
Corrina: This series has always struggled with the fine line between all-ages adventure and concepts that are a little too adult. That’s the case with this story, too, as can be seen from the cover. A child being imprisoned and tortured doesn’t exactly scream all-ages. Though that part of the sequence is short in the book, it still seems too much for a title that, ideally, you’d want to give to the youngest of readers.
But the other elements are fun, with Jon and Damian and their adult selves struggling to escape. I especially like how the adult versions are inspired by the idealism of their younger selves. This is fun and this is what the book does at its best. That Damian and Jon finally act as a team makes it work wonderfully.
It’s also an interesting twist on the actual Super-Sons history. There, adult Batman and Superman created fantasy versions of themselves to explore what their futures might be like. Here, adult and child have swapped roles.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.