Superman #16 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; David LaFuente, Artist; Paul Mounts, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: I’ve complained many times about how Bendis essentially rewrites characters to the way he wants them, but Superman #16 may be the first time that this actually worked in the character’s favor.
Damian Wayne has been maybe the character hurt most by his post-Rebirth characterization, turning from a gruff former assassin to a sadist who runs private prisons. That character isn’t recognizable in this issue, as Bendis reunites the Super-Sons for a farewell issue before Jon Kent heads off to the Legion of Super-Heroes.
This Damian Wayne is a much more lighthearted character, actually acting like a kid at times – like when he fights Leviathan goons in the opening segment, bantering with them and talking about how he’d love to get his hands on their technology. He’s equally stunned when Jon shows up with an additional two feet of height and a noticeable scar. This isn’t the Damian I recognized when they were the Super-Sons – Damian is much less caustic and seems to actually view Jon as a friend.
There isn’t all that much plot in this issue, but that’s fine – the villains are there to show off the heroes’ skills and provide some action banter. Jon and Damian take some time finding their rhythm again, and Damian being the type to highly encourage going with the Legion makes sense. He’s not the type to nostalgize home, and he would jump at the opportunity. He might, in fact – Bendis has teased that he’ll be joining Jon in the Legion, at least part time.
If the shift in dialogue takes a bit of getting used to, so does the art. Guest artist David LaFuente draws a great Damian brimming with hyperactive energy and his landscapes are gorgeous, but his Superman is a bit oddly…beefy.
The good news is, Superman #16 captures something their past team-ups didn’t have enough of – fun. You get the feeling these are two kids dealing with bizarre situations – even though Damian being interested in illicit beer may be a bit of a stretch. Hopefully we get some more future tie-ins like this.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.