Super-Sons: The Foxglove Mission – Ridley Pearson, Writer; Ile Gonzales, Artist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: I was very critical of the first volume of this all-ages OGN series that reinvents the partnership of Damian Wayne and Jon Kent as pint-sized superheroes in a very different world than the typical DCU. A lot of the graphic novel seemed to have changes to the mythos that served no purpose except to “shake things up.” Damian was the only son of Bruce, called himself “Ian,” and was mostly raised by Bruce’s assistant Patience, who took over for a deceased Alfred. Jon was more recognizable, but Lois spent most of the story in a coma after being felled by a mysterious virus. Most oddly, the story took place in a fictional nation named Coleumbria, home to Gotham and Metropolis and in the middle of a climate disaster that turned countless citizens into refugees called “Flood Runners.” It was a wildly ambitious kick-off to a series that felt like we’d already missed a lot.
Thankfully, the second installment sands off some of the rough edges and fixes one of the most important issues—“Ian” and Jon are actually starting to feel like friends. Damian is as prickly as he is in the main comics, but it feels less malicious and more like a boy with no idea how to have a friend messing up. Repeatedly. Neither Jon or Damian are actually superheroes in this version. Jon sneaks out to use his powers to fight crime on occasion, while Damian has put together a jury-rigged “Bat-kid” costume using a helmet and skateboard. But the book doesn’t quite seem sure how Jon’s powers work. They seem to fluctuate enough that he can be stung by bees. Their adventures are mostly an extended road trip, taking them from town to town as they chase an army of generic evil scientists and team up with their friends Tilly and Candace.
Candace is the third main part of this story, and this mysterious girl from Landis (another fictional nation) who can control birds is the main bright spot of the book. The first book made me think it was a little too close to Wakanda, but this book makes clear that Landis is a thorny political landscape that we’ve barely begun to explore, and Candace—the queen in waiting—has some powerful enemies who would love to see her never make it home. Those enemies, though, have sent a quartet of teenage girls as their assassins, and these villains are among the funniest part of the story as they incompetently bumble from one evil plan to another. This installment seems to have a lot more levity than the previous one, which goes a long way towards making it a quick and entertaining read.
The problem, though, is that this series still seems less interested in its lead characters than its original subplots. Lois once again spends the entire book in a coma, with her fate only mentioned a few times before the end of the book. Bruce appears in a scene or two, mostly via long-distance holo-calls. The pace is both frantic and leisurely, as Jon and Damian bip-bop from one chaotic scene to another without accomplishing much. Hokey names like “Doctor Cray Ving” litter the book. This feels like a strange superhero soap—which I guess it is, given the less-than six month lag time between volumes. A third installment is already previewed in the back of the book, meaning this story is likely to continue indefinitely. An odd choice to be DC Zoom’s only ongoing series.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.