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I’m not sure you need a better indicator for how well DC has re-embraced fun after DC Rebirth than Super Sons #1, by writer Peter J Tomasi and artist Jorge Jimenez. If a book like this had been published at the height of the New 52, it would have featured a lot of angst and a lot of that weird segmented armor. It’s a good thing, then, that Super Sons #1 winds up being exactly the kind of bickering fun you’d come to expect from the pairing of Bruce Wayne’s arrogant son Damian and Clark Kent’s earnest son Jon. While the issue doesn’t exactly deliver on innovation or surprises, it does exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it well enough.
The issue jumps around a bit, opening with a prologue that’ll obviously come into play later before then flashing forward to a Robin and Superboy in the thick of trouble, where they belong. The issue then flashes back to see Jon Kent having to contend with Damian showing up in his town and pressuring the Boy of Steel to join him in an unauthorized adventure.
Look, the charm of this book is going to be watching the sparks fly as the supremely capable and equally arrogant Damian Wayne bickers and snarks at the earnest, principled, and largely responsible Jon Kent. You don’t get a more classic odd couple than that unless their names are Felix and Oscar. You also want them to get into adventures that have stakes and jeopardy attached, but without being dark and grim ordeals full of angst and tragedy. These are thirteen year olds after all. Tomasi and Jimenez thread that needle very well, giving us just enough action to set up that Robin and Superbly will be having actual adventures but not forgetting that it’s okay for this book to be lighter than your typical super-hero story. In that way, Super Sons #1 is fun and enjoyable to read, a charming debut issue that fulfills its mandate.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t exactly say that anything that happened in Super Sons #1 surprised me in the slightest. Damian and Jon’s relationship was exactly how it’s always been depicted, and the adventure they embark upon is pretty standard as far as it goes. For a first issue, designed to give readers the basic premise and establish the relationships, that’s perfectly fine, of course. But in the long term, I hope that Tomasi and Jimenez have plans to shake things up at least a little, give Damian and Jon something more to do than bicker and gradually become besties. Given the pedigree of this team, I’ve got faith that there’s more in store.
Speaking of Jimenez, he does a great job in capturing the appropriate tone for the title. There’s a puckish, mischievous and energetic feel to his style that captures the youthful vibe needed for the issue. He does a great job of approaching Damian and Jon as two distinct characters, giving them a different body language and range of expressions that goes way beyond “one wears glasses, the other doesn’t smile.” He’s got a subtly different approach depending on whose world we inhabit, with the Hamilton County elements having a slightly different feel than the Gotham City sections or Metropolis ones.
While I do think the title needs to grow beyond its initial set-up pretty quickly, the fun of these two characters and there relationship is more than enough to recommend Super Sons #1 as a charmingly fun example of the benefits of DC’s company-wide lighter touch these days. 8/10