In Review: Super Sons #1

A fun and dramatic story that's complimented by beautiful visuals. Highest possible recommendation!

The covers: The inaugural issue has two covers to track down and both are outstanding. The Regular cover is by the interior artist and colorist, Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez, respectively. Superboy joyously is flying forward, while Robin sports a wicked smile behind him riding a airbike that has two massive propellers. Against a backdrop of a rising orange son, busts of Superman and Batman watch their boys go off into adventure. The artwork is great and the colors beautiful. When this series gets collected, this has to be the cover. The Variant cover was the one I purchased because it just stands out for me; it’s also the image I used to accompany this review. Damian and Jonathan are standing side by side. Robin has his arms crossed and looks sullen, while Superboy has an elbow on his friend’s shoulder, the other arm is at his waist, and he’s smiling. This visual by Dustin Nguyen sums up both characters’ personalities perfectly. I also love how both look their ages and their messed up hair is dynamite. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: A two paged prologue opens this issue. A family is sitting in a living room: two adults and three teens. Reggie asks to have some popcorn from brother Archie. He initially refuses, but then gives Reggie the whole bowl. Mom gets up and gives Reggie her blanket after he says he’s cold, and then young sister Sara gives him her pillow. Dad then volunteers the car, after it’s asked for, even asking Reggie if he wants it washed first. Reggie then bellows he wants a group hug and the others oblige. The scene moves back, revealing everything is occurring on an unmanned sound stage. Reggie says, “We’re the closet family ever.” Time moves to the present where Superboy is running, carrying Robin on his back. They’re in a wooded area and someone is blasting energy rounds at them. Robin says they’re done running, and Superboy skids to a halt. The young heroes prepare themselves to battle their pursuers, robotic versions of themselves. This was an exciting beginning to “When I Grow Up…” by Peter J. Tomasi. The story then zips back in time two days to show how Jonathan is conducting himself at school and with his peers. There are the typical hijinks from bullies, but it’s more interesting to see what Jonathan doesn’t do around others. Damian enters the story in neat fashion, introducing how each feels about the other. There’s also a few moments spent with their families: Jonathan’s is how one would expect, but Damian’s is much more interesting because Batman is never shown parenting, and he has to do so in this issue. Alfred’s brief moment with Damian was also very entertaining. The boys go out to do some heroics and wind up facing off on the last page with the last person a reader would expect. I loved everything about this story. It was fun, serious, and, most of all, captured the ages of the characters perfectly. I taught middle school for twenty years, so I can say with experience Tomasi nails their personalities perfectly. Overall grade: A+

The art: This book looks great. I’ve enjoyed Jorge Jimenez’s work in other works, but this looks tremendous. The opening two pages are hero-less, but shows an incredible amount of detail in the setting that Reggie and his family inhabit. The characters also emote wonderfully, with Archie looking stupefied in the second panel and Reggie the perpetual whiner. The reveal on Page 2 is carried out beautifully. When the heroes make their debut on the third page. Jimenez tilts the panels to increase the speed at which they’re travelling. Page 4 is a full paged splash and has the pair assuming their superhero poses as they’re surrounded by enemies. The boys look their ages, but also look tough, with the smile on Superboy’s face showing he’s ready to kick some butt. The transition to two days earlier is a huge change in settings and they look sharp. The people that are on Jonathan’s bus are terrific, their personalities are instantly recognizable based on the way they’re drawn. The bus driver is perfect: he’s the expected elderly man tolerating the tomfoolery to make an income. Damian’s reveal is great and the page that follows is impressive for how the boys are depicted. Each hero’s home life is shown and it’s night and day, with the Batcave detailed excellently and the Kent’s living room table being the gathering area for the family. 15 is a flat out gorgeous page, with the final panel being an image that Jonathan must see often. A nice tip of the hat goes to Frank Miller at the top of 19 as the boys go into action, but 20 is a definite WOW! with whom they encounter. This is a beautiful looking book. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Alejandro Sanchez’s colors on this book increase its beauty significantly. I was impressed with the bright colors of the opening panel, with the sofas’ bright colors drawing the reader’s eye to the characters upon them. Look at the excellent work done with all the glass in this location — it looks realistic. The coloring of Reggie’s hair on Page 2 is great, and the job done on his bellow makes it echo across the page, ultimately revealing it also resounds across the sound stage. When the boys are shown on 3, Sanchez incorporates an extra bit of rose onto their skin to give the proceedings a more hurried tone. When the story moves to two days earlier, the work with blues is beautiful and makes me envious of the surroundings. When Jonathan gets a close up on 7 it’s stunning because of the color work. Colors reveal a key character moment at the top of 10 and it’s awesome. Coloring is also important to show the difference of where each teen is raised, as one location is much more inviting than another. Sanchez is killing it in every panel. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, yells, acknowledgements to time, the story’s title, the book’s credits, sounds, and the coolest looking tease for the next issue are created by Rob Leigh. Leigh always does strong work, but he’s doing incredible work on this book. The changes in setting and time are beautiful, yet completely appropriate. The story’s title is magnificent, capturing both characters in its design. The sounds are terrific, with all the POKs on the bus my favorite. The tease for next issue is fantastic! It’s huge, fun, and just a bit sinister. Leigh is the right person for this book. Overall grade: A+  

The final line: Everything one would want from these boys and more. A fun and dramatic story that’s complimented by beautiful visuals. Highest possible recommendation! Overall grade: A+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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