Superboy and Robin are out stopping a variety of petty crimes in Metropolis when the Teen Titans come calling. They need Damian for a big mission and he’s quick to leave Jon behind. He’s just a kid after all and not yet a teenager, so what business would Superboy have in the Teen Titans? Considering the Titans are down a member and they’re about to face a pretty fierce foe, I’m betting they’ll be able to make some room.
I’m not going to mince words here. Super Sons from DC Comics is easily my favorite super hero comic right now. It captures the essence of the relationship between Batman and Superman without all the angst and passive aggressive nonsense that has bogged it down over the years. This is pure and new and it’s so much fun.
A big chunk of this enjoyment comes in how Damian and Jon try to act like their fathers. When we first see him, Damian is brooding atop a building and doesn’t even look up when Jon shows up. He’s too cool for kid stuff, even though he’s only thirteen years old. Meanwhile, Jon’s mom packed him some apple slices in a brown paper bag labeled “Super Snack.” He’s only ten so he’s just starting to push away from his parents, but he still loves them dearly and respects their rules, including his curfew.
Much of this comes through in Jorge Jimenez’s artwork. He captures the pure attitude of Damian and the naivete of Jon. The former is trying so hard to come across like an adult while the latter is just happy to be outside and helping people. Although Jon is younger, he’s taller than Damian which comes up in conversation and annoys Damian to no end.
Jimenez handles the Teen Titans well. Their first appearance in the issue showcases their personalities instantly. Starfire oozes confidence. Raven hides herself partially under her hood. Beast Boy is cocky and fearless. Jon’s jaw must have hit the floor with how cool this all looks with a bunch of older kids showing up in an awesome jet.
The action is well choreographed too. Jimenez knows when to get close for specific shots and then go wide for big, open panels. The scenes with Jon and Damian traipsing through the city are a good example of this. There’s something so cool about a kid in a Superman sweatshirt and jeans leaping across the tops of buildings.
This works hand-in-hand with Alejandro Sanchez’s colors, highlighting the cool tones of the evening. The boys are illuminated by streetlights and lights coming from the windows of nearby buildings. Shadow is used sparingly and to great effect. There’s a gorgeous shot of the Teen Titans taking off with Jon standing dejected on a rooftop. Smoke swirls around him. His face is in shadow, but you can imagine how sad and disappointed he must be. You just want to give him a hug.
As much fun as Super Sons is, Clark Kent comes close to stealing the entire issue with a single line about Batman which you can see in the preview images included here. You might wonder why Clark and Lois would allow their ten year old son to go running around the city at night “supervised” by a thirteen year old. Clark points out that his father couldn’t keep him from testing out his powers so how could he try to do the same with Jon? It shows that they have a great relationship. I used to hope that I could be as good a father as Coach Taylor was on Friday Night Lights. Now my fatherhood icon is Clark Kent.
All of this goes to show how writer Peter J. Tomasi completely nails these characters and how they interact with the larger DC Universe. It’s this quality that has made Super Sons and Superman among the best of the best of DC Rebirth. Super Sons #6 boils two of the biggest characters in the genre down to their very essence and bottles it inside children. OK, that sounds a little creepy. What I mean is that if Superman and Batman had met as kids instead of adults, this is what it might be like. Just try to read this book without cracking a smile. If you can accomplish that, you don’t have a heart.
Super Sons #6 will be available today, on July 19th, 2017 at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.