There’s a lot going on for Superboy and Robin. The sons of Superman and Batman have been working together to stop crime and have gone on some big missions recently. It seems only fitting that they get their own base. Fortunately, their fathers are super rich and/or super smart and thus, the Fortress of Attitude is created, where the Justice League can send low level threats to the boys to handle.
The budding friendship between Damian and Jon is what makes Super Sons such an enjoyable read. They are fiercely competitive, but they have each others’ backs when it matters most. In some ways it’s like the Muppet Babies version of the World’s Finest and I’m totally OK with that. If Superman and Batman were friends as kids, this might be what it would have been like.
Despite Damian’s gruff too-cool-for-school attitude, he’s still a kid at heart. This is portrayed beautifully in the opening scene after Jon shows off his new found ability to fly. Jon tries to explain what it’s like to Damian and does so by propping him up on the back of the truck, giving him a feel for it. The look on Damian’s face is priceless. It’s pure joy which is an unfamiliar expression for him.
The Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader are portrayed as responsible fathers, but still with their own approaches to raising their kids. They’re learning from one another too. Bruce takes some of the lessons Clark is teaching his son and applying it to his own. Damian is a bit of a jerk and Jon is a total sweetheart, but the former is very responsible and capable of being out on his own. Granted, Damian is three years older than Jon.
The dialogue through Super Sons is perfect. It captures the essence of each character and gives you an immediate idea of who they are as people. Writer Peter J. Tomasi has this spot on for everyone, especially the dynamic between the parents and the kids. For example, Jon references his parents “super-mind reading” and explains that it’s not a power of his father, but his mother. This is a fun little gag that speaks volumes about everyone involved.
Jon has an innocent sense of awe and wonder to everything he does. It’s very infectious. This is a kid who has dreamed of being a super hero. His dad is Superman! Now he gets to put on a costume every day and fight bad guys and he even has his own lair! This is every kid’s dream come true. If you ever wondered what it would have been like to have super powers as a child, you can relive that experience through Jon in Super Sons.
This contrasts nicely with Damian’s teenage angst. Jon will eventually grow up and shed some of this naivete, but until then, he’s all wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. Granted, Damian has had a very different life than Jon, but he’s convinced he’s smarter than everyone, including his father, and his way is the right way.
The Fortress is pretty cool on its own so I can’t wait to see what the kids do to decorate the place. Artist Scott Hanna makes it look like a modernized hybrid of the Bat Cave and the Fortress of Solitude, but with a child’s touch. There’s not a giant penny or statues of Kryptonians, but there is a basketball hoop and a 3D printer. It represents the next step in their super heroics, like moving out of their room and into the basement would represent a step in growing up.
There is a two page “Intermezzo” that flies in the opposite direction to all this excitement. It shows Damian in the future as the Batman, first seen in Batman #666. The city burns around him and he’s faced with a tough decision. If this is a scene of things to come, despite his friendship with Jon, it’s pretty dark. I’m curious to see how this plays out in the coming issues and if Damian can change his destiny.
Super Sons is a comic that should be read by any parent. It should also be read by any kid. It should be read by everybody. It boils down Superman and Batman to the core aspects of each character, cutting away all the extra nonsense that could bog them down over the years. There’s no doom and gloom (except for that future scene, of course). There’s no mullet or electric powers. It’s just a couple of kids hanging out and fighting crime.