Imagine coming face-to-face with a future version of yourself. What kind of questions would you ask the older you? Robin and Superboy find themselves on the Planet of Mystery and Secrets where someone is pulling strings to manipulate them. Can they trust the “Man Wonder” and a pudgy Superman? Are they even real to begin with?
Adventures of the Super Sons #5 plays with this idea of destiny. Jon has already gotten a glimpse of a possible future and it shook him to his core. This is a much lighter version, albeit a little bigger in the waistline. He can see himself in this older, bigger version. This guy was able to grow up and maintain the same sense of wonder and excitement that he has as a ten year old. That’s refreshing to see.
Robin’s future self is just as suspicious and arrogant as he is. I like the design for Old Robin as he’s bulked out, yet kept his signature look. Artist Carlo Barberi put a cool spin on this. My favorite sequence of this issue is where the two Robins look for an exit and end up falling into an abyss. The background is a stark white with nothing else around it. They fall into emptiness with panels that spiral down to the bottom of the page.
Letterer Rob Leigh adds to this eerie scene with empty word balloons. There’s something so unsettling about someone trying to speak and nothing coming out. This heightens the tension and creates even more mystery around this strange place.
The characters really pop on the page here and in later segments where the background is whited out. Colorist Protobunker fills them with gorgeous blues, reds, and greens, capturing your eye and making them look larger than life which plays in with the finale very well.
The two boys are given a brief glimpse into their possible futures and it scares them a little. They’re not ready to grow up, so being confronted with all the responsibilities and changes that come with being an adult freaks them out. There’s a great sequence where each of them faces their potential destiny on their own, but it’s shown like a mirror version, so we see the reactions at the same time.
What drives Adventures of the Super Sons is the strong partnership between Robin and Superboy. They might poke fun at one another but at the end of the day, they’re best friends. That translates into their future selves too which leads to a heroic and inspiring fight sequence as the captors are revealed.
I wish Adventures of the Super Sons could run forever because I will never get tired of the insane and often hilarious hijinks Robin and Superboy get into. Writer Peter J. Tomasi is juggling multiple narratives in this series, giving one a rest to fly through this quick storyline that gives the characters some interesting perspective on their possible futures as costumed heroes.