Robin, Superboy, and the Green Lantern in training managed to escape the prison planet, but have landed on Leone-5, the western world. We’re starting to notice a pattern in the way these places are set up. They’re all mimicking themes and ideas from Earth. The boys find help in a Jonah Hex robot as they work to hijack a space train to get home before Rex Luthor can destroy it.
While Leone-5 is really just a pitstop on the way to the finale for this series, we get a healthy dose of story there. The boys spend a few days here and get into a few different adventures. Most of these are told, but not shown. From the descriptions, it sounds like they were pretty crazy, so I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get a fun montage to showcase them. Instead, there are some throwaway lines about princess bandits and chupacabras.
There are some obvious nods to Westworld in Adventures of the Super Sons #9, as well as some cool references as a whole. Writer Peter J. Tomasi peppers in mentions of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, the writers of a solid run on Jonah Hex. The name of the planet is also a reference to classic western movies. There’s just the right amount of this so it’s not seen as pandering, nor does it take away from the reading experience. If you didn’t know these references, you wouldn’t miss anything in the book.
I’ve always loved the design for Superboy, but there’s something undeniably cool about how he looks with a cowboy hat, handkerchief, and a gun belt. Robin only has the guns. That makes sense because he’s older and probably thinks the hat looks silly. Plus, it wouldn’t go with his hood. Artist Scott Godlewski captures that middle ground for these characters, showing them both as kids, excited to go on an adventure, and as confident super heroes ready to break up some robot guards.
You never forget that we’re in a far off land in Adventures of the Super Sons #9. Colorist Protobunker fills the pages with bright blues, greens, and reds, creating a futuristic tone for every page, even though we’re on a western planet. The robot guards are a definite stand out with white armor and blue lights. They’re the personification of science-fiction.
I will admit that I haven’t really taken Rex Luthor seriously throughout Adventures of the Super Sons. He’s a gag villain and looks a little silly. I’m starting to see just how menacing he can be as he puts his plan into motion. Letterer Rob Leigh delivers Rex’s dialogue with authority, commanding his troops with power and confidence. You can’t look away as he demands attention.
Adventures of the Super Sons takes a bit of a side quest to play cowboy with a cyborg Jonah Hex with this issue. It maintains the fun nature of the series that has come to define this great pairing of Robin and Superboy, while keeping the high-octane adventure quality. There’s action, danger, and intrigue, but through the lens of a kid which feels wide-eyed and exciting.