Review: Dickensian England Shenanigans In ‘Challenge Of The Super Sons’ #4

by James Ferguson

The Super Sons have been sent on a mission through time and space by the mysterious Aurora to save other heroes from the Doom Scroll. Who is this mystical woman? What is the Doom Scroll? Challenge of the Super Sons #4 fills in those gaps, showing us where Superboy and Robin were whisked away to at the end of issue #1…or rather when they were whisked away to.

I have already mentioned in previous reviews how the jump right into the action in Challenge of the Super Sons #2 felt like we were missing a chapter. Well, this is that chapter or more likely, the beginning of that chapter. I have no idea why the series was plotted this way as it’s super confusing, but I’m going to go with it because writer Peter J. Tomasi clearly has a path here. It helps that this is such a fun series.

When dealing with time travel, there are a few characters that pop up in the DC Universe. The Super Sons come face-to-face with a big one in this chapter in the form of the immortal Vandal Savage, not to mention the sorcerer Felix Faust. Within just a few pages, we see who the big bads of this series could be and more importantly, what connection Aurora has to them. Some of this is implied and we’re able to connect the dots.

Artist Jorge Corona joins Challenge of the Super Sons with this issue. It’s a change in style from what we’ve seen so far, but it works because the setting and time period is completely different. Corona’s artwork is superb and packed with energy. Every character is super expressive, wearing their personality on their sleeve.

For example, Vandal Savage is big and bold, literally. The guy is twice the size of a normal man and three times the size of Robin and Superboy. He is such an intimidating presence so he makes for a formidable foe based on his form alone. Compare that to the conniving Faust who moves like a snake, pulling strings in this fight.

Corona highlights the awkwardness in the kids, particularly in Jon. Sure, Superboy can lift a car over his head, but he’s still nervous and unsure of himself. That shows in his posture and facial expressions. Meanwhile, Robin stands next to him, tall and confident, even though he suddenly finds himself in Dickensian England.

There’s one shot that perfectly encapsulates this. Letterer Rob Leigh adds the perfect touch with a smaller font as Jon tries to figure out where and when they are.

Colorist Luis Guerrero sets the stage for Challenge of the Super Sons #4 well. The background is drab and dreary with lots of browns and greys. This contrasts well with the bright colors of the Super Sons’ costumes, making them look even more out of place in this setting. Faust’s magic really pops with an electric energy too.

Although we get a few more questions, the gaps are starting to fill in. Challenge of the Super Sons continues its break-neck pace with this chapter and it’s just as fun and adventurous as ever. I sincerely hope this is just the beginning of many more stories like this as there is nothing else like it out there. It’s a more youthful and inviting form of Batman and Superman. What’s not to love?

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