The “Adventures of the Super Sons” comic comes to an end. Given Jon Kent’s age-up in the pages of “Superman” and “Action Comics,” who knows if we’ll get to see them together like this again? So how does their latest (maybe even last, but probably not) team up go?
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Carlo Barberi
Colored by Protobunker
Lettered by Rob Leigh
It’s been a long road, but Superboy and Robin have finally made their way back home! Unfortunately, an armada of about a gazillion juvenile super-delinquents is back too, and these pint-sized hell-raisers are out to conquer Earth! It’s the final battle between the son of Batman, the son of Superman, a big fan of Lex Luthor and whatever a “Doomsdame” is in this epic finale to the Super Sons saga!
Damian and Jon have been through quite a lot in these twelve issues. They’ve faced child-sized versions of DC’s greatest villains, encountered possible future versions of themselves, teamed up with a Green Lantern in-training and a robotic Jonah Hex, and, well, generally gone through the usual amount of madness that can only happen in comics.
So this is where it concludes. Does it wrap the story up? Is it a satisfying ending for all characters involved? Well… yeah, I’d say so.
There are more than a few ways heroes can defeat villains. They can beat them with sheer strength, outwit them, use their own weapons against them, or have a third-act power player appear that lets them tip the balance. In some cases, more than one. In this case, all of the above.
Fortunately, it comes together in a cohesive manner. Peter J. Tomasi has planned this out for a while, so we get to see how all the pieces fit together – not just with Rex and his bite-sized Legion of Evil, but with the Hypercube, the adventures they’ve been through up until now, and more.
This allows the characters to shine in more than one way. Robin and Superboy get to be clever and solve problems with wits and knowledge, but they also get to beat villains face-to-face. All the while, we get to see how strong their friendship and trust in each other is, even if they might not admit it.
One of the strongest aspects of the comic is the characters’ voices. Tomasi lets their personalities come through, but we’re still reminded that they are kids. One moment we get Robin’s confidence and scientific know-how. the next he’s showing it off by making the target of his tech say “I’m a dumb bald guy.” Superboy may have Kryptonian strength and endurance, but he can still complain “Buying you time always gets me bruises” and face off against his enemy by showing that he can scream the loudest. Sure, they bicker plenty, but the end makes it clear just how solid their friendship is.
“Adventures of the Super Sons” also takes the time to remind us of the joy of stories, and how influential they can be. Mentioning how sometimes stories end and sometimes they don’t ties well into the nature of comics, where individual series may come and go but overall the stories never end. (Of course, whether or not that’s a good thing will vary from person to person; not everyone likes seeing the same characters go on for decades without the status quo changing.) It helps the comic end on a strong note, reminding us that these characters still have plenty ahead for them.
Although how that will work after Jon’s space-faring time-skip has yet to be seen.
Artistically, we have very solid work from Carlo Barberi, backed up by Matt Santorelli’s inking and Protobunker’s color work. This issue of “Adventures of the Super Sons” gets to have a little fun with space within the Hypercube, so we get some floating panels and good use of white space within the void. Outside of there, the action is smooth and solid, with a dynamic flow and a real sense of impact. Scenes Rex and Jon fly at each other before clashing in a suitably dramatic fashion are plenty of fun, and the use of scenery – like bits of rock flying around them from the force of the collision – adds to the force and tension of the scene.Continued below
Character-wise, the designs are all very clear and concise. Little touches like the battle damage to Robin’s cape add to the character work, and the young copycats of DC villains are all a good mix of youth and the recognizable antagonists. I also quite like the design of Cube, the intelligence within the Hypercube; while its design is very alien, the wide bright eyes and small mouth make the character instantly likable.
With that said, it looks as though Robin and Superboy are overdue for haircuts, as their heads appear to be 50% hair. But they have been traveling through space for more than a little while, so it’s not beyond believability.
In the end, “Adventures of the Super Sons” has been a fun jaunt through space with the characters. While it may not shake the DC universe to its core, it’s entertaining and provides some great moments for the characters and their friendship. If you like Robin and/or Superboy, you’ll enjoy this story.
Final Verdict: 7.3 – a good end to the comic’s run, bringing multiple elements together with great action, impressive artwork and good character moments. You won’t regret reading it.