The Super Sounds are united again in this superman and robin special. I’ve missed these boys together, and I’m especially interested to see how their dynamic holds up now that Jon is older than Damian. We’ve had a few brief encounters between them, but it’s finally time to see them embark on another adventure in a longer format. So let’s see how they do!
This issue mainly focuses on Jon and Damian trying to catch a creature that has escaped from a magic cube stored in the Fortress of Solitude. It’s the same cube that Jon has tangled with on several occasions, including during his trip to Dinosaur Island and during a super son adventure. This time he has released a strange creature that ages rapidly and causes chaos wherever it goes.
After the introduction of this event, we see Lois and Jon together. Tomasi creates a nice scene here with Lois still upset about missing out on so much time with Jon, and Jon himself grappling with his own childhood loss and kind of building the idea for the whole book, which captures at this childhood again. To emphasize this, as soon as Lois leaves, Damian shows up to inform Jon that something is wrong at the Fortress. Together the boys go there, with Jon flying and Damian taking the Hell Bat Suit. I to like Damian uses the costume, and I’m happy every time he appears. He also has a good reasoning for his use as he refuses to let Jon carry him to the fortress, but even if he didn’t I would still accept his appearance just because it’s fun.
From there, the issue focuses almost entirely on the two boys trying to subdue a creature causing havoc in the fortress. It takes them on a wild adventure through the fortress as it continues to grow, and the boys bicker over the best way to take it down. It’s light, campy and fun. There is a bit of everything, almost scooby-doo as a hunting scene, to boys fighting Nazis in giant armour.
It’s a lot of fun to see this, and it feels like the whole issue is trying to answer Lois’ own words all along “Once in a while it’s better to tune out and let the little kid in us all come out to play.” Through the issue, Damian helps bring that back to Jon, something he’s had to ignore since his rapid growth spurt and transition to Superman. And I like that about it. It attempts to capture that vibrant childhood feeling of the original super son series.
However, I have some issues with this. It’s just the kind of story I would have showered with praise had it been inserted into the original. super son story, where this kind of adventure seemed right. And I wanted it to feel good. I was so excited to see Tomasi on this issue because of his history with Jon and Damian. If anyone were to tackle Damian and Jon’s relationship past Jon’s age, Tomasi is the guy to do it. It doesn’t work here for me.
Part of my problem is the age dynamics and the characterization within that. As much as I hate Jon’s aging, it happened and he has more responsibility than ever as Superman now. So seeing him and Damian galloping around the Fortress of Solitude, and Damian tricking him with pranks makes Jon himself feel less in character. On the other hand, Damian feels younger than his 14 years old now. He makes faces in the glass of Kandor and has cartoonish reactions to the creature he is trying to subdue. Although that campier feeling is genuine in super son here, it confuses the narrative a bit.
I think that dynamic could potentially work. It’s worked in the past, and there’s not much to really have changed it beyond Jon’s aging. However, to work, I feel like the boys have to get over Jon’s aging. While they’ve interacted and talked a bit since Jon’s return, I don’t feel like I’ve really seen a satisfying scene or two reconnect or talk seriously about Jon’s aging or Damian’s own issues.
This special feels like an attempt, but it kind of goes beyond getting them talking to putting them on another adventure to force that bond. There are moments where they briefly catch up, like Damian giving Jon some insight into his actions on Lazarus Island, but those moments feel less like them chatting about their lives and more like catch-up for readers who show up. just for super son content or behind the news.
Art is just as dynamic and exciting as adventure. Viktor Bogdandvic is in pencil, with Ivan Plascencia and Matt Herms in color, and Tom Napolitand in letters. Together they create a vibrant world full of adventures. Especially the chase scenes. Together the team does a great job of really capturing the energy of the moments within them. There’s one particular moment where the creature latched onto Damian, and Jon tries to pull it off, which is both hilarious and fun.
Napolitand’s letters just add to that, with a variety of onomatopoeia smoky, or hidden behind figures, and even the delightful little fhutt noise that Damian’s tranquilizer gun makes when he fires it. There are countless moments throughout the issue where the onomatopoeia just adds to the overall narrative, and too much to emphasize.
Despite my issues with some of the characterization and the desire for more depth, this issue is quite fun. It’s a treat to see Damian and Jon running through the fortress, with Damian exclaiming over various parts of it, and the creature itself constantly changing. The boys go awkwardly headbutting in search of a real way to solve the problem, and I love it. Overall it’s a delight, and I’m glad I had the chance to read it.
- You love the Hell Bat Suit!
- Super Sons Fighting Nazis Are A Total Delight
- Even with a new age gap, Jon and Damian are still best friends
I really liked this number. It’s fun, it’s light and it does what he wants to do, which is to give Jon back a part of his childhood. Thanks to his and Damian’s team, the two boys get some respite from the most serious events in their lives right now and have a little fun, running around the Fortress of Solitude, trying to catch a aging creature and fighting the Nazis. Really, what more could you ask for?
WARNING: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.