Superman #38 Review

Superman #38 Review

Super Sons of Tomorrow has started off strong with its first three chapters of this Superman, Super Sons and Teen Titans crossover. The return of the villainous future Tim Drake as Batman has led to some unexpectedly excited results as the Teen Titans learn a little bit of what is going on with the Batman Family drama. Making things even juicier was the fact that chapter two of Super Sons of Tomorrow ended with the reemergence of the Titans of Tomorrow. More specifically we saw the return of Conner Kent, Cassandra Sandsmark and Bart Allen. These have been three of the biggest missing characters from the Rebirth-era of the DC Universe. Now with their return and what future Tim Drake has planned for Superboy this storyline can go anywhere. Let’s see how things go with Superman #38.

Writer: Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Artist: Sergio Davila

Inker: Vicente Cifuentes

Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Using Aqualad’s ability to communicate with sea creatures Aqualad, Starfire and Kid Flash are able to find Superboy and Robin in their secret base. Robin and Superboy are quick to fight the three Teen Titans off. Aqualad is able to use his magic to cool Robin and Superboy off and tell the two that they are on their side.

Superman #38 Review

Click for full-page view

Inside a Hypertime portal Conner Kent, Cassandra Sandsmark and Bart Allen use Tim Drake’s hand to teleport to the present. During their trip they see all of the things Tim has done to mess with the present.

In the present Robin protest being knocked out but Superboy understands what the three Teen Titans are doing to help them and he knocks out the Boy Wonder. Kid Flash then helps knock Superboy out.

At the Fortress of Solitude Robin and Superboy wake up and they along with Aqualad, Starfire and Kid Flash find Superman encased in a Red Sun prison. Superboy freaks out over his father’s status which causes his Solar Flare powers to go out of control.

As Superboy goes out of control Superman breaks out of his prison just in time to demand Tim, who just arrived with Beast Boy and Raven, tell him what is happening to his son.

Conner, Cassandra and Bart arrive from the future  to quickly assist Superman and the Teen Titans try to keep Superboy’s Solar Flare powers from getting out of control. Even with everyone working together no one is able to stop Superboy’s power from getting out of control.

Superman #38 Review

Click for full-page view

Noticing that Hypertime wants to take him back to his timeline Tim absorbs Superboy’s Solar Flare energy and takes it back with him through Hypertime. End of issue.

The Good: Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason kicked off Super Sons of Tomorrow on full drive and have not let up on the peddle. Superman #38 is further proof of that as they go all in Superman and the Teen Titans in action as they try to prevent what the future Tim Drake is doing to disrupt their lives. In doing so Tomasi and Gleason provide us with plenty of things to talk and question about what exactly the end goal for Super Sons of Tomorrow is.

When it comes to not wasting time Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman #38 is a fine example of that. From the beginning with Starfire, Aqualad and Kid Flash tracking down and convincing Robin and Superboy they are on their side the issue just keeps moving. Even when the action is fast paced Tomasi and Gleason never lose grasp on the pacing of their story. Instead they make sure that every action, even when it is Robin and Superboy fighting Starfire, Aqualad and Kid Flash, means something to the story.

In this case it was Robin’s bullheaded way of thinking that made him a bit of a detriment to understanding that his friends are looking out for him and Superboy. That has been an ongoing plot thread in both Teen Titans and Super Sons that has continued to help humble Robin, who is in definite need of humble pie. Having Superboy their to act as a voice of reason and understand what Starfire and the others wanted to do to help them was another example in how Robin needs friends. Superboy knocking Robin out was also a nice bit of comedy to add to what is otherwise a tense story taking place.

Superman #38 Review

Click for full-page view

Starfire, Aqualad and Kid Flash taking the stance of helping out Robin and Superboy is some strong development for these characters. It goes to show how these characters do not waver on who their friends are, even when someone from the future tries to put them against each other. This is the type of character work that further strengthens the bond of this version of the Teen Titans that will help future inform character interactions in future storylines.

There willingness to help made the final team-up of everyone trying to save Superboy an even stronger event. Seeing Superboy flip out when he sees his father imprisoned in a Red Sun case was a sight to see. That made the case for how Superboy’s character arc has been about him not being in full control of his powers. That lack of control is a terrifying thing about the character and we see why with how crazy out of control his Solar Flare powers got. Adding in the fact that his control of the Solar Flare power is not as refined as Superman because of his mixed lineage is an intriguing character trait that further plays into how he is different from his father.

As fans of these characters it was great to see Conner, Cassie and Bart back on screen together, something we didn’t get a lot of even during the New 52. The three back together as a team as the future Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash felt refreshing and familiar at the same time. Throughout their time on screen Tomasi and Gleason did a very good job nailing each voice to sound like older versions of the characters we know. The ambiguity of their motivations added some nice complexity to their interactions. This is especially furthered by how they ended up helping Superman and the Teen Titans, something that was jarring to see given how we have normally seen them as villains of stories.

Superman #38 Review

Click for full-page view

Conner, Cassie and Bart’s part in the story further help drive what Tim Drake was doing in the present. Tomasi and Gleason are not messing around with how he is portraying Tim as the antagonist of the story. They did a good job of what we know about this version of Tim to make him so easy to hate. Though it is interesting to see that through all of his actions Tomasi and Gleason did end Superman #38 on Tim seemingly saving the day. How that plays into the final chapter of this story will be very interesting.

Sergio Davila is given plenty of action to stretch his artistic muscle. Davila’s artwork shines best when Superboy loses control of his Solar Flare powers as we see how everyone works desperately to save the kid. Davila best accomplishment is matching the styles from previous chapters in the Super Sons of Tomorrow storyline. That consistency is often overlooked in crossovers between titles and is greatly appreciated here.

The Bad: Though they do end up showing up in the last few pages of this issue it was disappointed to see Beast Boy and Raven thrown aside. Not only are Beast Boy and Raven thrown to the side but they end up coming off worse than anyone else given that Starfire and the others state that the two sided with future Tim Drake. Since we did not get any sort of scene showing us why Beast Boy and Raven chose Tim over helping their Teen Titans teammates they end up looking like horrible friends. This in turn damages Beast Boy and Raven as characters, especially if you are not fans or know anything about these characters.

Superman #38 Review

Click for full-page view

Overall: Superman #38 delivered another strong chapter in the Super Sons of Tomorrow story arc. Bringing in the Titans of Tomorrow along with Superman added to the conflict that the future Tim Drake created. Seeing all these characters interacting together made the final sequence with Superboy’s Solar Flare powers deliver the impact Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason were looking for. Now with how things ended we still have a lot of questions left unanswered for the final chapter of this crossover.

Leave a Reply