Since the beginning of Rebirth two characters that have been closely tied together because of their parents is Robin and Superboy. Given the contentious relationship their dads, Batman and Superman, currently have it is not a surprise that Robin and Superboy haven’t gotten off to the best foot as friends. But now they have the opportunity to become each other’s best friend as Peter Tomasi is putting them together for Super Sons. Will this new DC Rebirth series be a hit right out of the gate? Let’s find out with Super Sons #1.
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A kid named Reggie bosses his family around making them give him food and pillows. He then yells at them all to give him a group hug as it is shown that they are on some kind of sitcom set.
In the present Superboy yells at Robin for getting them into trouble as they dodge various lasers while running through the woods. Robin and Superboy stop and decide to take a stand against their pursuers, an army of robot Robins and Superboys.
Two days earlier Jonathan Kent gets in his school bus. While talking to his friend Kathy a group of kids launch spitballs at another kid, Allen. Jon gets up to stop them only to get spitballs thrown at him as well. The school bus driver tells the kids to stop causing trouble.
Later that day all the kids end their day at Hamilton School. Jon, Kathy, Allen and the bullies from earlier all begin to have a snowball fight. The bullies side begin using snowballs with rocks in them, with one of them causing Allen head to bleed.
Just as Jon gets ready to use his powers to get revenge on the bullies a massive snowball hits them. Jon notices an adult on the roof. Jon tells Alan to go to the nurses office and he goes to check on the mysterious adult.
Jon approaches the guy and Damian quickly takes off the costume to reveal he was the school bus driver and was acting as Jon’s substitute teacher throughout the day. Jon is surprised to hear all this and that Damian actually has the education to have a doctorate. Jon wonders why he never got a doctorate. Damian says because his mom killed his professor, which makes Jon even more nervous.
Damian puts on his bus driver disguise as he reveals he learned to drive at age five. Jon thinks it’s against the rules for Damian to drive but Damian, as the bus driver, tells Jon to get on the bus.
Later that night Damian is practicing in the Batcave when he notices that his dad is getting ready to patrol Gotham City as Batman. Damian quickly begins to suit up but Batman tells him that he has to stay home tonight to finish all of his homework. Damian tries to convince Batman to let him come but Batman does not back down and takes off alone in the Batmobile.
Over in Hamilton County, Jon is telling his parents (Clark Kent and Lois Lane-Kent) about his day, including how he wanted to use his powers against the bullies but didn’t, while playing poker. Lois and Clark are proud of Jon for standing up for his friend, telling their son he showed that he does not need a “S” or bat on his chest to be a hero.
Lois then shows that she has the last winning hand, much to Clark and Jon’s disappointment.
Clark changes into his Superman costume and says goodnight to Lois and Jon before taking off for his own patrol. After Superman takes off Lois tells Jon that it is time for bed.
While Jon is getting ready to fall asleep he hears a voice in his room. Jon gets up and sees that it is Damian in his Robin costume, who makes fun of Jon for going to sleep at 9 p.m. Damian and Jon go back and forth about how they could’ve hurt each other.
Lois hears the noise coming from Jon’s room and goes to check on him. When she opens his bedroom door Jon tells his mom that he was just turning off his computer. Lois reminds him that it is his bedtime and they say goodnight to one another.
Once Lois is gone Damian comes down from the tree he was hiding in. Jon asks Damian what he wants. Damian says he has an in on an investigation in progress at Lexcorp that Jon can join him on. Damian then asks Jon what his name is. Jon says it’s “Jonathan Kent” but Damian says it’s Superboy and to start acting Super.
In Metropolis, Robin and Superboy are leaping across the city since Superboy can’t fly yet, something Robin makes fun of him for. They soon get near Lexcorp and use their abilities and devices to start climbing up the building. As they are doing so the pair are confronted by Lex Luthor in his power suit. End of issue.
The Good: Super Sons #1 does exactly what all first issues should do in building the series around its two stars, Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent. Peter Tomasi makes it clear that these two are come from very different environments. It’s those clashing environments that help make it clear why both kids do need each other as they navigate the early parts of their superhero careers.
Even though Damian has been around as Robin for a while now it’s clear he still has a lot of room for growth. At this point Damian’s relationship with the Batman Family has been firmed up through various Batman comics. Now with Rebirth it is time for Damian to step out of his comfort zone to actually have friends, which is something that Benjamin Percy is exploring over in Teen Titans.
The key difference is that while Teen Titans features Damian stepping into the role of his Robin predecessors he is still the youngest in the group, Super Sons can build a friendship with someone that is his age. This is where Tomasi’s writing of Damian truly shines as we constantly see him dodging telling Superboy that he wants to be friends. At the same time, Tomasi doesn’t hide the fact that Damian does see Jon as a peer as he is the one seeking him out and pushing Jon to be Superboy.
That push from Damian is an interesting way to begin Jon’s career as Superboy. While we have seen Jon go on a few adventures as Superboy, Tomasi has made it clear over in the ongoing series that it is not a full time role for him yet. Jon is still in the training phase of his time as Superboy. That fact allows Damian to be the one to step in to have Jon fully embrace being Superboy, rather than hiding it until his parents tell him that is okay.
The difference in the parenting styles of Bruce Wayne, Lois and Clark Kent helped further the development of Jon and Damian in this issue. What was great about the parenting styles we saw is that Tomasi doesn’t paint Bruce as a horrible father, like he has so many times in the past. Instead Tomasi shows that Bruce does care for Damian in his own way by making sure he does his homework and other things, even if it annoys his son that they can’t go out as Batman and Robin all the time. This enhances the close relationship Jon has with his parents, as Clark does play with his son and Lois keeps an eye on him when Clark is out as Superman.
All of this ground to flesh out Robin and Superboy’s worlds helped to establish the sarcastic relationship they share with one another out of the gate. Tomasi nails the back-and-forth between the two, especially when they are getting on each other’s nerves. Robin posing as Superboy’s bus driver and teacher pushed the fact that they won’t hold back on making jokes at the other’s expense. This will be an important element that will help separate Super Sons from the rest of DC’s comic book offering.
Having Lex Luthor act as the first antagonist that Robin and Superboy go up against is a good way to show us how both characters work together. Especially given Lex’s current role as a hero, the dynamic Robin and Superboy will have with him should be a fun thing to see play out in the next issue. This will at least allow Tomasi to build on the bigger story that he is creating for this first arc involving the selfish kid and forest-like area Robin and Superboy are stuck in together.
Jorge Jimenez does a very good job in Super Sons #1 to capture the youthful energy of Robin and Superboy’s characters. There is animation-esque quality to Jimenez artwork that reminds me of the Teen Titans cartoon, which is the right tone to hit for this series. Jimenez artwork is at its best when drawing Robin and Superboy’s interactions with one another. He captures Robin’s sarcastic attitude and the frustration that brings for Superboy as he is learning more about his new superhero partner.
The Bad: The one place that Super Sons #1 does falter is with the opening featuring an unknown kid that looks to have kidnapped some family for attention. This part of the issue did not stick and would’ve been better left out of this issue. Instead, this issue should’ve just opened with Robin and Superboy being in trouble and then flashing back to how they got there. This would’ve given the issue two extra pages to see more of Robin’s side of the story, like how he ended up investigating Lexcorp.
Overall: Super Sons #1 lays the groundwork for a comic dripping with a fun, youthful energy. Peter Tomasi’s previous experience writing Robin and Superboy in various comic books shows as he has a clear understand who they are and where they come from. The relationship between the two is a true highlight as their difference help create a unique dynamic that is not seen in any other comic book in DC’s stable. If you are a DC Comics fan then Super Sons is a comic book you should not pass up the chance on buying right away.