Super Sons: A family comics adventure
As a kid, comics were the love of my life. When I had my own kids, I knew I wanted to introduce comics into their lives as well. Nothing encapsulates the family bond better than Super Sons, a monthly book penned by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Jorge Jimenez.
Super Sons at its heart is the tale of Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent, the Super Sons of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent respectively, in their hilarious yet deadly jaunts. Tomasi does an excellent job balancing the fact that these are children going off to fight crime in a charming and entertaining way.
It’s not all standard cape and cowl fare though. Super Sons is a tale of differing family dynamics, the boys’ personalities, and their adventure through childhood with a superhuman twist.
We see through the pages the relationships of the Super Sons and their super families, the loving yet distant Dark Knight and his Boy Wonder, mirrored by the warm embrace of the Family of Steel. The balancing act both families engage in is in full display, as the sons test the water of childhood against their fathers. For anyone with young children, this part should hit close to home.
The first time I picked up the book, I was amazed as I saw the traits of Damian and Jonathan in my own kids. The seriously stubborn, headstrong Robin and the playfully sweet and often naïve Superboy are at least one of my two sons at some point almost every day.
Super Sons’ villains and foils are perfectly tailored to the mini crime fighters too. Lex Luthor in the full regalia of his super suit reads like a hilariously displeased headmaster as the boys break into Lexcorp at one point.
The book is not without larger consequence either, as the first true villain Kid Amazo seemingly kills his family and replaces them with robots, eventually aspiring to make robotic copies of all the members of the Justice League. As Amazo’s plans shape up, he eventually makes copies of Supes and Batman and sends them careening towards their opposite offspring.
Classical schoolyard bullies make an appearance too, as a snowball fight breaks out and the not so nice kids at the school place rocks in the snow. After one of the children gets injured, Jonathan looks up to see an oddly disguised Damian on the roof of the school as he hurls what looks to be the world’s largest snowball at the bullies. It really is a lighthearted overreaction I think many parents could see their children doing (if their children were as insanely trained as the son of Batman).
Eventually tensions flare between the pair of kid-size crime fighters and Robin and Superboy begin to come to blows over how serious (or not) the other takes crime fighting in a battle that can truly be described as the real world equivalent of a slap fight between brothers. The art of Jorge Jimenez really gives a sense of just how small the squabble between the pair is in the massive Batcave.
Another wonderful aspect Super Sons explores is the dynamic of the age difference between the pair. Throughout the book a sore spot between the duo is the Teen Titans, a group off limits to Jon as he is not yet a teenager. The second arc begins with a Teen Titans tie-in as Robin, acting as both leader of Super-Sons and the Teen Titans, abandons Jonathan for his cooler, older team.
Jon eventually makes his way home in disappointment and finds both his parents being called away for work. The next few panels show Damian trying to solve his latest Teen Titans mission as Jonathan binges on junk food and eventually falls soundly asleep in front of the television and I’m reminded of my own little one watching as his older brother went to school first, made friends, and got to do more as a result of his advanced age.
Super Sons is a swashbuckling adventure story that manages to balance real life family and friend dynamics, the ups and downs of childhood, and an action packed hero story. Every new issue I’m reminded of my own kids personalities, my own childhood, and what I want live up to as a father. This is what comic books should aspire to be.
Image credits: DC