REVIEW: Adventures of The Super Sons #1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Carlo Barberi, Art Thibert, & Rob Leigh

By Zack Quaintance — You tell yourself that you’ve transcended simple comics fandom (also known as fanboyhood). You tell yourself things like I don’t prefer Marvel or DC, or my allegiance is to creators not characters, or whether something is relevant to continuity doesn’t matter so long as a story is strong. You tell yourself these things, sure, but then a book like Adventures of The Super Sons #1 comes along and calls you on your bullsh*t (sorry).

While the jury is out on most of that, superhero comics being relevant to continuity is (apparently) important to me. I loved The Super Sons first run, which tied in nicely to writer Peter J. Tomasi’s main Superman title. It spanned 16 madcap issues, and it had an adorable Batman/Superman-as-kids dynamic that yielded funny moments like I couldn’t believe. This new book, however, has essentially been set back and away from current continuity, and as a result the whole thing feels a tiny bit off, no matter how hard I fought to ignore it.

This is perhaps most evident in odd fixes made to separate this story from Brian Michael Bendis fledgling run on the main Superman comics: a caption reading in the not-too-distant past, a vague missive about how the boys’ parents have gone away for several weeks, etc. I know these things shouldn’t matter, and perhaps for most readers they won’t.

And to be fair, everything I liked about Super Sons has carried over. The banter is still really funny—Hey look, it’s Superboy and that kid I think used to work for Batman!—the dynamic between Jon and Damian remains strong—I think you’re secretly the greatest villain on Earth—and while Carlo Barberi’s art is a step down from Jorge Jimenez (anyone would be) his style is definitely fits here.

As a result, I think this book will land for many readers, especially those who didn’t grow up obsessing over what counted most within superhero continuity. I know it’s silly of me, but I’ve been trained in an odd form of literacy during my years of fandom, taught by things like Pizza Hut promotional comics to look for little differences used to drain stories of relevance. If I were buying a comic to read with my kids, I’d still have this one at the top of my list. I just had a nonsensical (and cracking) voice in my brain from adolescence, reminding me that this was just a tad bit inconsequential, taking me out of the story even though I knew I was being ridiculous.

Overall: This is still a fun comic with the same wonderful jokes and dynamic from the series’ previous iteration, and it’s a great book for young readers, to be sure. Veteran superhero fans, however, may notice small changes publishers use to make stories less relevant, potentially taking them out of the story. 7.0/10

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Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.