Have you ever not bothered asking for something for Christmas because you thought there was no chance of getting it? With Jon Kent now a late teenager and off in the 31st century in the Legion of Super-Heroes series, and Damian Wayne more of a loose cannon than ever over in Teen Titans, I thought a Super Sons series gone for good.
But a couple of weeks ago DC announced a Digital First run for the sons of Superman and Batman, written by co-creator Peter Tomasi.
And it’s like the Superboy and Robin team have never been away. Challenge is set just days after the events of their last print series, Adventures of the Super Sons, and like that top tale, this 14-chapter story kicks off with a framing sequence. We’re once again in the ‘far future’ with senior citizens Damian and Jon bickering like the Super Odd Couple they are. Their grandkids, meanwhile, want some bedtime reading.
The Super Sons book, Doom Scroll, opens with the boys at school on a typical day.
Later, they prepare to patrol Metropolis.
And so begins what promises to be a huge treat – the Dysfunctional Duo haven’t lost any of their magic, with Tomasi’s witty, warm script well served by the energetic art of Max Raynor and colourist Luis Guerrero. Raynor, who has just finished an arc on the Batman/Superman series, captures the exuberance and humour of Damian and Jon’s world, while Guerrero ensures they pop against the Metropolis streets. The talents of letterer Rob Leigh are also on display. Kudos to editors Paul Kaminski and Dave Wielgosz for putting an excellent creative team together.
I’m guessing Raynor has noticed that DC Digital First books don’t get unique covers – a moment from inside is always adapted, usually to uninspiring effect. So Raynor provides a page that’s oven ready so far as cover use goes… but it’s not needed, as original series artist Jorge Jimenez drops by with his take. Oh well, so we get two great splashes.
By this first instalment’s end a mysterious figure has set out the call to adventure, but it’s not like an actual threat is needed to make the Super Sons great comic book reading – the boys are fantastic company whether on or off the battlefield.
With a name like Challenge of the Super Sons, though, echoing the classic Challenge of the Super Friends cartoon, I expect this is a story that’s going to build and build. And with that packed bookshelf in the framing sequence, if readers buy this 79p/99c series in droves, those future kids might get more fine bedtime reading. Maybe we’ll even see the older Jon and Damian in Adventures of the Super Seniors. I’d buy that for (just under) a dollar.