When I cracked open Super Sons #2, I was hoping to get more of what I got from Super Sons #1: great characterization, a hint at some deeper themes, and some lively artwork. This second issue moves the ball forward story arc-wise, but lacks some of the charm that roped me in in the first issue.
Super Sons #2 (DC Comics)
This issues opens with a continuation of the first’s prologue, ending with the gruesome reveal of Kid Amazo, apparently the bad guy for this first story arc. The main storyline then picks up right where it left off, with Damian and Jon caught breaking into Lexcorp by none other than Lex himself. After some trickery and a hairy escape from Lex’s lab, Damian and Jon try track down a kid name Reggie, a survivor of the Amazon Virus and Kid Amazo from the prologue. Of course, their investigation doesn’t quite go as planned.
Overall, this issue feels like a transitionary installment. Aside from dealing with Luthor, not a whole lot happens. While the connection of the main story back to the prologue is nice (a third disconnected prologue would have been too much), I feel like it doesn’t really have any emotion or shock factor because us readers already saw the reveal. Having the heroes play catch-up to can work, but I think the payoff needs to be worth it. Here, because Jon and Damian still haven’t met Kid Amazo, it just feels like Tomasi is decompressing the story.
The other element that I didn’t love about this issue is the dynamic between Damian and Jon. It seems like Peter Tomasi has a great grasp on Damian (makes sense, as he wrote him in Batman and Robin), and his need to impress Bruce is compelling, but Jon is left without much to do other than be a reluctant and timid partner. I’m not sure that really jives with his portrayal in the last issue, where he seemed more confident, albeit wary of his powers. I hope the dynamic balances in the future because I think Jon has some good potential.
One point of confusion worth mentioning was how Lex Luthor didn’t know who Superboy and Robin were. I haven’t been keeping up with everything DC, so I don’t know if Luthor’s status quo has changed, but it seems odd that he is unaware of both Damian and Jon. I mean, Superman is his arch nemesis, I’d figure he’d be keeping tabs on the guy and his family…
Jorge Jimenez continues to submit some really dynamic artwork that carries Tomasi’s script. From the full page of the boys with Luthor behind them, all through the distraction/break-in sequence, Jimenez makes everything feel very alive. Luthor’s dive to catch a falling Superboy really captured Lex’s frustration, and Jon’s surprise. The bent over catch Luthor makes just feet above the pavement is delightfully awkward. And Alejandro Sanchez’s colors beautifully renders the Metropolis night during this sequence, with orange, red, and yellow hues breaking up the dark purples, blues and greens. The back half of the issue is more dialogue heavy, which Jimenez does well, but doesn’t have the same opportunity for excitement art.
While not bad by any means, this issue’s attempt to move the plot forward comes at the expense of telling a fulfilling story. More disappointing is that the forward momentum comes to a screeching halt on the last page, seemingly in an effort to draw the story out. After a bumpy second outing, I really hope Tomasi is able to even things out next issue and get back to the great storytelling from issue one.