Having read plenty of DC’s Rebirth titles, it did seem like a light was shining on the publisher following The New 52, which many readers considered a disappointment. Although my Bat-fandom is still going strong from the likes of Tom King and James Tynion IV, the first volume of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman run did not shine so brightly for the Man of Steel. However, following the boring slugfest with the Eradicator, Tomasi and Gleason step up their game and deliver the Superman and Son story I wanted to read.
Superman, Volume 2: Trial of the Super Sons (DC Comics)
What we get from this second volume, is four individual short stories, all of which focus on the dynamic of Clark’s family. To start off, #7 begins with Superman saving the day and even helping out his Super Friends and for the rest of the issue Clark spends a night-out with his wife and son at the Hamilton County Fair. What’s so pleasant about this little tale, drawn by Jorge Jimenez, is the lack of conflict, even if it’s lurking in the background. The main beats are really about a community having a fun time and making new friends, as well as what our leading unconventional family does when they aren’t facing any danger. Supes may not be punching anyone here, but riding a rollercoaster with Lois and Jon ranks as one of the best and funniest Superman moments of recent years.
Next up is the two-part arc is “Escape from Dinosaur Island”, in which Jon’s science project for school transports him, his dad and their pet super-dog Krypto from the Fortress of Solitude to a dinosaur-filled adventure. Evoking the Superman comics from the Silver Age, the story arc shines through the simplicity of Superman placed him into outlandish territory and even in the midst of dino-bashing, it is anchored by the touching father-son relationship. Being no stranger to Superman, artist Doug Mahnke is terrific at capturing character expressions, particularly here with Krypto. Finally, as the metaphorical cherry on top, it pays tribute to the late, great Darwyn Cooke, whose miniseries DC: The New Frontier is a clear influence towards this story. We sure do miss that man.
Although Volume 1’s front cover of a menacing Superman flying in with his eyes glowing red did not leave a good first impression, there was an element of hope from the front cover of Superman and Batman along with their respected juniors menacingly staring at each other. The eponymous “Trial of the Super Sons” really brought out the comedy, which is Jon Kent and Damian Wayne learning to work together, even if they’re hilariously duking it out, much to the displeasure of their fathers. Despite the odd appearances from characters I have never heard of, such as the new Nobody Maya Ducard and a giant dragon bat known as Goliath, Patrick Gleason’s art along with John Kalisz’s colouring makes the action bright and vibrant. This makes me excited to read Peter Tomasi’s upcoming Super Sons book.
However, this greatness doesn’t cover the entirety of this volume, which brings us onto Frankenstein. No doubt an obscure DC character, especially in a Superman comic, Frankenstein is initially the antagonist of an intergalactic kidnapping in which Lois Lane tries to intervene. Although it shows Lois is a capable bad-ass character that doesn’t need the assistance of a superhero, let alone with her husband, the central conflict resolves around a supporting player we don’t have much interest and doesn’t really add anything new about the relationship between Lois and Clark.