I’ve been skeptical of most of the Hanna-Barbera/DC Comics crossovers stories in part because some of these characters are quite obscure. Who on earth is Dynomutt, let alone who the Blue Falcon is in an already wacky universe? I found out today when reading this Super Sons crossover and I was pleasantly surprised.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
When the town of Amnesty Island is besieged by a series of shark attacks, authorities call Aquaman for help! What’s unusual about this case is that the shark isn’t trying to kill people–he just wants to talk to them. The very confused Jabberjaw needs to get back to Aqualand, the future undersea utopia where he came from. But that peaceful city where man and sentient sea life have been living in harmony has been turned into a dystopian nightmare created by a new Ocean Master. Now the King of Atlantis and his friendly shark ally have to team up to set things right. Also includes a Captain Caveman meets the wizard Shazam in a short story by Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins.
Why does this matter?
Peter J. Tomasi teams up with Fernando Pasarin to deliver one of the better looking Hanna-Barbera crossovers yet. It’s a slick and clean style that’s detailed and pleasing to the eye. They use every inch of the issue for their story — no backups like most of these one-shots, and they utilize every minute of it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tomasi writes a great script here, bookending it with funerals and the believable take on kids who don’t understand funerals at all. It opens with Jon Kent attending a funeral with his dad Clark Kent and his mom Lois Lane. In these scenes we witness Jon scared, confused, and annoyed by the proceedings. I’ve felt the same thoughts when I first attended funerals and it’s deeply relatable. This, of course, spins out into a superhero adventure, but the book comes back to a funeral scene and it comes with a some lessons learned. Tomasi wraps it up with a nice message about friendship and losing those you love in a way that Jon and Damian have learned from.
The middle portion of the story is all about Jon and Robin attempting to stop a very scary cybernetic villain from destroying the greatest friendship ever (between man and dog). Tomasi does a great job filling us in on Blue Falcon (who has a Bruce Wayne sort of origin only he’s more of a scientist) and his foe. As the story progresses Robin and Jon must fight against incredible power in order to help man’s best friend save the only thing he loves. It’s touching and meaningful.
Pasarin has shown he has incredible chops on Green Lanterns and proves he can tackle anything here. Gabe Eltaeb assists on colors and does a great job with the flesh tones, an important element given the kids are dealing with some inhuman robot-people. Pasarin adds to the realism of the story with a great use of shadow, details in hair, and an attention to detail in the technology that makes it futuristic and believable.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only element that seemed rather fishy was how Superman never knew his son ran off with Robin. The kid almost died, Clark! It’s a Hanna-Barbera crossover book though so you have to cut it some slack as the convenience of super-dads not knowing where their kids are suits the narrative.
Is it good?
An excellent one-shot that, if you let it, will surprise you. The art is sharp and the story compelling, especially with its man’s best friend story. It’ll hit you in the feels.