A Friendship-Strengthening Crossover Concludes in Super Sons 12

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I’ve been reading Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s collaborations for the better part of a decade now, and there’s one thing I’ve learned — even when I’m not fully taken by one of their plots, the emotions behind their stories always ring true. That’s what makes Super Sons 12 by far the best chapter of the “Super Sons of Tomorrow” storyline: it’s far more concerned with the emotions of all the characters involved than it is the time-traveling, hypertime-shattering plot.

Of course, Tomasi, Gleason, and artist Tyler Kirkham still open the issue on a grand, time- and space-shattering spread featuring snippets of some of DC’s most popular stories. Even if I don’t fully understand what’s happening to Tim here (did he die? Is he being thrown into another time again? Or scattered throughout all of hypertime?), it’s exciting to see these kind of references pop up. The creative team no doubt anticipated that reaction, using Kid Flash to mirror the readers’ enthusiasm, and Raven’s reaction to shift readers’ attention to the real thrust of the issue.

For Wally, the appearance of the Titans of Tomorrow was an exciting moment, but for Raven it involved seeing a friend (or a friend’s doppelgänger) die. There’s more to this story than big crazy moments, and the creative team use Super Sons 12 to dive into the emotional fallout of Tim’s appearance, whether it be the fracturing of (and the muted attempts to repair) the Teen Titans, the fear Batman and Superman feel for their sons, or the effect the adventure has had on Jon and Damian’s friendship.

Given that this is an issue of Super Sons, that last thread feels most important, and with a year’s worth of issues under his belt, this feels like the perfect opportunity for Tomasi to reassess Jon and Damian’s friendship and show all the growth they’ve managed.

Even if Damian can’t openly refer to Jon as a “friend” yet, his accepting Jon’s offer of friendship plainly and without complaint is certainly growth for him. Looking back at this storyline, its easy to see how they’ve reached this point: Jon and Damian had each other’s backs when no one else did, with the two even defending each other to Superman of all people when he wanted to break up their partnership. They’re banking the entire future on their friendship being strong enough to change the dark fate Tim foresaw, which certainly betrays some childlike naïveté, but also a fierce bond that can only be built through a year’s worth of life-and-death adventures. I may not have loved every beat of this crossover, but I appreciate the level of camaraderie it’s helped Jon and Damian reach, and I can’t wait to see how their friendship continues to evolve.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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