Learning New “Normals” in Super Sons 13

by Spencer Irwin

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

Growing up, we tend to think of our families as “normal.” Even if we think our family and their routines are weird or embarrassing, a lack of reference and experience often leave us assuming that this is just what every family is like — it isn’t until we get older and start spending time with friends and meeting new people that we realize how varied the human experience actually is. As always, Super Sons continues to use its two leads’ wildly different life experiences as learning aids for both, expanding their understanding of what “normal” is.

Interestingly enough, the younger and more naive Jon Kent seems to have a better viewpoint, at least at first. At his and Damian’s new school he clearly gets a kick out of playing normal, out of his “average kid” shtick, obviously influenced by his beloved father’s own secret identity. Even though, he understands that “normal” is just an act, at least intellectually.

Jon views the idea of being normal or average as something that helps him hide in plain sight, not as something that sets him apart from or above of others. That’s the lesson he tries to teach Damian, one the young Robin clearly needs to learn as he enters a new phase of his life, spending more time around “normal” people than he ever has before. School is an entirely new experience for Damian — thankfully he has Jon to help him navigate it, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t make an effort to at least understand the people around him.

But for all his speeches, Jon isn’t quite as over the idea of normalcy as he thinks he is. Sure, he knows that everybody is different and special, but like most young kids, his family is still his primary reference for understanding the world. Meeting Damian’s mother and learning more about how Talia al Ghul raised her son leaves him stunned.

Whether normalcy is real or not, Damian Wayne’s life is about as far away from it as one can possibly get. Again, Peter Tomasi and Carlo Barberi use the fact that their leads are complete opposites to their advantage, expanding both characters’ worlds. Jon needs to learn that it isn’t just other dimensions, worlds and timelines that are wild and crazy, but that even the average human can have a life far different from his own, and Damian needs to learn to appreciate those whose lives haven’t been as unique as his own. Both kids are fortunate that they’ve got great teachers in each other.

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