Trust Saves the Day in Super Sons 16

by Spencer Irwin

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

This month’s issue 16 marks the end of Super Sons (for now — a continuation is already solicited), so it only makes sense that writer Peter Tomasi, along with artists Carlo Barberi and Brent Peeples, would want to close on a milestone victory for Superboy and Robin. More important than the actual victory, though, is how they achieve it — partially by channeling their parents, but mostly by trusting in each other.

Tomasi, Barberi, and Peeples make the whole “channeling their parents” thing rather explicit.

Putting the Super Sons in their iconic fathers’ shoes shows how far they’ve grown as heroes, as does them saving the entire Justice League; they definitely leveled-up this month. While the gear they need to stop Kid Amazo comes from their fathers, though, it’s Jon and Damian who follow through with the execution, and they’re able to do so because they finally, truly trust each other as partners.

Jon and Damian still bicker (hilariously) of course, and each still marvels in the other’s drastically different worldview, but they also trust each other and rely on each other in a way they never did before. Tomasi plays it for laughs in the scene above, but Damian is so confident that Jon will protect him that he doesn’t even attempt to dodge Kid Amazo’s blast — and Jon doesn’t let him down. Damian is likewise fully confident that Jon can pull off the physical portion of his plan, and Jon trusts Damian enough that he doesn’t even question the plan. Their partnership has grown in remarkable ways, without losing the back-and-forth that has made this book so much fun. That’s impressive.

This issue’s framing device — an elderly man reading “The Adventures of the Super Sons” to his grandchildren — is setting up for the upcoming relaunch, a 12-issue maxi-series that picks up where Super Sons left off, but is set in the “recent past.” That wording’s got me worried about the fate of these characters, particularly Jon as the Superman line undergoes a total overhaul — why can’t their story continue in the present day? Super Sons 16 makes a strong argument for why these characters and their partnership need to endure: they make each other better, they make their parents proud, and they’re the bright future of the DC Universe. Let’s hope DC is paying attention.

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