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. Continue reading

Advertisements

Action Comics 1000: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner, Michael DeLaney, Patrick Ehlers, and Spencer Irwin

Action Comics 1000

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

“From the City that Has Everything”

Drew: Superman changed the world. That’s obvious enough in-universe, but it’s just as true of our world. Action Comics 1 created (or at least codified) the superhero genre, a genre that came to define both the 20th and 21st centuries, and is still growing as Action Comics rings in its 1000th issue. It’s a singular achievement, but celebrating it as such might not be in the spirit of Superman, for whom humbleness is as much a part of his character as heroism. He’s not one to take compliments easily, let alone brag, so any efforts to do so on his behalf run the risk of feeling crass. Most of the stories in this issue opted to ignore lionizing Superman outright, aiming instead to illustrate what it is that makes him so laudable, but in the issue’s opening chapter, Dan Jurgens came up with a way to address the issue with Superman himself, providing a commentary on the whole exercise of a huge anniversary issue, and offering a justification that even Superman can get behind. Continue reading

Things Get Serious in Super Sons 15

by Spencer Irwin

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

Even though they’re child heroes, writer Peter Tomasi has never hesitated to put his young protagonists, Robin and Superboy, into dangerous, even life-threatening situations. Still, even when facing down killer androids, navigating alternate dimensions, or racing to save the life of Jon’s mother, Tomasi has always managed to keep Super Sons’ tone light and playful. That’s not the case in issue 15, an adventure that feels that much more weighty and dangerous for the sudden change in tone. Continue reading

Jon Shines as Damian Spins His Wheels in Super Sons 14

by Spencer Irwin

 

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

The battle between Damian Wayne and his mother, Talia al Ghul, is the centerpiece of Super Sons 14, but it’s a showdown I feel like I’ve seen before. I don’t mean the actual physical fight, which is well choreographed and which artist Carlo Barberi fills with hits that look like they really hurt; it’s their argument, the words and ideas they toss back and forth, which feels lifted from every other Damian/Talia story I’ve ever read. Thankfully, writer Peter Tomasi brings it all to an interesting conclusion; the idea that Damian is upset that, no matter what he does, he’ll never be able to please both of his parents is an affecting one, and is probably familiar to many children of divorce (at least the more contentious ones). It’s a great place to end the issue, even if it doesn’t do much to lift up the rest of the fighting that came before.

Thankfully, Jon Kent’s half of the issue shines where Damian’s doesn’t. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Not Quite a Moral Challenge in Superman 40

By Mark Mitchell

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

While Superman’s abilities to punch hard, fly fast, and jump high are the sizzle to his steak, the real meat (pardon the tortured metaphor) of Clark Kent as a character is his strong moral center. Comic books are lousy with characters possessing superpowers, but only a precious few represent truth and goodness like the man from Krypton. That’s why the Superman stories that really stick with us are the ones that find ways to challenge his moral certitude — and by challenging it, ultimately end up amplifying it even more. At multiple points, James Robinson and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 40 is on the precipice of testing the Man of Steel’s philosophical strength in interesting ways, but never shows any interest in doing so.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

A Bad Dad Provides Clarity in Action Comics 995

by Spencer Irwin

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

The past few issues of Action Comics have featured Superman at his worst. His determination to go back in time to watch Krypton’s destruction (all in hopes of proving that Mr. Oz wasn’t actually Jor-El) has practically made him the bad guy of this story, as his stubborn refusal to heed Booster Gold’s warnings to stop meddling in time have endangered all of history. Even at his best moments in this story, though, he’s come across as a bit shortsighted and condescending. It takes a revelation about Booster’s father to help Superman gain some much-needed clarity. Continue reading

Feeling the Crossover Blues in Superman 38

by Mark Mitchell

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

I consider a Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason credit on a comic book to be a mark of quality, almost a guarantee that the book I’m picking up will deliver a good time. Such a strong track record makes an issue like Superman 38, an issue that pretty much misses every mark across the board, a bit mystifying. How to account for such a discrepancy?
Continue reading

Time Travel Trouble in Action Comics 994

by Michael DeLaney

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

With Action Comics 993 I wondered: how many times has Superman traveled back in time to Krypton? Action Comics 994 has me wondering the follow-up questions: how many times has Superman had to watch his birth parents and their home die? Continue reading