Justice League 7/Adventures of the Super Sons 2: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Michael DeLaney

Adventures of the Super Sons 2:Justice League 7

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

Spencer: No two people experience the same piece of media the same way. That’s actually the entire foundation of what we do here at Retcon Punch — we exist to examine the different ways our various writers interpret weekly comic books.  Two books released by DC this week dive into this theme as well — Adventures of the Super Sons 2 explores how the same stories led two members of the Gang down very different life paths, while Justice League 7 finds three very different people reacting to some harsh truths about the universe in very different ways. Both drive home the same point: our natures and preconceived notions often have as much to do with how we interpret media as the actual media itself does, for better or for worse, no matter what the creators’ original intent may be. Continue reading

Superman 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Patrick Ehlers

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

Spencer: One of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen thrown around about Superman as a character is that he’s “too powerful,” that nothing can challenge a man who can quite literally juggle planets. There’s a bit of truth to this, to be sure, but it’s a narrow criticism, one that only takes into consideration physical challenges; the most interesting Superman stories are the ones that challenge him morally, ethically, or in ways that make his physical abilities useless. Superman 1 is such a story, an issue that finds the character at his most physically competent, yet feeling more lost and helpless than ever before.  Continue reading

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

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

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

The Power of Faith and Trust in Superman 36

by Spencer Irwin

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

Fans and creators alike often complain that it’s hard to find a proper challenge for Superman when the character is so unfathomably powerful. But as far as I’m concerned, the best Superman stories aren’t the ones that challenge him physically, but the ones that test his morals and ideals, his methods and resolve. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on Superman has excelled in this respect, and issue 36 continues this streak, further defining Superman’s greatest strengths by showing what happens when he doesn’t live up to his own lofty standards. Continue reading

Low-Stakes Silliness at its Finest in Super Sons Annual 1

by Mark Mitchell

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

A lot of times when I read comic books on assignment for this site, I dive right into the digital issues without first checking out the solicitation or even paying much attention to the covers. Going in blind sometimes leads to delightful surprises, like with Peter J. Tomasi and Paul Pelletier’s Super Sons Annual 1, where I was totally unprepared for the issue’s joyous left-turn into a Super-Pets-led rescue mission. Continue reading