Review: Super Sons Annual #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artists: Paul Pelletier, Cam Smith

 

Summary

“SUPER-PETS UNLEASHED”! The World’s Furriest team Krypto and Titus—together at last! Tired of the boys stealing the spotlight, the doggy duo lead the Super Sons on a canine-powered epic!

 

Positives

The Rebirth line has enjoyed phenomenal success, and much of that success has come from reintroducing beloved elements from previous eras of DC history into the modern DCU. And even though some consider it one of DC’s sillier concepts, this issue brings us the surprising return of The Legion of Super-Pets.

And just as Rebirth looks forward while honouring the past, there is much new in this iteration of the Super-Pets. As some characters don’t exist in the post-Flashpoint DCU, they have been replaced by similar characters that do: Detective Chimp fills in for Beppo the Super-Monkey, as does Bat-Cow for Comet the Super-Horse.

Especially interesting is the reference to Clay Critter, who is obviously a stand-in for the Legion of Super-Heroes mascot Proty. Is Clay Critter somehow connected to former Batman foe Clayface? Unfortunately, we don’t learn much about Clay Critter in this issue.

Then there is the wholly new Plastic Bird, obviously based on Plastic Man, which is an odd inclusion as the original Super-Pets didn’t have a bird character. We haven’t seen much of Plastic Man since before the Flashpoint (although his return is imminent), so we don’t know the story behind this strange bird.

And then there is Streaky, the Super-Cat, who appears to be completely unchanged from her Silver Age incarnation – despite the fact that she hasn’t been shown in previously as existing in the New 52/Rebirth era.

Also, there is a delightful amount of humour in the issue, which seems to be standard for Super-Sons. A book that features children as the central characters should contain a higher level of playfulness and fun than your standard superhero comic.

 

Negatives

There isn’t much that can be seen as bad about this story apart from a small few nits. First off, I can understand having Bat-hound in this version of the Super-Pets, so that the two canines of the Super-Pets reflect the Super-Sons that star in this title, but Titus isn’t Bat-Hound. That name belongs to Batman’s dog Ace, who was established to exist in the Rebirth era in last year’s Batman Annual. But perhaps Ace is now too old for the role, and Titus is DC’s first animal legacy hero.

Also, how does this whole story fit in the DCU continuity? The bookend chapters with Superboy and Robin establish this as being in the Rebirth continuity, and by inference in canon. And Detective Chimp tells us that this group of animals has existed before this. Krypto and Titus are rebanding the group, not founding it. So, how come we haven’t heard of them before? Is it possible that this is our first peek at what DC’s continuity will look like after the Rebirth and Doomsday Clock storylines are resolved.

Finally, the romantic triangle between Krypto, Streaky, and Titus is beautifully depicted – and entirely non-verbally, as none of the three can actually speak. But a cross-species romance seems a bit too strange and probably impossible from a biological standpoint. Although, it could put seen as a metaphor for society’s enlightenment towards human relationships that were once considered unnatural.

 

Verdict

This story was a delightful romp that hearkened back to one of the sillier points in DC history, but did so in a way that doesn’t jar with today’s more sophisticated style. Like so much of Rebirth, it brought back some of the magic of DC’s past along but introduced some intriguing new concepts as well.

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.