[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Carlo Barberi, Art Thibert
Letters: Rob Leigh
Kids today, amiright? What with their vaping, texting, emoji-ing and whatnot—never mind what happens when teen villains the Gang get their hands on Gold Kryptonite! That’s exactly what the young bad guys plan to do to impress the Earth’s biggest villains! Super Sons Robin and Superboy stand face to face with Rex Luthor, Joker Jr. and other psychos pulled right from your nightmares. The Gang has already robbed Superboy of his powers, and now they’re ready to reveal their grand plan!
We learn the backstory of the Gang in this issue, and it turns out that they aren’t the children or protégés of DC’s foremost villains suddenly retconned into the continuity, but rather they are alien children that have adopted identities that are based on those villains.
I find it interesting that some of the Gang have some surprising differences from their older counterparts. Brainiac 6 seems to be a bit slow on the uptake, and Joker Jr. turns out to still be sane, despite Rex Luthor’s attempts to drive him mad like the original Joker. In fact, Joker Jr. turns on his teammates in an attempt to save Robin and Superboy.
Rex’s artificial Kryptonite has robbed Jon of his powers but even without them, we discover he is far from powerless. The belt that his father gave him for his costume has an automatic hard light force field that to protect Jon from harm. On top of that, Jon demonstrates that he has “learned some pointers of my own after being trained by the next best thing to Batman!”
And I just love the cliffhanger that Tomasi leaves us with. Robin manages to change Rex’s artificial Gold Kryptonite into Red K, asking of Jon, “any idea what that does?” Behind Damian’s back we see exactly what it has done, it has split Jon into Superboy Red and Superboy Blue – something that has occurred to his father a few times through DC’s history.
Once again this issue is flawless fun. The only think I can think of that would make this series better would be for DC to make it ongoing instead of a mini. Also, I had been somewhat disappointed that this series is set in the recent past instead of the present day DCU due to events in Bendis’ Superman books. However, I had the opportunity to speak to Peter Tomasi recently, and he told me that this series can be read the same as if they were in the present, as these stories are exactly as he would have written them if the original Super Sons series had not been cancelled. This is a great way to look at it, but I still would be happier if it were an ongoing.
Reading Super Sons each month is a true pleasure. This title has a playfulness that reminds me of Peter David’s Young Justice (I miss that title). How can you not love a book that makes Superman Red, Superman Blue into a family tradition? I can’t wait to see how this plays out in next month’s issue.