Written by, Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by, Carlo Barberi
Inks by, Art Thibert
Colors by, Protobunker
Letters by, Rob Leigh
The issue begins with the phrase: “Legends grow from a seed of truth”. This phrase frames the entire story, which begins by providing the origin of the villains who appeared at the end of the first issue of this 12-part maxi-series. Aliens from another planet receive transmissions from Earth in the form of cryptic news feeds and social media posts, which they use to form their opinions of earth’s heroes. They utilize these images to frame their belief that they could be just as powerful as Earth’s superheroes, if not more powerful. Fast forward to the present, Lex Jr. and his alien-gang of superhero wannabe’s have captured Damian and Jonathan and take them to the Fortress of Solitude. Lex Jr’s has a plan to use the “Hypercube”, stored at the Fortress of Solitude, to power his plan to create puppets of the galaxies’ most ominous super-powered beings. However, Damian and Jonathan have a surprising ally who provide them with much-needed assistance leveling the playing field in this battle of jr. super-heroes.
The first half of the story moves slowly because it was not interesting, and a paint by numbers representation of the perils of social media and its negative impact on the youth. If it weren’t for the second half of the book being so engaging, I would have rated this book much lower. In fairness to the author, it might be the kind of story that grows on readers once the alien characters have been flushed out in future stories. The motivations of the lead villain, Lex JR., are generic and the character lacks personality. For example, he wants to be like the great villains of earth, and he plans to befriend them so that they might join him to help destroy the earth.
I found the second half of the book extremely fun and engaging because of the way Tomasi utilizes Damian and Jonathan as a tandem. They are such a stark contrast: Damian’s competency and Jonathan’s pure motives. The penciler, Carlo Barberi, does a nice job providing incredibly detailed pictures of Jonathan, and the colorist excels at making the art jump off the page. In a book like this one, which is aimed at children, the competency of the artwork really makes a difference.
Overall = 8
The book ends on a cliffhanger, which is caused, in part, by Damian’s attempts to fix their situation. Tomasi plays off some long-standing Superman lore in the final dilemma, and the outcome of the secret ally is still uncertain. What makes this book so good is the way Tomasi set up intrigue and expectation for the future of this story. I recommend this book to adults and children and for fans of the Super-Sons due to the art and the cliffhanger at the end of the issue.
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