Adventures of the Super-Sons #5

Written by, Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by, Carlo Barberi
Inks by, Matt Santorelli
Colors by, Protobunker
Letters by, Rob Leigh

Previously, The Super-Sons were captured by a group of alien kids, led by Rex Luthor, who has an obsession with earth’s greatest villains. Now, Jon and Damian must fight their way back to earth or risk being lost in space forever. This issue begins, they are trapped in a magic house on The Planet of Mystery and Secrets. Meanwhile, Rex and his allies capture Joker Jr. who left with the cab to find help. Back on The Planet of Mysteries and Secrets, Damian and Jon meet older versions of themselves but quickly realize that they cannot trust what they see or hear but can only trust what they know to be a reality. This leads to them quickly realizing that they are captive by a pair named Kainn and Labell. While the magic house plays tricks on its owner which leads to the Super-Sons’ escape, they must now find a way to get home without a ship.

The highlight of this story is the messaging. For example, during their interactions together, the older versions of the Super-Sons reflect on the lessons they learned from meeting the younger versions of themselves – Jon and Damian: Never look back, always be present. And, being with their younger selves made their older versions of themselves feel young again. The younger versions of the Super-Sons walked away with a different message. Damian sums up the experience by saying “forget everything you saw” – or think you learned. The messaging provides a kind of mirror for those older comic book fans to see themselves: staying focused on the past can play tricks on your mind, and looking at the young through biased lenses creates false memories.

The story avoids getting bogged down in a generic premise.  Rex Luthor, the leader of the kid-alien group, desires to conquer all of known reality. They do this by introducing meta-narratives that are more interesting than the ego-based drive Rex has to become like the villains of earth, who he idolizes. The meta-narratives are introduced through the Super-Sons visiting the magic house on The Planet of Mystery and Secrets. One message they received from the older Superman is that “Reality is just what a person believes.” It is false to believe that we can create a reality based on our perception of someone else’s life experience. Children and adults pursue this type of thinking all the time, get the next best greatest, and yet are upset when their lives do not turn out the way we see them portrayed in other people’s lives. Ultimately, this is what I believe that this story is about – and it has depth and it’s interesting.

Overall = 9/10

Final Impressions

The Super-Sons has taken a while to take off and capture my interest the way the previous stories did. However, Tomasi has engaged the readers with a story that is relevant for our generation: Pay attention to the message and the messaging. Historically, magic has proved to a be a formidable opponent for Superman and proved to be a tough opponent for Super-Boy in this issue. Thankfully, Jon has Damian who is grounded and focused on the evidence to keep them on track. I highly recommend this story to young and old readers alike.     

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Tom Zimm
I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist that works with children. I've been interested in comic book heroes since I was a young child. However, it's been in the last 3-4 years that I've been making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list. DC's Rebirth really won me over, especially Geoff Johns' 80-page book. My favorite properties include The Flash and The Incredible Hulk. My criteria for a good comic book include taking stupid and fun seriously while remaining self-aware.