ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 by Peter J. Tomasi and Carlo Barberi
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Despite some convoluted story elements and a lack of continuity with other Rebirth stories, ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 is a nearly perfect young readers story. With a ton of energy and a pair of fantastically written and drawn young superheroes, this is a team to keep an out for.
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DC Entertainment has been on a SUPERMAN hot streak since the start of Rebirth and now with ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1. The Man of Steel has seen a huge rush of renewed interest, but it is his son that is largely responsible for this image. Superboy’s adventures with his father have resulted in some of the best stories in DC proper. More importantly, when Jon Kent teamed up with Damian Wayne, their team-ups provided some of the best young readers stories in the company.

Now the pair has reunited in ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1, but does the issue have the same quality? Summer vacation has finally begun, and Jon and Damian have only one thing on their minds. No school means more superheroing. And their summer is already jam-packed.

Not only do they have to deal with the Puppeteer hijacking a Superman statue in Metropolis. They have to worry about a new intergalactic threat, unlike anything they’ve seen before. Actually, they have seen it before, only taller. Can Robin and Superboy face off against kid versions of their parents’ greatest villains?

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The Start of an Adventure

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1
ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 is the perfect young reader’s book. Writer Peter J. Tomasi has filled this issue to the brim with action, energy, and good-natured comedy. This book perfectly captures that excitement I felt when I first picked up a comic book. It tells a story that’s immediately interesting, albeit a bit convoluted. Even with the amount of fun in this book, Tomasi has a long way to go to sell these kid supervillains to me. However, this book is still incredibly fun and endearing.

One of Tomasi’s best decisions in ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 comes from the setting. Putting this story at the start of Summer Vacation feels like a stroke of genius. Robin and Superboy see superheroing the same way a normal kid sees recess or seeing their friends. It’s a massive thrill unlike anything else for them. As such, their joy at the unhindered freedom of summertime feels completely relatable. In fact, it’s contagious. This book made me yearn for the fun of summer vacation more than any story before it.

I do have one issue with ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1. It feels largely out of continuity. This story is set between SUPER SONS #16 and the MAN OF STEEL miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis. That means that it acts as a connecting thread between two major parts of Superboy’s life. The battle for Superboy’s life in “Super Sons of Tomorrow” gets barely mentioned in this issue, and it feels largely disconnected from any real events leading up to MAN OF STEEL. I understand not wanting to bog down the first issue with context clues. However, I still think longtime readers would have wanted more.

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Youth and Superheroics

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1
ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 page 2 & 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 follows the precedent set in the original SUPER SONS series. It manages to bring a great deal of depth to these characters. Superboy is the younger of these two heroes, and he does come across far more immature. However, he does so in a believable way.

This isn’t some stock young character. Tomasi didn’t just hit copy and paste on a Disney Channel series. Jon Kent has some really cool and realistic moments in this issue, which are only amplified by his partner in crime-fighting. These two characters bounce perfectly off of each other. They fight and bicker (thanks to Damian’s personality) but, in the end, you can tell they’re best friends.

I feel like the opening sequence with the Puppeteer perfectly captures this youthful energy and rebellion. While Superboy snacks on popcorn, Damian insists that he can handle the fight all on his own. Meanwhile, after they apprehend the villain, Damian uses his machine to hit Superboy a few times.

I really enjoyed this dynamic because it isn’t that perfect buddy cop story. In other stories like ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1, characters tend to just get along without issue. This one, though, shows a true brotherly relationship. Yes, they’re friends. Yes, they care about each other. And that means that they get to mess with each other. Tomasi captures that perfectly in this issue, and I can’t wait to see how he tackles it in later ones.

Barberi vs. Jimenez

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1
ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Jorge Jimenez’ work on the original SUPER SONS series is some of the best artwork in the medium. As such, it is a huge compliment to Carlo Barberi that he manages to capture much of that same energy and life that Jimenez did in those early issues. By personal taste alone, I still gravitate more to Jimenez’s style. Barberi has a little more of a traditional comic book art style, while Jimenez has obvious influences in manga.

However, ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 is an absolutely stunning book, and Barberi is a worthy successor to the pen. He manages to portray Jon and Damian’s huge personalities with highly expressive facial and bodily movements, and the action sequences are chock full of detail.

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ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1: Final Thoughts

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 is a nearly perfect outing for this young superhero team. Absolutely packed with energy, this book is the perfect sequel to the original Rebirth series.

The action sequences are brilliantly choreographed, and despite a bit of a convoluted narrative involving extra-terrestrial supervillain look-alikes, this is a true winner. With some incredible art from Carlo Barberi, this is a series to keep an eye on. With eleven issues to go, one can only hope that it keeps getting better from here.

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