Super Sons… Okay, let me be honest here, I am enjoying these books a lot more than I enjoy those about their more traditional counterparts. For those of you who don’t know, the Super Sons are a designation given to Jonathan Kent, also known as Superboy, son of Superman and Damian Wayne, also known as Robin, the son of Batman. I have read quite a few stories and this one is definitely one of my favourites. The Parent Trap is the 13th issue of the Super Sons line of stories, and is a lot more grounded in narrative than most of the others, and that’s why I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Super Sons: The Parent Trap! focuses on the return of Talia al Ghul, the mother of Damian Wayne, and the revelation of his dark past to Jonathan. The story does a great job in making Robin’s past as an assassin a narrative arc without entirely dwelling on the issue. His relationship with Jonathan and his father becomes an emotional anchor that keeps him grounded and more like a hero, and a little less like the assassin that his mother trained him to be. This, naturally, is the opposite of who Talia imagined her son to become. Damian’s character growth is delightfully apparent in these issues, which is why I love these stories as much as I do. They are self-aware and acknowledge the continuity within their own universe. There is no overarching storyline, or larger plot going on in the background – it’s just two kids, who inherited the war on crime going about this journey, growing and becoming heroes in their own right. Character growth is narrative! The bigger and longer stories involving other primary characters such as the Teen Titans, or occasionally, Batman and Superman, become merely plot mechanics with which to enhance the impact of their character growth and emotional maturity – and that’s just fine. The story of Damian and Jonathan is a lighter reflection of the friendship shared between Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Clark Kent (Superman) – it’s complicated for the most part, but filled with love and respect. Through their banter and jokes, the two boys are good friends and great heroes. Talia’s addition into the story is a good way to bring in Damian’s past in a way that isn’t contrived or cheap, as she is written incredibly well, as well as her entire reason for being there. Without spoiling anything, Talia arrives in Metropolis as the League of Assassin is targetting one of the most important people in the boys’ lives, kicking the entire story into motion leading up to a well-deserved pay-off.
Super Sons: The Parent Trap! was penciled by Carlo Barberi, who I feel did an amazing job in producing the lighter tones with his simple linework. The panels are drawn with a sense of cheer and playfulness, and the way the linework is handled is terrific and makes the boys’ facial expressions seem much more exaggerated, which convey the fact that they are just children, in the sense that children tend to look at the world and things as more than what they really are. The colour work is also nothing short of amazing. Coloured by Gabe Eltaeb, the panels restrain any warm colours to the point that they are comforting in the earlier panels of cheer and camaraderie. As the story moves on, and Damian’s past and character becomes a focal point, the colours become much more saturated, bathing the characters with overpowering shadow work.
The Super Sons line of stories are great for anyone who loves the idea of the extension of Batman and Superman’s friendship. However, this is not in any way a Batman and Superman story. The journey of these two young heroes is fascinating to witness, and each story is truly magnificent, if not at all extraordinary.
The Geek Writer.