SUPER SONS #13
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Carlo Barberi, Art Thibert, Gabe Eltaeb, and Rob Leigh
Edited by Paul Kaminski and Andrea Shea
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: February 21, 2018
No one is normal.
Jon and Damian are living the typical school life until Talia decides to drop in. Jon is slowly becoming aware of his BFF’s dark history and just in time to find out he won’t like who Talia’s next target is.
Super Sons is no stranger to serious stories, however with Barberi, Thibert, Eltaeb, and Leigh, there is a visual tonal shift that is great for the inclusion of Talia this time. While this is still a book about adventure and exploration, it becomes something that addresses Damian’s history with the League of Assassins in a way that keeps a youthful feel, a lot of this owed to Jon and his characterization.
I am always a fan of how Peter J. Tomasi expresses Jon and Damian’s personalities. No matter their circumstances, each of their individual ways of thinking and feeling are palpable. In this story, it feels as if Damian is thrown into Jon’s world rather than the other way around. Tomasi takes time to eschew ideals of normality while also showing that maybe Jon’s typical life is something closer to childhood than Damian’s.
I like how Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert work together in this issue. The style definitely fits with what we’ve seen before, but the distinction is important for what does and likely will transpire. Barberi uses an approach that is realistic but still emphasizes the fact that kids form the major landscape for the plot, and Thibert’s inks are light enough to bring focus to the lives of children. Each page looks like something that would happen in a schoolyard, and that aspect hones in on the story and its portrayal of childhood while also creating a striking contrast with what happens in the latter half of the issue.
Gabe Eltaeb’s colors are spectacular. One of the best parts of this series has been how color helps to match the hope and optimism of the main characters, and Eltaeb definitely fits within that paradigm. There are some dark scenes, for sure, but even they are marked by a brilliance in color. Eltaeb captures the youthfulness of an ordinary school day with this palette, and this choice fits within the setup for the story and its eventual break upon Talia’s arrival.
Super Sons has always struck me as a series dedicated to bringing two different worlds together. Seeing how Jon is exposed to yet another aspect of Damian’s shows that there are still many stories that could be told regarding how disparate yet alike they are as people. Even though they’ve encountered dire circumstances before, Talia introduces something that is still new and striking for Jon, but that also appears to be something Damian really did want to be kept secret. These two boys continue to try to find the balance between the ordinary and the fantastic, and this story is going to challenge that dynamic.
The Verdict: 10/10