The last few years have seen #Marvel Comics launch a tremendous range of so-called 'Legacy Heroes' — characters like Miles Morales's Spider-Man, Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel, and Sam Alexander's Nova. The latest is Riri Williams, a fifteen-year-old genius who's taking over the mantle of Iron Man! But Marvel's greatest rival, DC, has seemed slow to get in on the act. Although there have been some notable teen-focused books (a tremendous new Teen Titans series, for example), they just haven't seemed to resonate with fans. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti's excellent Starfire series didn't even last past its twelfth issue.
Now, DC is preparing to challenge that. Early 2017 will see the launch of Super Sons, featuring Damian Wayne's Robin and Jon Kent's Superboy. Although the book has been delayed — it was originally due to launch in September 2016 — DC is clearly excited about the title. This week sees Superman #10 kick off an arc called "In The Name Of The Father", which is essentially a teaser for Super Sons. It's also a tremendously good comic, and earns this week's #ComicOfTheWeek!
First, though: who are the Super Sons?
Who Is Damian Wayne?
In 1987, Mike W. Barr wrote the script for a Batman miniseries, with art by Jerry Bingham. Not considered canon at the time, Batman: Son of the Demon was a fantastic story. It featured Batman committing to his relationship with Talia, daughter of Ra's al Ghul. Soon Talia was pregnant; but when Talia saw Batman taking absurd risks to protect her, she claimed to have miscarried, and their relationship dissolved. Unknown to Batman, the arc ended with the child born, and adopted by a western couple.
It's a fan-favorite arc, and in 2006 writer Grant Morrison revisited it, essentially bringing it into canon when he revealed Damian Wayne — the son of Batman! His much-loved "Batman and Son" arc introduced Batman to his heretofore-unknown child, who had been trained by the League of Assassins from birth. Damian was sent to Batman by his mother in order to disrupt Ra's al Ghul's plan for the boy, and he quickly took on the Robin mantle.
This newest incarnation of Robin is a fascinating character; he's overly proud of his own training, he has serious 'daddy issues', and he's often overconfident to the point of recklessness.
Who Is the New Superboy?
DC's "Convergence" event kicked off several major changes to the DC universe. Most significantly, it brought the pre-"Flashpoint" Superman into DC's new continuity; this version of Superman had married Lois Lane, and the two had a son: Jonathon Samuel Kent, known as 'Jon'. The Kents lived in secrecy for nine years, until the run-up to the #DCRebirth event, which saw the death of the New 52 Superman. Naturally, the pre-"Flashpoint" Superman decided to step up and reclaim his mantle!
The catch is, though, that Jon Kent is now old enough for his powers to begin developing. His growth as a character has been a major part of the current (tremendous) Superman run, with Jon taking on the identity of Superboy.
Bringing the Super Sons Together
Naturally, the first encounter between Robin and Superboy doesn't exactly go well; soon Superboy is Robin's prisoner, and you can guess where things go from there. Hilariously, for one moment writer Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomaso tease us with the possibility of a 'Batman v Superman' moment (Batman even draws a Kryptonite batarang!). The real conflict, of course, is between Superboy and Robin, and the two start by trading insults. It soon descends into a super-brawl!
Superman #10 is your traditional superhero team-up, but it's executed in such a fun way. Meanwhile, the artistic team is firing on all cylinders — Patrick Gleason shines, while the work of colorist John Kalisz brings the images to life in remarkable style. It's easily one of the most entertaining comics I've read in a while.
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As a teaser for Super Sons, Superman #10 is a tremendous success. I'll be following this arc with a sense of eager expectation, and I can't wait to see Robin and Superboy star in their own team-up book. #DC fans - we're in for a treat!
Will you be following DC's 'Super Sons'?
Poll Image: DC Comics