It finally has arrived. I have been waiting for this book sense we found out OG Supes has a kid. I mean, I already wrote the story in my head. It seems obvious: Damian gets a friend and gains some empathy towards people who aren't cold blooded assassins; Jon's naivety will drop away and he will understand that the world isn't so black and white as his father describes. It will be great.
But there is another lesson in this book, and I wasn't ready for it. We also get is a lesson on parenting, and how those lessons are manifested in the kids we raise.
I found out I may be more like Bruce than Clark, and that terrifies me.
But enough of my manufactured existential crisis... On to the review.
Jonathan Smith (Kent) is an upstanding young man. He sticks up for his friends. He doesn't use his godlike powers in public though he really wants to. He tries to protect his classmates when some bullies are throwing snowballs with rocks in them (we all have been there). But sometimes bullies needs to be dealt with and that's where Damian Wayne steps in.
Damian knocks loose an overhang of snow on the bullies effectively burying them in a giant mound of snow. Jon sees a short man on the roof and goes to investigate. He finds out that Damain has been masquerading as his school bus diver and a substitute teacher in order to find out how "the other half lives." Jon isn't very happy about this, but decides to keep it to himself and let Damian drive him home on the bus.
It's here where we see the distinctive parenting styles of Batman and Superman juxtaposed.
Damian has always been one to act out. Jon is having questions of ethical behavior and how to do the most good. Batman gives stern lessons and punishments. Superman gives uplifting speeches and motivates.
As a parent of a young man myself, I see the need for both approaches... But I couldn't help but feel that I need to be Superman more and less Batman....
Damian sneaks into Jon's room at his 9 o'clock bedtime, and manages to convince Jon that he needs help in an investigation. Jon, I mean Superboy, gets goaded into accompanying Robin on this mission of his. A mission he knows really nothing about other than its in Metropolis and is at Lexcorp. When it begins to involve breaking and entering, Superboy announces his reservations about this plan, but they are interrupted by the owner of the building on which they are climbing.
This book is almost perfect for me. The dialog is great. The artwork is great. The characters are great. I just don't know why the book opened up like it did.
You see, I left the opening out of my review. The part where Superboy and Robin are running from an army of robot Robins. The scene is set in events after this book and are meant to make the reader wonder as to how the two of them got in this situation. However, we are never led there; or if we are, we are at least five or six steps from getting there. These two pages could have been excised from the book and it would have made it better. We don't need every comic to start with an action scene; we just want a well written story.
I believe that is what we are going to get, as long as narrative direction stays on target, but when I see that there are three authors listed on this comic... it scares me a little. I have faith in Peter J. Tomasi and Chris Burnham, but I never really liked Dennis Culver that much. I hope this doesn't become a "too many cooks in the kitchen" kinda story. But until that happens, I will recommend this book based on just the strength of the characters involved. I'm ready to be taken off on a super adventure.
Rating: 9/10 Super Family Poker Nights