EP0063: Super Sons, Volume 2: Planet of the Capes

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Superboy and Robin team up to train and then travel to an alternate universe, and then they get their own lair.

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Graham: The Super Sons travel to another dimension and get a brand spanking new headquarters. Find out all about it as we take a look at Super Sons: Vol 2: Planet of the Capes, straight ahead.

[Intro Music]

Announcer: Welcome to the Classy Comics podcast where we search for the best comics in the universe. From Boise Idaho, here is your host Adam Graham.

Graham: The Super Sons, originally, they came up with a sort of imaginary stories idea back in the Bronze Age of comics where Superman and Batman had each had sons that fought crime together and did buddy things but generally as adult grown up sons but in the D.C. Rebirth world Batman and Superman have actual juvenile sons and so the Super Sons series follows their adventures together. The second volume collects issues 6 through 10 of the series.

First up is the four-part Planet of the Capes story. The Kents are slowly easing Jon into using his powers and developing his life as Superboy and his mom is checking to see if he has his cell phone and they’re giving him a ten o’clock curfew and Jon objects to it. “Come on, it’s Friday. Damian’s dad lets him stay out all night”, and Clark says, “Damian’s dad dresses like a bat and gets hit in the head 28 times every night, so maybe not the best argument” and Jon replies, “Ok fair point, dad”.
I just love that. It’s just a really funny bit and it sets the course for what’s mostly, pretty light-hearted adventures. Jon goes out on patrol and he’s joined by Damian for a good part of it, where Damian is being incredibly intense. He has a really, not so encounter, with a jaywalker, where he just gets really, almost dirty-harrish on the guy. Superboy just say, “You know, cross at the cross walk and be safe for your dog”, and much of their patrol is spent doing things like rescuing cats from trees and in a one particular scene, Jon helps Damian change a tire and then the Teen Titans show up for a mission.
Damian, of course, being the head of the Teen Titans and Damian has no interest in taking Jon along as Superboy is not a teen and therefore not eligible to join the Teen Titans. And I really do sympathize with Damian on that point but it might be a bit pedantic when the team needs help, which does turn out to be the case because they end up facing several little known super villains; Atom-Master and Chun Yull but it’s Time Commander that confronts them and, in a way, too quickly in the battle uses his powers to age Damian seventy years, which leads to Titans turning to Jon for help and, of course, as Superboy, Jon is more than happy to go and help the Titans and it’s a fun story as the Teen Titans encourage Jon in the course of this and it really seems to build his confidence and he really shows his strength as a secret weapon. Damian is really somewhat limited and it’s, in a way, satisfying to see this character kind of to, because he can be so arrogant, to be kind of put in his place for just a little bit. We know he’s going to get better. In fact, he gets better by the end of the story as the super villains end up melting into goo and it turns out that they were created by a character named Kraklow, who really was just a magician who’s been performing at a lot of different shows and things for years. Just a minor low-key career magician who suddenly turned super villain creating monstrous, other super villains to do is bidding.
And the Teen Titans take Kraklow away but Jon and Damian stay behind with, now that the battles over, Damian delivering some putdowns and trying to make sure that Jon doesn’t develop a big ego because there’s only room for one of those on the Super Sons team. But before they can finish this somewhat senseless putdowns, they are attacked by monsters and they end up being drawn into another dimension where they are helped out by two other superheroes, actually two superheroines who are named Hard Line and Big Shot, who are apparently from a planet where there were a lot of superheroes and there has been some destruction and some villainous actions and Kraklow helped bring together these super heroes.
It turns out Kraklow is using some special clay to create these heroes and are they real or are they not real?
The story takes some good turns. There are some fun actions. It is really fast paced. It almost reads as if it’s written for kids and I think it can work that way except there are some language issues that some parents, particularly if you’re strict, would have some issues with. Not any, what I would call, really serious bad language but there’s a minor curse or so you wouldn’t normally use in a kid’s book for younger kids but still this is action packed. It’s a lot of fun and the end of it has got a little bit of inspiration. It moves really, really quickly. It’s not like a lot of modern comic books with the decompressed, almost cinematic storytelling. This one is kind of like Saturday morning cartoon with a little bit of a surprise ending. I enjoyed this up pretty well.

The final issue in the book, issue 10, One Fine Day, is kind of a slice of life, a bit of a one-off story and it opens with Jon’s flight being tested and his powers really showing that they’re making progress. You get to see the boys having fun together. Batman and Superman as Clark and Bruce driving around in the front seat having a laugh together and it is really fun and then in the middle of this, we have 2-page intermission of a dark future involving Batman and the Gotham Police Department and it’s probably hinting at something down the road. I know that there is, next crossover is Super Sons of the future, so it probably ties into that. In the middle of this issue it’s just kind of disconnected from everything. But the story doesn’t end there because it turns out that Damian and Jon are getting their own undersea base, a place of their own, their own private little headquarters where they can go off to fight crime and you can reach both Gotham City and Metropolis by an underwater tube. Further, Batman announces that they will have all class 4 and under emergency calls routed down there.
And I kind of wonder what would be these lower-class emergency calls because I’d imagine 1 would be like a global invasion. What is a class 6 emergency call? Somebody left the popcorn in the microwave too long. But anyway, it is cool.
The only downside of this is actually for Damian because Bruce has noticed that Damian is stuck up, arrogant and angry and so the Wayne Foundation has made a big contribution to an exclusive private school in Gotham and so he’s going to send Damian there. After all, there is nothing that can cure someone being arrogant and stuck up than sending them to an exclusive private school. It’s really a silly idea and as I mentioned in the Supergirl episode, some things are tried throughout the D.C. Universe with a similar theme. In the first volume of Supergirl, it was decided to send her to school but it was a public school and that made a little bit more sense. It’s kind of taught as this, you know, this idea, school is magic. You have to be in school in order to build these relationships and to be normal and well-adjusted. So, of course, we have to send our heroes to school. For the record, out of her experience of being in school, Kara has made one sort of friend and that’s a person who she would have met anyway interning at CatCo, so I don’t think this is going to do much at all for Damian unless they really stretch things but he’s got to be in school in order to enjoy the benefit of this job working in the Super Son’s team in the underwater headquarters and if he gets fired, then he will no longer have that. He’ll only be stuck with Teen Titans Tower.

Overall, despite the little misstep here and there, I continue to find Super Sons just to be delightful and I’m really getting a greater sense of Jon as a character and he’s just such a perfect contrast for Damian because he’s taken on so many of the lessons and characteristics of his parents in terms of inspiring hope and trying to do the right thing and being kind and easy going and it makes a great contrast. It’s just this wonderful odd couple feel to it and the adventure in the 4-parter is a lot of fun. It is the type of a story like it takes you back to childhood. Not everything is tied up in a neat bow and it is really fast paced, for a modern-day comic but it’s enjoyable, it’s colorful and it has a nice positive message involved and I also like this final issue where you really just get to see these characters enjoying themselves and growing in the friendship. So overall, I’ll give Super Sons: Vol 2: Planet of the Capes a rating of classy.

Well, that’s all for now. If you do have a comment, email it to me classycomicsguy@gmail.com. Be sure and follow us on Twitter at classycomicsguy and check out the website classycomicsguy.com. From Boise Idaho, this is your host Adam Graham signing off.

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