Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Superman, Volume 2: Trials of the Super Son Review (Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason)

The second Rebirth Superman book surprisingly didn’t suck - it’s definitely a step up from the derivative Terminator-ripoff first volume - but Trials of the Super Son still never rose above middling. 

This one is a mish-mash of rando stories. Clark, Lois and Jon go to the local fair where Lois makes Clark promise not to Superman all evening so they can have a family night out together butguesswhathedoes… In another story, Superman, Jon and Krypto somehow get transported to an island full of living dinosaurs and World War 2 pilots where they fight a giant white gorilla - it’s fair to say that one’s a fucking mess! 

The title story sees Superman and Batman force their sons to “earn their capes” by undergoing an elaborate obstacle course Batman’s constructed. It’s important they get along because… ? I mean, it’s not like they need to work together - this is the first time they’ve met! And why do Supes and Bats care if their kids don’t like each other? Gah, it’s all so contrived! For anyone keeping track, this is where the Super Sons series spins off from. 

The final story sees Agent Frankenstein invade Superman’s small town life to track down a wanted alien - but not if Frank’s estranged bounty hunter wife has anything to say about it! … zzz… pointless drek… 

Honestly, none of the stories are that bad - some are predictable, some are plain dumb, Jon’s cutesy act gets old and annoying fast, and I could get nitpicky about some stuff like why didn’t Superman see through the alien’s disguise with his x-ray vision to start with - but they’re perfectly readable; they’re just not that good either. They’re so forgettable and disposable and ultimately the book reads like the pure product it is. 

Doug Mahnke’s art is pretty good, though in some panels he makes Jon weirdly look like he’s wearing lipstick, and Patrick Gleason’s definitely done better work elsewhere. Like Peter J. Tomasi’s writing, the visuals are fine but nothing special. 

Superman, Volume 2: Trials of the Super Son is a mildly interesting entertainment, though, given the low quality of most Superman comics in general, that unfortunately makes this volume somewhat notable! Definitely not a must-read for most and really only worth a look for Superman fans - can’t wait for Bendis to take over this line and hopefully turn things around!

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