Review: Super Sons of Tomorrow trade paperback (DC Comics)


Super Sons of Tomorrow didn't deliver a lot of what I was hoping for from this crossover. There is a bit of joy in this added moment of collegiality among the Rebirth set, mainly Superman on the same page as the Teen Titans. Otherwise, when it comes to "Superboy" Jon Kent meeting the Teen Titans and issues of membership and such, we just went through that in the last volume of Super Sons, and so it hardly seems so novel. The "of Tomorrow" bit of this book, the most exciting part, fails to live up to the hype, hamstrung in significant ways similar to how a whole lot of other Rebirth books are hamstrung.

Maybe this book has implications for Teen Titans (though I struggle more and more to care about that title the way I once did), but for a "event" crossover, Super Sons of Tomorrow doesn't really seem to do all that much.

[Review contains spoilers]

It is certainly nice to have a five-part crossover all written by the same people, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, kind of like Tomasi's Final Days of Superman. I'm unsure the writers quite get the voices right for the Titans, the characters whom Tomasi and Gleason have written the least, and maybe for that reason an assist by Benjamin Percy might have been warranted. Also there's no cut scenes here, no "own title" business that has to be transacted; if you'd asked me otherwise I would have said that kind of thing is distracting, though I'm not sure if I didn't miss it here.

But, the story flowed considerably better than Metal's "Bats Out of Hell" or what-have-you Bat-crossover where each issue focused on its own title character. Here, individual title identities were mostly hidden, almost indistinguishable, though cleverly the writers make sure Superman makes a prominent appearance in the two issues of his specific title, the title most roped into a story where it wouldn't otherwise participate.

But let's face it, the broad appeal of Super Sons of Tomorrow is that it's DC's post-Rebirth way of establishing that pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans Conner "Kon-El" Kent, Cassie Sandsmark, and Bart Allen still exist, and getting them on the screen again. In that, Super Sons of Tomorrow really falls down. The "Titans of Tomorrow" are on the scene a limited amount of time and they have almost no interaction with the Titans of today. Even the barest conversation between Superman and Conner is halted because they aren't supposed to talk about time travel; we don't even get the Rebirth trademark "faint recognition when they hear a name" moment. It's nice to see these Titans again, but they could have as easily been the "Legacy" characters from Bryan Hitch's Justice League or brand new characters for as much as their specific identities matter in this story.

This has become something of a pattern. Just like the lack of revelations in Justice League of America Vol. 3: Panic in the Microverse when the team found Ray Palmer, just like the relative toothlessness of Mr. Oz's identity in Action Comics, even how Batman/Flash: The Button has been mostly ignored, there's little titles can do in Rebirth limbo until Doomsday Clock finishes or some other deadline is reached. Until then, we keep getting these non-event events -- characters from the old continuity appear, we even see images of old-continuity crossovers spattered on the hyper-walls, but none of it actually means anything story-wise.

Not for the first time, I do also find that as much as I've thrilled to Tomasi's Green Lantern Corps and other work, his Super Sons just doesn't move me. It's treacly at times, to the point where the writers even have Robin Damian Wayne comment on it toward the end. I do give the creative team points for an end that sees Jon dejected, not successful, but there's a few instances of awkwardness in the storytelling, not the least in that scene where Batman comes in, takes over Damian's Titans meeting, and Damian just lets him. Damian's uncharacteristically earnest "There's so much we can learn [from you]" to Cassie is another. That the writers have the future Tim Drake take a new identity, "Savior," and demand the others refer to him as such is unintentionally hilarious. Also, the writers have everyone call Tim Drake "Drake" here, when virtually no one does that in regular practice.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Super Sons of Tomorrow

Again, I did like Super Sons of Tomorrow's final scene where the Titans take a vote (albeit interrupted by Batman), and the vote is not to accept Superboy as a member because they need to work on themselves as a team; that's more maturity and self-awareness than I think we're used to seeing from these more jocular Titans iterations. Tomasi and Gleason lob the ball back to Percy after this to actually close out Percy's run before "No Justice"; if anything is to come of this book, my hope is maybe some of that mature tone is actually reflected in Titans' conclusion.

[Includes original and variant covers; pencils, inks, and cover sketches]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Super Sons of Tomorrow
Author Rating
3 (scale of 1 to 5)

Comments ( 7 )

  1. If I recall there was a "recognition" moment at one point when Beast Boy says something like he thinks he's seen Cassie but I think the writers undercut that with a joke. If anything this just raises more questions about this continuity than it answers, since Tim's New 52 Titans are mentioned, which ostensibly means that the new team should recognize Wonder Girl/Superboy/Kid Flash, but they don't? My continuity wonk brain can't handle it, and I doubt these bugs will ever be ironed out post-Doomsday Clock.

    Also where's Bunker? I liked him.

    1. Exactly right. Even, the last issues of Titans showed Cassie attended Tim's funeral with Beast Boy. So in terms of recognition, it's not only poor (Beast Boy and Cassie? That's got more emotional appeal than Superman and Conner?), it's also nonsensical, precisely because even the creative teams can't keep track any more. I didn't used to think so, but more and more it seems Rebirth needed a Big Bang moment, some point where continuity changed, because instead we're betwixt and between.

    2. The continuity issues is just one of many reasons why the new 52 was a mistake. At least all the classic characters are (slowly) coming back. One fan favourite recently came back last week in the flash, but I won't spoil it.

    3. Not the New 52 per se, so much as a drawn-out Rebirth where it's not clear enough across the board what continuity is.

    4. It's never a good sign when I realize I spend as much time inventing headcanon to explain this timeline as I do reading the books.

  2. I thought this whole crossover was a mess of misused concepts and characters throwing their powers around in ways that make little to no sense, but readers interested in Bendis's Superman might want to check it out anyway, because its events actually play into Man of Steel.

    1. Astounding. Well, that's the good thing about a shared universe ...


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