It had to happen. The son of Superman meets the spawn of Batman in World's Smallest, paving the way for the upcoming Super Sons series starring Jon Kent and Damian Wayne, the latest Superboy and Robin.
Things start off quietly as Jon and best friend Kathy negotiate their school day. On the way home, Jon, with his Bizarro optimism, reckons he's found the perfect spot to nab a great Christmas tree, but Kathy has other ideas.
Interesting... there's something bad in this perky girl's past. Left alone, Jon decides he needs a perch - we've seen him climb a tree previously, and it didn't end well. And so it is here, as a potentially friendly owl turns into a snake and then something even freakier. The beast has weird eyes similar to those embedded into the creatures on Dinosaur Island.
When he falls, Jon, who can't yet fly, has nobody to rescue him. Or rather, Nobody, the pre-teen assassin ally of Damian Wayne, who has enlisted her to hunt down Jon for his own reasons.
Poor Jon. The death of Goldie wasn't his fault, but boy, is it great to see someone so passionate about the ex-cat.
With Damian chaining up Jon you won't be surprised to hear that their dads soon make the scene. And while there's some tension - Superman isn't impressed by the results of Batman's parenting - calm soon descends, allowing for proper introductions.
Isn't that the most joyful page from creators Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason? The characterisations are quickly sketched in, yet so rich... and we've not even got to deadpan Damian showing off his mini-menagerie.
The mystery of the flashing-eyes beasts isn't addressed, but it's bubbling under nicely. The interaction between Jon and Damian is so much fun that this comic doesn't require an actual evil antagonist. We do get some theorising over Jon's developing, fluctuating super-powers, plus plenty of action courtesy of Damian's giant bat-monster, Goliath. The story by Tomasi and Gleason is vibrant and perfectly paced, while Gleason's pencils are brought to full, bold life by the skills of inker Mick Gray and colourist John Kalisz. Gleason has a real knack for body language, and knows how to ramp up the drama by varying the panel layouts. Gray brings the kind of richness seen in his Promethea work with JH Williams III, while Kalisz pinpoints the required moods with his choice and applications of colours. Every page is a feast for the eyes, with extra interest added by such small details as Jon's plunging shoes on the splash page ... a no-prize for anyone who explains why they're soon back on his feet!
Rob Leigh's letters are as spiffy as ever, while Andrew Robinson's variant cover is well done, and definitely a fair representation of a moment in the issue, but I'm not keen... it doesn't suit the autumnal tone. It feels too DC New 52 when I'm living the Rebirth dream.
Ten issues in and after the opening weirdness involving Goldie, Superman has settled into being a massively rewarding, tonally tight family saga. We've seen how well Jon gets on with his parents, now we're seeing how he interacts with someone a little more challenging. Could this series be any better? At this point, I wouldn't bet against it.