It’s a mad mad mad mad world for Jon Kent as he finds himself at the centre of interdimensional hijinks.
Things are more serious than I make them sound. A Tim Drake from an alternate future is convinced Jon will somehow kill millions. His solution? Kill Jon now. He’s convinced Teen Titans Beast Boy and Raven to join him in tracking down Jon, who’s fled with pal Damian Wayne, Robin, to their ‘Fortress of Attitude’. But it’s three other Titans - Aqualad, Starfire and Kid Flash - who are closing in on them as this chapter of the Super Sons of Tomorrow crossover opens. Damian and Jon assume the worst, that their friends have turned against them. Mayhem ensues.
Finally, a cool head prevails in the form of Aqualad, whose character is as strong as his water-based powers.
Meanwhile/Elsewhen, another group is closing in
The Titans of Tomorrow only want to help their friend Tim, whom they believe isn’t responsible for his actions, but who could mess up reality - whatever that means to a group travelling through a sea of alternate worlds - bigtime.
Back in 2017, Starfire has a cunning plan to stop former Red Robin Tim - now in a new costume and calling himself Savior - catching up to the boys.
Well that brings a new meaning to ‘knock yourself out’.
Unconscious, the Super Sons can be transported to a supposedly safer sanctum, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Emphasis on ‘supposedly’. The Red Kryptonite cage has properties not previously associated with the element.
And it does Jon no good at all.
From there, well, I won’t spoil the whole issue. Leave aside the fact this isn’t particularly an issue of Superman and it’s easy to appreciate a fast-moving, great-looking superhero story. It’s total continuity porn, of course, with the Titans of Tomorrow and Tim travelling through Hypertime, a dimension where the ‘wallpaper’ is old comic book covers.
Then there’s this intriguing scene, which would never have appeared prior to DC Rebirth.
Adult Tim and the Titans of Tomorrow originally seemed to be from an alternate future, but Tim’s appearance in recent issues of Detective Comics, and the enjoyable nonsense here, seem to be cementing the ToT back into mainline DC Universe continuity. The younger versions of Cassie, Conner and Bart were wiped away with the 2011 New 52 reboot, replaced by far worse characters, but now it looks like the originals have to be coming back.
Speaking of the ToT, how wonderful was their tracking ‘device’, a Tim Drake version of the Addams Family’s Hand?
And this is the Cassie Sandsmark I’ve missed.
I’m still bemused by the presentation of Red Kryptonite in this story, it should be giving Superman a giant ant’s head or turning him into a dragon. There has to have been some other way to emotionally overload Jon... still, everything seems to be pointing to the removal of his version of Superman’s annoying solar flare, so I’ll forgive.
The various indignities helped on Robin are worth the price of admission, and it’s a nice touch that Jon hasn’t memorised the Fortress coordinates, he relies on a bit of paper.
And while there’s not a lot of Superman in this issue, what we get underlines that never mind Jon, he really is the big daddy of all superheroes.
So kudos to writers Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason for, Red K apart, a nicely plotted staging post in the overall DC Rebirth saga. They’re paving the way for a sane-again Tim to be reunited with his peers, and for Cassie and co’s teen selves to become regular players. Their dialogue is as amusing as ever, and they nail the moments of high drama.
And good golly Miss Molly, where the heck has penciller Sergio Davila sprung from? Hypertime? Nope, Dynamite Comics, it seems, and issues of DC’s Injustice. What a fantastic illustrator he is, gifting us dynamic layouts that propel the story along, and superb character work. DC could please me enormously by assigning him a regular book, because his work is simply gorgeous.
Vicente Cifuentes inks Davila, so deserves credit, too, for the visual success of this book, alongside colourist Gabe Eltaeb, whose bold tones really sell the idea that amazing energies are being spilt everywhere around the heroes. And a tip of the hat to ever-dependable letterer Rob Leigh, for his always fine, never taken for granted, work.
The main cover by penciller Ivan Reis, inker Oclair Albert and colourist Hi-Fi is a bit corny, but nicely done, while the variant by Jonboy Meyers is a more arresting image. Forgiving as I am about Superman’s book being pretty much taken over by Sons and Titans, I would like at least one of two images on the Man of Steel’s book to actually feature him.
That apart, I recommend this issue highly, and look forward to the next chapter, in Super Sons #12, when we may actually meet the Super Sons of Tomorrow.
Superman #38 review, Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Sergio Davila, Vicente Cifuentes, Gabe Eltaeb, Rob Leigh, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Hi-Fi, Jonboy Meyers