Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent have got their own comic now, thanks to this week’s arrival of Super Sons. It’s everything you want out of a team-up from one of the most delightful little shits in DC comics, and the perfect straight man in the form of the kid of steel himself — in fact, it might even be a better team up than Bats and Supes themselves.
Super Sons‘ first issue — written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Jorge Jiminez and Alejandro Sanchez, and lettering by Rob Leigh — is all about clashing these two distinctly different kids together and having a whole lot of fun with it. This fun is mainly derived from the fact that, unlike Jon Kent (who, while still having a childish impulsiveness, is very much like his dad), Damian Wayne is such a bratty, yet weirdly charming little kid. And he knows that, which basically leads to him doing whatever he wants… to a certain point.
That certain point being that his dad is the goddamn Batman.
But before that point is reached, Damian’s ceaseless desire to freak people out is part of what makes his relationship with the straight-laced Jon so enjoyable to watch unfold. And as a child of Batman and Talia al Ghul, Damian knows enough to make any messing he does hilariously intricate. Everything from impersonating Jon’s school bus driver and substitute teacher for no reason at all…
… to just randomly hanging out in the shadows of Jon’s bedroom.
Aside from martial arts training, a stellar education, and honed instincts, Damian’s real superpower is an uncanny precision in his ability to mess with people for shits and giggles. Jon’s relative innocence might make him an easy mark for the young Robin at times, but still, it takes some guts to relentlessly poke and prod at the kid of Superman.
But aside from the delightful ribbing, Super Sons #1 gives us some depth and reasoning as to why Damian has taken a sudden interest in teaming up with Jon — even if the little kid would never admit it. Deep down, as much as he loves messing with people, Damian doesn’t really have that many friends, especially his age. Living your life as the son of Batman and the al Ghul family can be pretty lonely.
Super Sons gives us that sense of Damian trying to reach out to Jon, to have a friend (in his own delightfully arseholish way, of course) and future partner in superheroics, by giving us contrasting snippets of each kid’s home life. We first see Jon’s, with Lois and Clark at the table playing cards and having fun. It’s a scene packed with intimacy and love, and the deep bond the Kent (née White) family has with each other. Clark and Lois are supportive of their son, whether it’s with schoolwork or with him learning to control his powers.
We then cut immediately to Damian’s life at home, training — Bruce is aloof, passing through Damian’s training session to another night out as the Batman with not so much as a word to his son, and his brief interaction with Damian when he attempts to join Bruce is terse and strict. Whereas Clark and Lois are a little lenient in letting Jon stay up late, Bruce demands that Damian stick to the vow he made his father when it comes to his home schooling, before darting out of the Batcave.
Deep down, Bruce obviously cares for Damian, but he shows it rarely. That’s the way he is, honed through years of personal tragedy.
And given the isolated life that leads to on top of all the bat-vigilante stuff, you can see why the young Wayne is the way he is — and why he reaches out to Jon in the first place, to join him on an adventure of their own. Considering how great a comedic pairing the two make when they’re together in this issue, I can’t wait to see more of it.