Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez
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|Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A solid start to this series of full-length comic books for the under-twelves. With a new on-going series launching every month of 2019 after this, the future looks full of potential.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: April 2019|
|Publisher: DC Comics|
It's the near future, and every coastal city – including Metropolis – is in need of a huge flood barrier, built on its coast by Wayne Enterprises. But the rising sea levels have put even those constructions under threat, forcing many people to relocate in America's biggest exodus for decades. Superman is helping out, of course – first he was patching up the dams, but now he's mining the asteroid belt for a rare dust that's perfect for blocking the solar energy from making further polar ice melt. Inland, in Wyndermere, the refugees from the coast are suffering bigotry and intolerance for being newcomers, but something else is much worse. A major bout of food poisoning is hitting the city. But it can't possibly have anything to do with what looks like sabotage of the flood barriers and the efforts to correct the climate, can it? Four young children begin to piece together clues that it can…
And it's the nature of those four young children that's most important in this book. One demands to be called Ian. We might know a bit more about him if we knew his full name – Damian Wayne. Yes, he's Batman's son. Another is in Wyndermere under duress, and is missing his father – for he is John, the only child of Superman and Lois Lane. But two of the children we don't know – Tilly, a very attractive and plucky blonde, and Candace, a girl who has caught Jon's eye, and who has both a secret from her past and a unique destiny she is only beginning to discover.
For a little comic book, this has been a very eagerly awaited publication. The build-up to this, the launch book in DC Comics' Zoom imprint, has almost been a year in the making. Every month throughout 2019 they'll gift us a title for the under-twelve age range that brings characters from their adult comics into this format, but on this evidence there will be some heavy rebooting involved. As a result of which, and even though I know this is a book for juniors, I am aware of the need to discuss this from the POV of an adult comics fan.
Well, first off – the introduction to these characters is great. And they're great, too – I have heartily disliked Damian and the character I call Superbrat in the main monthly titles, finding them insufferably annoying. Here there's much less arrogant privilege in (Dam)Ian, and likewise Jon Kent is a lot less bitchy and crabby about what he can and cannot do. Some would say there's no evidence of Damian's maternal grand-dad, but I don't think anything here in these variants of the DC characters negates anything else they've ever put out. Here we only get a cameo from Batman coming across from the adult world to this title, although we do hear talk of Alfred. Superman is (rather idiotically) shipped off to be busy for months doing his dust-mining, and Lois is unfortunately one of the people suffering from the food poisoning. We only get glimpses of Candace's story, while Tilly seems to be a muggle equivalent, although a pleasant one.
And so I revert to thinking of the book as regards the target audience. And 'pleasant' is the word here too, even if I would write Superman out of things in a smarter way, and avoid some comedy names here and there. The issues of environmentalism and outsider bullying are done very well, and not forced into the limelight at the expense of the entertainment. The greatest credit I think here is the way this is clearly an introductory novel, so we have to build the foursome's friendships and characters, but we also get enough engagement with the action. Getting us ready for the long-haul here is not a slog – partly as it's jumping from one story strand to another very quickly, and very expertly too. I think it stumbled a little at times in making us know who was thinking what (even with colour-coded thought bubbles), and sometimes the speech bubble tails can't tell us it's a tiny smart watch-generated hologram that's speaking. Some of the combat and action artwork is a little hard to 'read' at times, too.
But generally this is a really exciting book, if not entirely for what's within these pages. It proves that these books will have the ability to potentially be more serious and more mature than some adult DC monthlies. It proves that anyone doubting the imprint long before the start was wrong. I don't how know many sequels we'll get of this, nor how quickly, but I can see many a comic fan in the future refusing to discard shelves of DC Zoom full-length OGNs. For them at least, these Sons, dare I say it, shine.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez at Amazon.com.
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