Thursday, January 7, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: SUPER SONS Volume 1: The Polarshield Project

DC COMICS/DC Zoom – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Ridley Pearson – @RidleyPearson
ART: Ile Gonzalez
COLORS: Ile Gonzalez
LETTERS: Saida Temofonte
EDITORS: Ben Abernathy and Michele R. Wells
ISBN:  978-1-4012-8639-2; paperback; (April 2, 2019)
176pp, Color, $9.99 U.S., $13.50 CAN

Age Range: 8 to 12

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; Superboy created by Jerry Siegel

They are the sons of Superman and Batman.  Damian Wayne is the son of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul (the daughter of Batman nemesis, Ra's al Ghul).  Jonathan “Jon” Samuel Kent is the son of Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

Jon and Damian became the stars of the comic book series/franchise, Super Sons.  Now, these young heroes make their graphic novel debut in the DC Zoom original graphic novel, Super Sons Book 1: The Polarshield Project, the first book in a three-book series.  The Polarshield Project is written by bestselling novelist, Ridley Pearson; drawn and colored by Ile Gonzalez; and lettered by Saida Temofonte.  Set in the near future, The Polarshield Project finds the sons of Superman and Batman trying to uncover a global conspiracy that begins with an epidemic.

Super Sons Book 1: The Polarshield Project is set on an alternate Earth and not in the mainstream DC Universe.  In the city of Metropolis, Superman is trying to repair the sea walls that protect the city from the rising oceans.  The polar ice caps have nearly melted away, causing devastation to coastal cities like Metropolis.  Even the technology of Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises is struggling to stop Metropolis from drowning.

Erratic, deadly weather forces everyone inland, tearing families apart.  When Metropolis is abandoned, Clark Kent and his family: reporter Lois Lane and their son, Jon Kent, relocate to Wyndemere.  Bruce Wayne and his son, Damian “Ian” Wayne, are also new residents of Wyndemere.

Jon Kent and Damian Wayne are opposites in every way except one; they are the sons of the world's greatest heroes, and these two boys also want to do their heroic best to help the world.  To unravel the the conspiracy of a mystery illness, this unlikely dynamic duo is forced to trust each other and to work together to save the Earth.  Joined by a mysterious girl named Candace and by Jon's friend, a teen girl named Tilly, Jon and Ian will find adventure and danger.

DC Comics' Super Sons has turned out to be an enjoyable teen superhero comic book franchise, in a decade that has seen the arrival of several stellar comic titles featuring teen heroes, including Marvel Comics' Mile Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel.  Jon Kent's affable nature and Damian Wayne's arrogant kid-ninja-assassin are like oil and water, but writer Peter J. Tomasi made them work, in the original Super Sons series, as a believable crime-fighting, adventure-having unit.

In Super Sons Book 1: The Polarshield Project, Ridley Pearson presents his own version of Jon and Damian.  Pearson's Jon Kent is stubborn, more proactive, and uses his powers with a rapidly growing confidence.  Pearson's Damian Wayne does not at all want to be called Damian and goes by the name “Ian.”  Ian is less elite-assassin-in waiting and more like a Batman, Jr.; he is a superhero-in-training, working his way up to having his own real superhero costume.

Pearson's Super Sons is set on an alternate Earth, and the concept is a near-future scenario that is a kind of juvenile science fiction.  This world looks familiar, and young readers will recognize that story's ecological and environmental dangers could very well be our own world's fate.

I don't know to what extent young readers will identify with the characters here or how much they will recognize of our world in the world of The Polarshield Project.  I think that they will identify with the conflicts, dilemmas, and obstacles facing these young characters.  They will identify with the personal and relationship issues.  I think they will also find themselves taking in by Jon, Ian, Candace, and Tilly's call to adventure.  Ridley Pearson, known for his mystery and young adult adventure novels, offers readers engaging mysteries and thrilling adventures here.

DC Comics has been hiring the writers of bestselling young adult novels to author its DC Zoom (readers 8 to 12) and DC Ink (readers 13+) graphic novels.  On the book covers of these graphic novels, the young adult authors get top billing, but the names of the artists are at the very bottom of the cover.

In the case of The Polarshield Project's artist/co-author, Ile Gonzalez, this placement is crock of shit.  Gonzalez is every bit as important as Pearson to the creation of this graphic novel.  She has a wonderful energetic graphic style, and her rich coloring makes this story vibrant.  Here, Gonzalez's art is spiritually related to the comic book art of the early Superman and Batman comic book artists:  Joe Shuster in Action Comics (Superman) and Bob Kane in Detective Comics (Batman).

In terms of graphical storytelling, Gonzalez makes Super Sons Book 1: The Polarshield Project seem like something entirely new.  It is as if Ridley Pearson's Jon Kent, Ian Wayne, the other characters, and the world in which they live are not an alternate take of an established universe, but are instead something fresh and different.

Super Sons Book 1: The Polarshield Project is not perfect.  There are lapses in the narrative that make it seem as if a page or two is missing in some spots.  However, that does not take away from the fact that The Polarshield Project is a damn fun comic book to read.  In fact, it should say so on the cover, “Damn fun to read.”

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

[This book contains two previews.  The first is preview is of Super Sons Book 2: The Foxglove Mission.  The second is a preview of Dear Justice League by writer Michael Northrop and artist Gustavo Duarte.]

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


No comments:

Post a Comment