Vandal Savage has waited 5,000 years to fight the Super Sons and he’s kind of pissed. He’s never fought someone like these two though. The boys’ time-traveling adventures continue in this latest chapter.
Damian and Jon are back in the present, but that doesn’t mean they’re finished fighting. The immortal villain Vandal Savage has tracked them down and he’s held a bit of a grudge for the past few thousand years. The time traveling adventures of the Super Sons are coming back to haunt them as they face off against this fearsome foe.
What is continually impressive about Challenge of the Super Sons is how writer Peter J. Tomasi doesn’t waste any space. Every detail is important and gets used in some shape or fashion. What looked like a gag in the previous issue turned into a major plot point in this one, allowing the boys to strike a decisive blow against Savage. That’s some great planning.
The dynamic between Robin and Superboy is always fun and this issue has more of the same. What is striking though is the difference in how they see their relationship. It parallels that of their fathers’ and it’s a little sad when you look at it. There’s a sequence early on where Damian is convinced he’ll have to fight Savage alone while Jon knows he can handle this fight because he has his best friend by his side. This took me out of the story a bit because they don’t see their friendship the same way. Jon is all in, while Damian isn’t, although that could be just his surface thoughts and not how he really feels.
This is shown in a beautiful page from artist Max Raynor. It’s split down the middle with Damian on one side and Jon on the other, making it look like one person. Letterer Rob Leigh differentiates each character’s thoughts with colored caption boxes.
Raynor makes Vandal Savage look like an absolute monster. Even though he’s just standing there, he is very intimidating. You can sense the raw power at his disposal. He’s an immortal and arrogant. That shows on his face and how he carries himself. He’s also frustrated this he now has to deal with children.
Colorist Luis Guerrero uses red to further the intimidation factor, both from Savage as well as Jon. First we see this eerie glow from Superboy’s heat vision and then from the hot knife in Savage’s hand. It cuts through the evening scene with a fiery light.
Robin and Superboy have no time to rest lately, bouncing from one epic encounter to the next. They’re heroes though. That means they’re not backing down. Plus, this is pretty fun and despite the dangers, they’re having a good time.