DC had towards the tail end of the Silver Age the occasional story of the “Super Sons,” namely the sons of the World’s Finest team in the form of Superman Jr. (AKA Clark Kent Jr.) and Batman Jr. (AKA Bruce Wayne Jr.). And before you ask, as these were “imaginary” stories (AKA out-of-continuity tales), DC did not identify the mothers of either of those two guys.
But hey, Superman and Batman both have sons in regular continuity now. Maybe they should meet, and they do in volume two of the current Superman series subtitled Trials of the Super Son.
For all that the subtitle and cover image suggest a good deal of Clark and Jon Kent hanging around with Bruce and Damien Wayne, the meeting is actually covered in a single pair of issues in the middle of the book. Writer Peter J Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason had actually done a lot of work with Batman and the current Robin before moving over to the Man of Steel, so it made sense to bring the pair of fathers and sons together. It also goes a long way towards showing the differences in parenting styles and the basic personality of the two boys. This Superman is new to this universe, so this Batman isn’t quite trusting of him yet. In point of fact, the two only get to a first name basis with each other towards the end of the second issue. But the real conflict comes when regular kid Jon “Superboy” Kent has to deal with, well, let’s just say “eccentric” Damien “Robin” Wayne and the two don’t get along. Jon’s friendly enough, but Damian just pushes buttons, and since Jon’s powers are inconsistent at best, that does mean when Jon finally does haul off and give Damien a well-deserved punch, Damien can take it without too much trouble. Besides, Jon keeps pointing out that he’s a little taller. As the fathers both want Jon and Damien to actually learn to work together, it almost seems to work. Almost.
But as for the rest of the trade, it’s a lot of fun stuff involving a trip to the county fair, a meeting with the last survivor of the Losers on Dinosaur Island on what looks like a continuation of the New Frontier and perhaps best of all was a two part team up with Frankenstein and his (ex) wife the Bride, as drawn by Doug Mahnke, the artist who created those characters for Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers maxi-series. As much as Action Comics seems to simply be setting up for bigger stories down the road, though, Superman just dispenses with fun and exciting adventures with Superman and his whole immediate family. I’m inclined to think this one is the better Superman book right now. Nine out of ten frozen sneezes.