Super Sons: The Polarshield Project is written by Ridley Pearson (Kingdom Keepers) with art by Ile Gonzalez, and letters by Saida Temofonte. The book is part of DC Comics’ DC Zoom line and the first of three in the Super Sons series that Pearson is writing. Super Sons: The Polarshield Project follows Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, and newcomer, Candace as they try to stop a worldwide flood caused by the melting ice caps. Now, most of the world has been forced to move inland as coastal cities continue to be wiped out from the devastation.
In order to stop the impending flood, the government enacts the Polarshield Project, a shield that will help lower the Earth’s temperature. However, not everything about the groundbreaking project is as it seems. Both Jon and Damian feel the pressure of being in an unfamiliar school, town, and environment, thanks to the dangerous flood. Now Jon, Damian, and Candance are being thrown into the investigation and are forced to work together.
I have had doubts about this book for a while now, not necessarily about the plot but instead about Damian Wayne’s characterization. For some background, Damian Wayne is my favorite of all the Robins and one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. When Super Sons: The Polarshield Project was first announced, I couldn’t help but notice Damian didn’t quite look like himself. I don’t know whether DC editorial, Pearson, or Gonzalez decided to design Damian with pale skin and brown hair. That being said, I do know that his atrocious dialogue can only be attributed to Pearson.
Damian, if not written correctly, loses the layers that make the character unique. Instead of coming off as a complicated character with a history of abuse, parental pressure, and violence he just comes off as a traditional bratty kid. While Damian can be a brat, he’s not only this. He demands to be called Ian, for reasons that are not entirely addressed, and he isn’t Robin in this book. Instead, he dresses up a no-name vigilante, later calling himself bat-kid, without the permission of Batman.
Jon also at times feels like a caricature of himself. He is missing his trademark Superman optimism. In this story, him and Damian are not friends prior to these events, and as such do not have the classic Super Sons chemistry the comic book has been able to create. The entire book seems to ignore the rich history of both of these characters in favor of giving Pearson the opportunity to create a pseudo-origin story to not only their lives as vigilantes but also as friends. This opportunity, unfortunately, results in the white-washing of Damian Wayne and an overall poorly executed story.
Outside of the classic DC characters, the people of Gotham, Metropolis and the outer cities also act absolutely bizarre. Regular townsfolk call Damian and Jon “flood runners” and berate them for moving inland to escape the deadly floods. People are also especially mean to Damian since Wayne Enterprises’ floodwall failed. Unless Wayne Enterprises caused global warming by themselves, which the book did not establish, this logic makes no sense to me. I imagine this is some metaphor about refugees but it lands flat when white characters are pointing out other white characters for simply moving to a different city. In the world of DC Comics, moving from Gotham to Chicago should not be that radical.
This book feels like an AU fanfiction I could hate-read for free at three in the morning. It is not an accurate representation of these characters, it does not offer a good re-telling of their origins, and ultimately, in re-telling Damian’s origin, it whitewashes him and ignores that is he is half Middle-Eastern, something in the comics he is immensely proud of.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to a child or adult even though Gonzalez’s art is good. If you miss Super Sons, go re-read Super Sons: Rebirth by Peter J. Tomasi, Alisson Borges, and Jorge Jimenez, or you can also pick up the current ongoing run, Adventures of the Super Sons by Peter J. Tomasi, Art Thibert, and Carlo Barberi instead.
Super Sons: The Polarshield Project is available now in book and comic book stores everywhere.
Super Sons: The Polarshield Project
This book feels like an AU fanfiction I could hate-read for free at three in the morning. It is not an accurate representation of these characters, it does not offer a good re-telling of their origins, and ultimately, in re-telling Damian’s origin, it whitewashes him and ignores that is he is half Middle-Eastern, something in the comics he is immensely proud of. I wouldn’t recommend this book to a child or adult even though Gonzalez’s art is good.