REVIEW: ‘Superman and Robin Special,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Superman and Robin Special #1 - But Why Tho

Superman and Robin Special #1 is a one-shot published by DC Comics. Written by Peter J. Tomasi. Viktor Bogdanovic is the penciller. Bogdanovic also provides the inks, alongside Scott Hanna, Matt Santorelli, and Daniel Henriques. The colour art is by Ivan Plascencia and Matt Herms. The letterer is Tom Napolitano. 

The Super-Sons are brought back together. Robin and Superman reunite after an alert flashes at Fortress of Solitude. Jon and Damian travel to the Arctic where they find a mysterious cube. With it brings creatures and newcomers with unknown agendas. The boys must try and remove the invaders whilst not hurting the Fortress’ vulnerable residents.

The thing that draws readers to this comic will not be the plot. Slightly longer due to it being a one-shot, Tomasi doesn’t seek to fit much more important content into the extra pages. It takes a long time to get to the main conflict of the story. And even when it does reach the core, it is dull and largely uninteresting. There is a heart to the story, using a slight twist to adjust who we think is the main villain of the piece. In addition, some fun elements by the conclusion begin to claw back some excitement towards the events the heroes have found themselves in. But there is no true sense of depth, nor is any part of the story itself engaging enough to muster much excitement. 

What does shine in Superman and Robin Special #1 is the characters. This comic is a follow-up to the Super-Sons series and does a brilliant job of catching the readers up to what the young men have been up to. The banter between each other and the brilliant jokes are infectious and have the reader grinning as they fly. Whilst the story doesn’t have a lot of, well, anything for several pages, the conversation is enough to maintain interest. It could be argued that the story fell to the wayside to allow for the catch-up.

The dialogue isn’t perfect. Huge amounts of exposition are given to certain parts of the story, especially if they relate to the specific item that the story revolves around. Most of it is important, but the explanations can drag for too long. Towards the end of each topic, it loses momentum and has to build again. But in contrast to too much, there is too little of other comments. It is understandable why references to missing their fathers are reduced as it may lower the mood of the overall positive comic. But more commentary on what they have been through could have been helpful to show how much they have grown since the series ended. Alternating between being goofy and melancholy is a hard balance but can be achieved.

The art is a part of this one-shot that works very well. The multiple inkers create a superb variety of line-weights. But whilst other comics can struggle to stay consistent with so many different hands drawing on the same piece, Superman and Robin Special #1 stays consistent and there aren’t drastic changes page by page. The designs of both the young heroes are fantastic, having similarities to a 90s issue. The difference in height between Damian and Jon diversifies the silhouettes and looks hilarious too. The technology designs and the multiple creatures seen in this comic look phenomenal, especially with the extra inkers.

The colours are fine, but not particularly special. Both colourists demonstrate a  nice understanding of lighting. In each location, whether it be the dark city or the bright Fortress, the colours on the costumes change slightly. An important thing to note is that Superman and Robin are often the most vibrant things in this comic, with much of their surroundings being dull in their shades.

The lettering is very good. The font actually seems larger than in other comics, with the emboldened words much larger than normal. They are incredibly easy to read like this which may be helpful for younger readers.

Superman and Robin Special #1 is a disappointing reunion. This comic brings back one of the best friendships in comics, rivaling the likes of Green Lantern/Flash and Wally West/Roy Harper. And there are glimpses of what makes them golden in this special. The exchanges between them can be delectable. And yet Tomasi delivers a boring story with dialogue not quite good enough to save it. Even the art isn’t good enough to really capture the attention. As this is partially a signal boost for the solo comics these two young heroes are starring in, it is probably best if you read those instead.

Superman and Robin Special #1 is available where comics are sold.


Superman and Robin Special #1
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TL;DR

As this is partially a signal boost for the solo comics these two young heroes are starring in, it is probably best if you read those instead.