21st Mar2019

‘Super Sons: The PolarShield Project’ Review (DC Zoom)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ridley Pearson | Art by Ile Gonzalez | Format: Paperback, 160pp | Published by DC Zoom

super-sons-cover

DC Zoom, of which this volume is one of the launch titles, is an imprint aimed at the 8-12 age range. That, of course, was probably the age range comics were actually aimed at once upon a time, until the comics ended up growing up with their fans. This left young fans a bit adrift, though admittedly both DC and Marvel have had several stabs at all age comics over the last three decades. DC Zoom is important because DC have been putting some real effort into it, recruiting some big name authors and launching some major marketing. I love the concept, but what about the execution? Let’s take a look.

As much as we all love Superman and Batman, I think it’s fair to say kids find them a tad difficult to relate to. A hugely powerful alien and an orphan billionaire can be a tough sell to the very young fan. So, just as the rise of the sidekick in comics was to give kids relatable characters, Super Sons takes that idea and runs with it. Meet Jon Kent and Ian ( don’t call me Damian) Wayne, sons of the two biggest icons in the DC universe. While these two are inspired by the same two characters in the DC Universe proper, this is very much author Ridley Pearson’s baby and his take on them and their world is a little different to what we have seen before. This is deliberate, as Ridley Pearson explains in his introduction. He was unfamiliar with the DC universe, so very much wanted this to be his interpretation, his world.

He certainly succeeds. This is a world where the polar ice caps are melting, leaving worldwide damage and devastation, and a world growing increasingly darker as scoiety begins to crack and break down. Superman and Batman do exist in this world, but Pearson cleverly sidelines them very early on, and the story develops along twin paths. One, the main story of a global conspiracy that Jon, Ian, and the mysterious Candace find themselves drawn into investigating. The second more relatable story, the complexities of growing up. Of finding friends, then losing them. Of trusting people, and being betrayed. And finding people who may just become lifelong friends. The powers are nice, but it’s the character that defines these young heroes.

As this is The PolarShield Project: Book One, I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say that this is not a story that is resolved in this book alone, and that may irritate some. If you choose to read just this book and not the next, you’ve wasted your time as barely anything gets resolved. In fact, the conspiracy and everything that goes with it, which is supposed to be the hook to draw you in, ends up being a little too confused and convoluted for me. I know something is going on, and I know Jon and Ian are investigating it, but it’s all quite vague. I know you can’t have multi layered governmental conspiracies when writing for this level of reader, but a little more clarity would have been nice.

Where the book does do well is on the relationships aspect, something I’m guessing is a strength of Pearson’s work elsewhere. All the main characters are written nicely, and the banter between straight laced and moral Jon, and devious, sneaky but decent Ian is nicely done. Candace and Jill Olsen round out the little gang, giving the book a modern Enid Blyton Famous Five vibe in a way. The powers and abilities are there, are even mentioned and used, but ultimately this is a story about the boys and their friendship. The writing is nicely helped by the art of Ile Gonzalez, which is perfect for the all ages market. Easy to follow panels and layouts, lovely clean lines and things kept simple but stylish enough. It’s nice work.

On balance, a good book for DC Zoom, one which my own children enjoyed looking through. Some nice themes and ideas that are generally kept simple enough for all to follow, but just enough depth to keep the attention. I liked Super Sons: The PolarShield Project.

A nice introduction to the wonders of the DC universe for budding comic fans.

***1/2  3.5/5

Super Sons: The PolarShield Project will be available from DC Zoom on April 2nd. You can pre-order it now on Amazon.

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