In an alternative world, in a near-future, we find an Earth that is slowly going to the dogs as flooding is running wild and disease is rampant. While Superman has headed to Mars to try and fight the good planet-salvaging fight and Batman is off to Asia to do the same, the focus here is on their offspring and a couple of other youngsters to save the day.
Where the key characters of this Ridley Pearson-penned tale are concerned, we have Jon Kent and Ian Wayne. Yes, Ian. Jon Kent is much like his father, in that he is always looking to do the right thing and only uses his almighty powers when completely necessary. For Ian Wayne, he has the oft-pig-headed elements of his famed father, although so far he lacks any of the redeeming qualities associated with the Caped Crusader. Either way, this duo eventually team up to tackle a common interest; joined in action by mysterious newcomer Candace and bookworm Tilly.
The main crux of The PolarShield Project is a decent enough premise – superkids and pals playing detective as they look to help bring down the nefarious bad guys – but it’s not exactly the sort of story that has you flipping from page to page, desperate to see what lies ahead. Author Ridley Pearson himself opens the book by explaining how he isn’t all that familiar with the canon of DC Comics and, while that does allow for a fresh approach, it also really hurts the “Ian” Wayne character. This take on Damian Wayne is the major disappointment of Super Sons, and the depiction of our alternative Ian does nothing but make the character consistently dislikeable; removing any of the positive qualities of Bruce Wayne’s erratic and intense son.
Of course, the whole relationship of Superman and Batman is so often positioned as the light, all-hopeful hero and his brooding, darker-minded opposite. And here, young Jon Kent is great in his role. Where newcomers Candace and Tilly are concerned, if we’re being perfectly honest, right now Tilly feels like a largely unneeded character, while Candace is certainly intriguing if not a little left too much in the shadows in The PolarShield Project.
While the story itself is left wanting, the art from Ile Gonzalez is also a bit of a mixed bag. The pleasant and floaty presentation of the story and its world has a breezy, enjoyable feel to it, yet the appearance of the two central characters – Jon and Ian – just feels a little off.
It’s a tricky one as to whether The PolarShield Project is simply a so-so release or if it’s merely a case of being a tale that will be enjoyed far more by younger readers. For this writer at least, this opening chapter of a longer story doesn’t exactly leave you eagerly waiting for the next installment. Instead, it’s all sadly a bit, well, dull.
This one isn’t a total write-off, but there’s a lot of work to be done in Super Sons if this is to become a must-read ongoing series for many. For younger readers, this could still be a nice ‘n’ light read to help them into the world of superheroes. For the rest of us, Peter J. Tomasi's earlier Super Sons run is a far superior title if you're looking for some Superboy and Robin team-up action.
SUPER SONS: BOOK 1 - THE POLARSHIELD PROJECT / WRITER: RIDLEY PEARSON / ARTIST: ILE GONZALEZ / PUBLISHER: DC COMICS / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 2ND