However, the boys are very much opposites, and their respective parents take very different approaches to raising them.
As we saw back in the pages of Super Sons #6, Lois and Clark are helping Jonathan grow into his role as an emergent hero by expanding his boundaries. On a Friday night, he is allowed to stay out until ten, a reasonable curfew for a ten-year old. When he protests that Robin is allowed to stay out all night, Clark retorts that Damian’s father “dresses up like a bat and gets hit in the head 28 times a night.” Jonathan concedes the point to his dad, and heads out to do good with his friend.
As an aside -- for those of you who haven’t been reading the title -- Superman and Batman fight like an old married couple in Super Sons. Their banter, and the insults they hurl at each other, have provided some of the funniest moments thus far in Tomasi’s inaugural run.
In Super Sons #10, we see that Bruce’s parenting style is the exact opposite of the Kents’, and consists of imposing more boundaries on his son. As Jonathan coos about their underwater hideout, dubbing it the Fortress of Attitude, the distrustful Damian waits for his father to drop the other shoe.
Sure enough, on top of the high-tech headquarters, and a 3-D printer that makes magnesium alloy batarangs, Wayne’s plans also include an end to his son’s homeschooling. Damian is being sent to the same Metropolis private school that Jon will be attending.
“There is no way I’m going,” hisses Robin, “I could teach the neanderthals there.”
“And that attitude is exactly why you’re going,” replies Batman. “You’re too young be this angry.” He also points out that if Damian cuts classes, he’ll be fired as Robin.
The typically enthusiastic Jon is overjoyed by the news that his friend will be joining him at his new school, but Damian is suitably horrified at the prospect of being seen with a ten-year old. As we saw in the pages of the “Planet of the Capes” arc, the thirteen-year old Damien is somewhat obsessed about fitting in with—and impressing—older kids, like the ones who comprise the Teen Titans.
As soon as their dads are out of the way, a Level 4 crisis emerges as a giant monster attacks Metropolis. The Super Sons spring into action. Their friendship has survived their fathers’ meddling, but will it survive their own bickering? As they confront the strange creature above the rooftops of metropolis, Jonathan proclaims, “This is a job for SUPERBOY… and Robin.”
“I hate you,” replies a surly Damian.
But a graver danger lies ahead for the boys, a far greater threat than a level 4 or less. A two page “intermezzo” shows a Batman of the Future emerging in present day Gotham City. This is the Damian Wayne of Grant Morrison’s Batman #666, a version of Bruce Wayne’s son who sold his soul to the Devil to prevent the Apocalypse. It is the Damian who murdered the future Anti-Christ Batman, thus betraying a promise to his father not to kill.
We know that Damian will make his pact with Satan at the age of fourteen. Has his future self returned to the present to prevent this from happening? And will he doom the world by doing so?
“Super Sons of Tomorrow” promises to have an impact on the future of the DC Universe, but it also touches on a very personal struggle for Damian Wayne: his desire to be older. Tomasi already riffed on this in Super Sons #7.Eager to lead the Teen Titans, Robin took on the Time Commander with them, and in the course of the fight was transformed into an eighty-year old version of himself. He wasn’t very happy about his senescence.
In confronting the grown-up version of himself, Damian may help prevent a horrific future, and may even save his own soul. More importantly he may finally accept that it’s all right to be a kid. And perhaps he’ll stop trying to boss Jonathan around.