Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez's reimagining of DC Comics' Super Sons for middle grade audiences continues with Super Sons: The Foxglove Mission. The second installment released as part of DC Zoom -- DC's middle grade publishing imprint -- following this past April's Super Sons: The PolarShield Project, this new original graphic novel takes even more creative liberties with the source material in a timely tale that continues the ecological and social commentary prevalent in the opening installment of the trilogy.
Picking up directly from the events of the previous original graphic novel, The Foxglove Mission has Jon Kent and Ian Wayne, the young sons of Superman and Batman, on a mission to save the world from itself while both their fathers are preoccupied with pressing assignments of their own. While Superman is recovering particles on Mars that may save Earth's environment and Batman searches for a cure to a deadly illness sweeping the globe that has already rendered Lois Lane comatose, it's up to the boys to defend their home from new rising threats as the climate rapidly worsens.
Having established the characters and this alternate version of the DC Universe, Pearson is significantly more comfortable straying from the main DCU incarnations of the characters and world in this sophomore outing. This is made more evident as the scope dramatically increases from the first installment, which had kept its action to the city of Wyndemere, populated with those leaving coastal cities threatened by the rising tides. This is also evident with expanded role for Candace, a character introduced in The PolarShield Project who may be the key to helping Jon and Ian save the day.
It's important to note, especially to longtime readers that may cling a bit more fervently to established mainstream continuity, that this story is written primarily for younger readers and occurs outside of the main DC Universe. With that said, not quite all of the storytelling risks quite land like they should the more Pearson strays from his eponymous leads, the more the overall story starts to lose its focus. Fortunately, this second installment also has a little more fun with the proceedings, especially regarding the interplay between Jon, Ian, Candace and their expanding supporting cast.
The other major strength carrying over from the first installment is Ile Gonzalez's artwork. The increased variety in environments allows Gonzalez to move away from being constrained to illustrating conventional superhero action in favor of different visual sensibilities and styles. There is more of a vibrancy here than The PolarShield Project, especially as the global effects of the story's crisis is unveiled and its recurring antagonists given more of a spotlight. And with less of an emphasis on the usual urban-based action -- which still plays a minor role here -- Gonzalez opts to use a softer, warmer color palette to enrich the world of The Foxglove Mission.
Now two installments in, DC Zoom's Super Sons trilogy is a story of ecological urgency carried by the familiar, fan-favorite sons of the World's Finest. As Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez move deeper into their reimagining of the characters and DCU, they take more storytelling risks as they expand their world and the heroes' mission. Fortunately, this is usually done to positive results but occasionally falters with middling effectiveness however it is clear that the creative team has a unique story they're crafting that position the sons of Superman and Batman for newer, younger audiences in a timely adventure that avoids being overly preachy with its commentary. In doing so, the team has created a direct continuation that counts on readers having picked up The PolarShield Project as the story moves towards its climactic conclusion.
Super Sons: The Foxglove Mission releases Nov. 5.