Is The 2020 Edition Of The Super Sons Omnibus Worth Your Money?

DC's breakout hit of 2017 has gotten multiple Omnibus releases. Is the newest one worth your money?
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To anyone in the know of the world of DC, the classic comic distributor, Super Sons should be a familiar name. Even to those who are outside of the know, there is a sense of familiarity in the characters on the cover: the son of Superman, Jon Kent, and the son of Batman (as well as current Robin), Damian Wayne. Both blaze the symbols and colors of their fathers and represent a sense of immediate recognisability even if the viewer doesn't know the exact characters as they are in these comics. 

The Super Sons Omnibus
Source: Amazon

Published in 2017 with the art of Jorge Jimenez and the writing of Peter Tomasi, Super Sons was a breakout hit that many have credited as being a wholesome and welcome break from the onslaught of more serious superhero comics. As a result, it got a 16 issue run that was succeeded by a 12 issue run called Adventures of the Super Sons. As of late 2021, DC has also begun running a new install slated to last another 12 issues called Challenge of the Super Sons. What's clear as day is that Jon Kent and Damian Wayne as they are in Super Sons will not be going away, despite how it is now a departure from the main canon of DC. 

The Original Run and Omnibus of the Super Sons

Considering the popularity of the characters and their short runs in comics, it isn't much of a surprise that Super Sons had an omnibus prior to the version released in 2020. Back in 2018, DC released an omnibus that contained all 16 issues along with 2 extra issues from the Superman run of the time written by Tomasi that tie into the existence of the Jon Kent character and his eventual alliance with the current Robin. It also included a holiday special that was ungodly charming and a one-off about the Superpets and the Batpets which, again, was ungodly charming.

It was a good omnibus, too. Alongside containing all of the currently printed comics for the current incarnation of the Super Son franchise, the original 2018 omnibus also contained a variety of development art by Jimenez as well as a full collection of the full-color alternative covers for each issue. There were even development sketches of the pages themselves, both in ink and in pre-ink stages, which was a neat look at the production method of the artists. There was only one issue with this omnibus: 

DC decided to give Super Sons a little more. 

The Super Sons Omnibus
Source: Amazon

Adventures of the Super Sons

The return to the characters featured Tomasi again at the helm for writing, but with a variety of different artists other than Jimenez for the art. Most specifically, Carlo Barberi took over, giving it a different but still distinct and well-done art style that was nice to look at and read with. It was twelve issues long and very self-contained, telling a more fantastical story than the previous comic had by forcing Jon and Damian into space and alternate dimensions. 

It did, however, present a problem. 

The old Super Sons Omnibus now was missing a full 12 issue run of the characters. They knew it, too because Adventures of the Super Sons ended in 2019, and the new Omnibus was released only a year later with the same original contents and bonus art alongside all of Adventures. With two very expensive Omnibus collections on your hands, that leaves the reader asking a very important question. 

What's Really the Difference Between the Two Omnibuses?

While both Omnibuses are complete for their time, and full of great art and storytelling, that doesn't necessarily mean that one is better than the other for the given individual. The original Omnibus follows the story of the Super Sons in the context of their familial ties and the evolution of their abilities, always keeping a surprisingly grounded focus for a story about superhero children. 

Adventures of the Super Sons, however, is a lot more grandiose and fantastical. 

The Super Sons Omnibus
Source: Comic Book Theory

That is to say, Adventures has a bit of a tonal shift that's more about high adventure in grander scales such as an adventure in space and alternative dimensions. In that sense, it's a lot more freeform, and the writers are a fair bit more liberal about how far they can go with the excessively bizarre storytelling. For example, there is a section of the story that is dedicated to an 'artificial' Kryptonite that causes Jon to break into two different halves. Any of his biological oddities here are mostly attributed to his half-human nature.  

The Super Sons Omnibus comics
Source: Reddit

It is definitely more open and willing to tackling more extreme ideas. That said, this can at times make it seem a little tonally dissonant with the original run of Super Sons, which even at its most extreme always tied back to Earth and the two families that these boys originated from. Adventures of the Super Sons is definitely more out of the left-field, but, that's not a vote against it, just that it may seem a little bit more bizarre than the original Super Sons.

What is preserved is the likable characters and the incredibly well-realized dynamic between Superboy and Robin, as well as the overall aura of creative minds working on fun worlds. 

So When It Comes To Your Omnibus Choice, It Comes Down to What?

Essentially your choice of Omnibus--the 2018 copy of the 2020 copy--comes down to whether or not you're interested in Adventures of the Super Sons or not. That is, after all, the distinctive difference between the 2018 print and the 2020 print. Both share the same concept art, alternative covers, and production art bonuses. Both are hardcovers with book slips, with the original Omnibus being 608 pages and the new Omnibus being 888 pages. It's a hefty one, that 2020 one, and very heavy. So you'll also want to make sure you even have room on your shelf for either of these monstrously big books. 

The Super Sons Omnibus
Source: Reddit

Either way, the presence of whichever Omnibus you're interested in does signal one thing for sure: the Super Sons aren't going away any time soon, even if there are gaps between production. As of the hiring of Michael Bendis onto the DC team, a lot has changed about the characters, but the fact that they can still sell an expensive Omnibus of the original team-up of Jon Kent and Damian Wayne says quite a bit about their longevity as characters.

In fact, shortly after the Omnibus was announced, Jorge Jimenez started teasing for the next installment of the Super Sons franchise, and since then they've begun releasing the third Super Sons collection: Challenge of the Super Sons. It is unclear whether this will mark the creation of a third Omnibus due to its different, more web-friendly format, but both it and the 2020 Omnibus shows that there is always a possibility for more Super Sons.

A writer located in the lush Redwood forests of Northern California who loves animation and food.

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