REVIEW: Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons
In the 1960s, Mort Weisinger ran more than a few stories speculating on what would happen had Superman and Batman married and had offspring, although no two stories were connected. Under Murray Boltinoff, World’s Finest Comics in 1973 began a series of stories about Clark Kent, Jr, and Bruce Wayne, Jr., which had its following. More recently, Superman and Lois had a son, Jonathan, while Batman met Damian, his biological son, grown in a test tube by Ra’s al Ghul. Once they established themselves, it was inevitable the youngster would be paired up and a series of entertaining Super Sons stories ran, mostly in the capable hands of writer Peter Tomasi.
Now, Warner Animation has paired them in a brand-new animated feature, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. This is one of the most consistently satisfying offerings from the studio in some time and was fun to watch, despite some obvious beats.
Interestingly, for the second time in a few years, the threat comes from Starro the Conqueror, although in this telling, it came to Earth from Krypton and is an evolving visual, unlike the original Mike Sekowsky design. One by one, Starro takes over Earth’s super-protectors, keeping them all aboard the JLA Watchtower, slowly infiltrating the humans around the globe.
As this story develops in the background, the first two-thirds of the film deals with Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Grazer) discovering first his powers, then that his father (Travis Willingham) is the World’s Greatest Super-Hero. Bringing Jon to the Batcave for an examination, Batman (Troy Baker) introduces them to Damian (Jack Griffo), who is as arrogant and self-confidant as he was initially in the comics. The boys are even more diametrically opposed as their fathers once were, and it takes time for them to find a way to work together.
This has to be the most entertaining Super Sons story not written by Tomasi. Jeremy Adams, who also writes for the comics, does a fine job with the characters. It is marred by a predictable final third that lacks suspense or surprise.
Visually, the new CGI tools at their disposal provide some nice panoramic backdrops for the story and nice character motion, with a smattering of hand-drawn animation. (Note: The opening visuals, silently recapping the origins, is from comics veteran Michael Golden.)
We can fully appreciate this thanks to a brilliant 2160p/HDR scan, coupled with a fine DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix. Together, it is a terrific home viewing experience.
The Special Features (only on the Blu-ray disc) are perfunctory with Rival Sons: Jonathan and Damian (14:41), featuring the hammy producer Jim Krieg, DC creative director Mike Carlin, supervising producer Rick Morales, director Matt Peters, Adams, and a clinical psychologist.
Additionally, we have From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series’ two-part “The Demon’s Quest”.