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The Super-Sons groovily invite you swinging hepcats to rap with them. On Lexor. – World’s Finest Comics #238

January 27, 2012

There’s a massive confluence of silliness in this comic, a gathering of stupid that threatens to collapse in upon itself and suck us all into never ending downward spiral of terrible. You see, in this book the Super-Sons — the imaginary obnoxious hipster doofus kids of Superman, Batman and their never-revealed mates — travel to Lexor, the Silver Age planet that celebrated the villainous Lex Luthor as the greatest hero in the Universe. Lexor, where a goofy gigantism plague is devastating the populace and threatens to turn Superman Jr. into a Macy’s parade balloon up there on the cover. (Incidentally, did you ever wonder where Lexor was located in the galaxy relative to Bizarro World? Like maybe they were stuffed into the same corner and formed out of the same stupid primordial matter?)

Super-Sons. Lexor. Gigantism. It’s a potent compost, one that might give lie to the “World’s Finest” tag.

For those unfamiliar with the Super-Sons, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. were the adolescent offspring of their famous fathers, and they incorporated the trying-too-hard dialogue of the Teen Titans (the Sons and the Titans were both co-conjured by scripter Bob Haney) in a cloying, fruitless attempt to connect with younger readers. If you’re just skimming one of their appearances, you can almost forget that they’re younger versions of their dads, and start wondering “Why the f–k are Superman and Batman talking like this?” And then you realize. Perhaps to help differentiate them, Batman Jr.’s eyes were visible, whereas Batman’s are usually the solid white. A young Alex Ross was pleased, I’m sure.

It was eventually revealed that they were mere simulations inside a Fortress of Solitude computer, so that the World’s Finest duo could see what their children would turn out like. And one imagines that, after viewing the simulation, our heroes promptly looked in the Yellow Pages for the nearest all-night vasectomy clinic. DOUBLE ORDER.

But that was yet to come. In this tale (crafted by the co-creators of these derivative dopes, Haney and Dick Dillin) we’re in the heyday of the Super-Sons, as they bop about on a motorcycle like costumed Peter Fondas and Dennis Hoppers, spouting things that adults imagine kids say. It’s while they’re on two wheels — Superman Jr. rides bitch, take from that what you will — that they come upon some (literal) clowns roughing up a fetching babe and her travelling road show. In the immediate aftermath of the rescue, we’re treated to this overload of sexism and stupidity:

So Dora travels around entertaining the downtrodden with puppets. More power to her. She’s in for her toughest crowd yet, though, because her next stop is the hoosegow. “Live from Folsom Prison: A Puppet Show.” And, since her last volunteer assistants didn’t work out — the whole “tried to rape her” thing — the Sons step into the breach. Off they go to prison, put on the show and OMG DORA WAS REALLY ARDORA LUTHOR WHO JUST BUSTED HER FATHER OUT OF THE JAIL UNDER THE SONS’ NOSES.

How embarassing. Your parents are so totally going to ream you.

Ardora — a daughter who Lex didn’t know about — has a conveniently parked rocketship to take Lex back to the fairyland Lexor. That horrible gigantism plague needs a cure, and Lex is the only one with the brain power to come up with one. And, no surprise, this was his diabolical plan all along:

Lex’s eagerness to see his wife, the original Ardora (which makes Dora Ardora Jr. — Jrs all around, I guess) is deflated a tad when he sees how, um, inflated she is:

I’ll hand it to Lex: If I were him (i.e. a career criminal) and I returned to my wife and saw that she’d morphed into some Biggest Loser land-grazer, I don’t know that I’d take it as well as he does here. He immediately gets going on the cure. I’m a bit surprised he didn’t pull a Newt Gingrich and serve her with divorce papers, what with him being a great evil mastermind and all. Or at least say that he had to get something from the car and the last thing she’d ever hear of him would be the sound of squealing tires — something like that. But love conquers all, even for villains.

The Super-Sons. Remember them? They stowed away on the rocket ship (with Supes still mooning over Dora), but are neutralized quickly when Superman Jr.’s powers are nixed by the red sun. USELESS. But they’re suddenly needed when it’s revealed that Lex’s lab, which stored the gigantism cure, has been destroyed by an irradiated meteor. What’re the odds, right? Lex zaps young Supes with yellow energy top re-power him, and off the Sons go in search of a special Lizard that has a venom which holds the only hope for Lexor and its legion of fatties. And the Sons find it just in the nick of time, because Superman Jr. is morphing into John Candy:

The lizard venom cures him before he has to start shopping in the “Big” half of Big and Tall, and his envenomed blood is distilled into a vaccine. Joy. And now it’s the awkward moment we’ve all been waiting for. Will Lex go willingly back to prison with the Sons? Will there be a fight? Will they have to call their dads to bail their asses out?

None of the above, because the Luthor clan is as sadly disfunctional as you can get:

Dora — the David Kaczynski of Lexor.

And that’s it. The tale of how the Super-Sons went to Lexor stumbled and bumbled their way to saving the populace from being fat. A cautionary tale, to be sure…

If you haven’t picked up on the negative vibe, let me be clear: I’m not a Super-Sons fan. I grew up loving World’s Finest, which offered the unfathomable riches of  the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel in a dual adventure EACH AND EVERY MONTH. It was one of my favorites, and that horrible day when I held issue #323 in my seven-year-old hands and saw “THE END” emblazoned across the cover was a sad day indeed. The Sons and their WF run had gone by the wayside before I came around, or else I probably wouldn’t have fallen so in love with the title — or maybe I would have, who the hell knows. But now, as an adult, seeing their juvenile asshattery profaning this holiest of comics disgusts me to no end. I can’t like these guys, with their insufferable dialogue and rank stupidity. I just can’t. They’re douches. They’re douches where the two greatest icons in comics should rightfully be. They’re not a change of pace. They’re a tripping wire. I WANT THEM BLOTTED FROM HISTORY LIKE UNPERSONS IN ORWELL’S 1984.

And I have no personal beef with Mr. Haney. Some of his stories were quite good, and the dialogue he wrote for the Teen Titans was rather delightful in a square, eye-rollingly bad way (he could have thrown in a contraction now and again, though). But here I’m driven nuts by it. I’m driven nuts by the whole thing. (The art, inked by John Calnan, is passable — and I’m a tad amused by the enfattened Superman Jr. — but it certainly isn’t sufficient to rescue things.)

The Super-Sons. My God, I hate them.

But, oddly enough, I don’t have a problem with Lexor. Or Ardora. Or Dora. Maddeningly inconsistent, I know.

This comic was reprinted with other Super-Sons stories in a trade a few years back (The Saga of the Super Sons — no hyphen). I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot cattle prod, but others enjoy this stuff. If you’re unfamiliar, you might too. Groove on.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. L L permalink
    January 28, 2012 1:21 am

    I flipped through the trade of the Super Sons and it literally made me nauseous, it turned my stomach. It was so strange. I felt like I was looking at something mankind was not meant to know.

  2. March 24, 2013 6:41 pm

    I brought this trade home from the library one weekend, actually excited to dive into it (I’m a big Haney fan), but 20 or so pages in and I was done. It’s such a brilliantly insane “silver age” type of idea, and on the surface I want to like it so bad, but I just can’t. Add to it the fact that I’ve never been a huge fan of Dick Dillin, and this was a bad call all around.

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