Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson, illus. by Ile Gonzalez

Review by Jocelyne Gregory

DC Zoom, DC Comics, April 2, 2019

160 pages, paperback $9.99 (USD), 978-1-4012-8639-2

Ages 8-12, Grades 5-9

Middle-Grade, Graphic Novel

May the flower serve to remind you beauty is no guard against treachery. Power is nothing without compassion.

When Super Sons: The PolarShield Project begins, global warming has gone haywire, causing flooding and storms that destroy lands and crops. Millions of people are forced to leave their homes behind and travel further inland. Enter Project PolarShield, a government program, assisted by Wayne industries (Batman’s company), to create a dust shield over the polar caps and stop the global meltdown. However, the dust from Earth has proven ineffective and must be mined from an asteroid near Mars, meaning only Superman can bring it back in time. He leaves behind Louise and their teenage son, Jon Kent, to answer the call of duty.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne tries to uncover a mysterious program called “Project Noah” and the destruction of Wayne-constructed levees in Metropolis. Damien Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son who has renamed himself Ian, is sent to Wyndemere in order to escape the flooding of Metropolis (one wonders what happened to Gotham or if it, too, was flooded). Ian, eager to prove that he can fight at his father’s side, helps Jon investigate the cause of a sudden illness that has affected Lois. However, it is the story of young fourteen-year-old Candace, a teenager with a secret and a mysterious background, that shines. Branded with the mark of a foxglove, Candace seeks to uncover her own past and her future. Candace gets psychic flashes of places and events. She, Jon and Ian meet a new foe which results in an explosive and cliff-hanger ending. While Ian and Jon’s stories are engaging, Candace’s quest is worth deeper investigation and more time on the page.

There are a few places where the story becomes too coincidental, such as the sudden appearance of an illness that’s affecting children and adults halfway through the novel, characters suddenly declaring themselves partners.

It is the art of Ile Gonzalez that brings this graphic novel to life. It pays to study the details of the characters especially when looking at specific marks or tattoos and how they could be important to the story further on in the series. Character design is an important feature and while some emotions can be abstract, the characters are so expressive that sometimes words aren’t needed to show regret, anger, or even the signs of crying with a red tipped nose. The characters personalities popoff the pages, especially in action heavy scenes and crowds, and it helps carry the story along. The PolarShield Project is a strong beginning to a superhero series that discusses real world issues.

Jocelyne Gregory is a UBC MFA creative writing candidate and a graduate of SFU’s The Writer’s Studio. She’s an author and editor and has provided manuscript consultations with the Sechelt Public Library and the Writer’s Studio. A lifelong gamer and fan of comics, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

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