DC’s Saved by the Belle Reve Brings Back Super Sons and Gotham Academy
The comics industry often allows certain storylines and directions to be more or less abandoned to make way for new ones. Even those who offer unique insights into an established universe are not immune to this fate. But that same industry is also a place where fan-favorite concepts can endure or be revisited – and possibly set up returns of forgotten storylines.
The stories “Gotham Academy: Sophmore Year” (by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Michele Assasraskorn and Steve Wands) and “Back to School” (by Peter Jo. Tomasi, Max Raynor, Adriano Lucas and Rob Leigh) from DC is saved by Belle Reve #1 highlight what made Gotham Academy and super son so special. These stories also indirectly show why these series should return.
Both stories seem to fit well into the pre-established canon of the current DC Universe. super son takes place in the relatively recent past before Jon Kent ventures into space with Jor-El and Damian Wayne gets embroiled in all sorts of deadly conflicts. As a result, the two young men read more innocently and seem to bring out the best in each other. The story largely focuses on their new non-binary friend Sydney, with the two young men working to help them overcome the bullies who torment them.
During this time, the Gotham Academy the story follows the conclusion of previous storylines, taking place after the end of the school year. As Olive left school, her best friend Maps tidied up her dorm. Reuniting supporting characters Pomeline and Colton, Maps spends much of the story trying to find Olive’s missing diary. The story also quietly sets up Colson’s move to Metropolis, while also teasing a future storyline by hinting that he’ll try to find out what happened to Olive.
Both stories are lovely continuations of their fan-favorite original tales, revisiting the character dynamics that ran at the heart of the original comics. The super son The story shows how well Jon and Damian worked as a team. Their friendship with Sydney includes a concise yet to-the-point explanation of what it means to be non-binary. Jon’s support for Sydney could even be seen as a foreshadowing of him finally realizing he’s bisexual. super son was a reimagining of the classic “World’s Finest” formula, aimed at a new generation of fans.
Meanwhile, Gotham Academy takes place in the Post-Flashpoint universe. It was a fun YA mystery that involved many classic Batman villains and introduced some new faces to the DC Universe. It’s also where fans discovered Maps – who has been increasingly teased in recent years to be the one who takes on the mantle of Robin and is set to appear in an upcoming Batgirls story.
Both super son and Gotham Academy are fun titles that approach the DC Universe from new perspectives and with unique tones – more than justifying their place in the DC canon. They are also very well constructed comics. Both short stories highlight why the original comics are so good and why they should have modern continuations or revivals.