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'Sinister Sons' #4 is truly a whale of a time

Comic Books

‘Sinister Sons’ #4 is truly a whale of a time

Space pirates, bonding time, and looming family drama, oh my!

With issue #3, Sinister Sons lost the plot just a little. What should’ve been the continuation of a fairly direct story — two would-be supervillains in Lor and Sinson stake their evil claim in the big wide universe — felt too constrictive and needlessly stymied. Perhaps not yet enough to abandon the boys as they (and “Major Tom”) made their way through the space whale Melville, but clearly enough to make you wonder if the Sinister Sons had it in them for long-term supervillainy.

Luckily, we more or less get back on track with an especially solid fourth issue.

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I think what sets issue #4 apart from #3 is that it tries to do the same thing (make something fun and also push the Sinister Sons along), but it does so in a way that feels more robust and accomplished. When it comes to writing these really fun, wonderfully silly stories, Peter J. Tomasi is a proper ace among DC’s roster. And this issue proves it as the Sinister Sons and Tom spend much of the issue defending Melville from some nasty space pirates.

There’s delightfully cheesy dialogue (the pirates are nailed to a T), lots of weird sci-fi injections (without feeling overwhelming), and that unrelenting sense that this is meant to be fun above all else. Yet we still got plenty of subtext and much-needed development, as Lor and Sinson have plenty of opportunities to engage with each other (and, again, Tom) as they discover more about themselves, each other, and the real face of the universe that they hope to one day overthrow.

The Lor-Sinson dynamic stepped further away from my initial Super Sons comparisons, and the pair have this hugely antagonistic thing that’s becoming its own thing entirely. (A lot of that is because neither finally seem like they have an edge over the other, and this issue demonstrated that they’re both certain and uncertain in equal measure and that their only hope is really leaning on one another in a decidedly more dysfunctional manner.)

Sinister Sons

Variant cover by Jonboy Meyers. Courtesy of DC Comics.

A big concern I had across the first three issues is moving the boys out into the big, wide universe. It’s there, I firmly believe, that they’ll have the space to really test themselves and their “friendship,” and we got some of that in this issue with an especially chaotic battle that made them come together against the odds. At the same time, issue #4 introduces a new player, and while I won’t spoil who that is, let’s say it’s connected to Sinson and his search of legacy. What I can say, though, is that this introduction comes at a nearly perfect time — the Sinister Sons’ dynamic is still developing, and this new character could complicate their burgeoning relationship just as much as lends Sinson his own personal test of sorts.

It’s a really solid example of what happens when the boys are given things to bash up against, and when the world encroaches on this thing they’re building together. It’s that source of tension and world-building that takes them from arguing pre-teens to characters with power and agency all their own, and it makes a silly adventure story resonant with the depth and emotionality the Sinister Sons really deserve. That, and the more connected this book is to the DCU proper, the more opportunity these boys have to really make an impact.

While issue #3 did suffer with some deficits in character development, it still felt like a high point artistically from the duo of artist Vasco Georgiev and colorist Tamra Bonvillain. That issue, especially, defined what makes this book really great: big, bold, and bright, it plays with the over-the-top sci-fi of DC proper in some really interesting and compelling ways. And issue #4 was yet another chance for the art team to further step up.

The design of Melville, for instance, continues to be a really vital feat for this book. Just as the Sinister Sons were making their way deeper into the whale’s, um, innards to help it space-jump away from danger, the really solid (and slightly unsettling) anatomy was our visual clue about how we were really delving into the heart of the Sinister Sons. (I don’t want to spoil too much of the “exploring Melville” stuff, but it’s all done in a way that feels both extra gross and silly, and that sweet spot is a nice bit of added commentary about the weirdness of being alive and engaging with others in a thread that’s massively important for this story.)

Sinister Sons

Variant cover by Serg Acuña. Courtesy of DC Comics.

And even when we’re not seeing the inner workings of a massive space whale, we got to see stuff around New Korugar — more than just being the base for the Yellow Power Battery (and Sinson’s home world), it’s just another way in which this book places the boy’s adventure in the grander universe. It lends heft and a different visual edge or tinge to their own happenings, and that’s not only essential from a story perspective, but it balances out all the overt bright and shiny vibes associated with the boys themselves.

And, of course, we can’t forget about the space pirates. Again, I love the silly, slightly dumb gimmicks that DC doles out, and this one especially is a prime example of how to connect the boys with a weird universe while giving them a sense of odds and overarching confrontation that can test their mettle (and yet still feels appropriate given their young/immature status). The pirates themselves were basically goblins with a solid mix of sci-fi and old-school armaments, and that proper balance wasn’t just well executed but another sign of how well this book is developed to define, support, and extend the Sinister Sons and how we might view/perceive their role in the future.

We’re just left with two issues of the Sinister Sons, and there’s still plenty of story to tell. That also means that there’s plenty of chances for things to fall apart, but I remain especially hopeful after issue #4. This chapter genuinely worked because it did what this series needed to do — tell a fun story — and still demonstrate and explore some bigger odds and larger emotions without interfering with that “fun-ness” of it all. We got lots of oversized action, the promise of an interesting new friendship, and stakes that are going to test the Sinister Sons collectively and individually in some big ways. Consider the plot retained in a wholly impressive manner.

'Sinister Sons' #4 is truly a whale of a time
‘Sinister Sons’ #4 is truly a whale of a time
Sinister Sons #4
After some missteps in issue #3, 'Sinister Sons' roars back with a wild and fun issue with plenty of stakes and big-time feelings.
Reader Rating0 Votes
This issue really captures the fun and joy that this continuing story needs.
We get lots of world-building but never in a way that interferes with the boys' fun.
The art continues to be this massive force of energy, intent, and playfulness.
It remains to be seen if we can really, truly test the boys' mettle and newfound partnership.
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