What is this all about?
The story begins with panels showing Damian fighting and overcoming the clay armies of Ygarddis. Kraklow is the narrator. He talks about achievement at the expense of others and an “every person for themselves” perspective. Kraklow says, “It is simply the perspective of one who has seen the forgotten truths inside all of us.” With Kraklow as the narrator and the art depicting Damian fighting, the message seems clear. Both Kraklow and Damian will learn a similar lesson in this story: to protect others rather than fight for themselves. In this issue, the old magician, Kraklow, gains a new motivation. And, a living planet is pushed to the brink by a group of children.
The story transitions to Ygarddis who has captured Hard Line and Big Shot. He makes an ultimatum: surrender or they die. He also tells the young heroes that he’s going to get Kraklow to open a portal that will allow him to have access to the earth to feed off it. Robin responds defiantly. However, Superboy surrenders to Ygarddis stating that he did it to buy them time. Superboy is not thinking about his own survival when he surrenders, he’s thinking about a way to keep Hard Line and Big Short alive.
Ygarddis puts them in a dark cave where Kraklow is hiding in the shadows. Kraklow tells the group that Ygarddis is impossible to defeat. Robin confronts Kraklow and reminds him that they defeated him on earth. Kraklow tells the young heroes of his failures despite his lifetime dedication to magic. He categorizes his experience as a “lifetime wasted.” Kraklow terms his life a failure because he failed to gain the notoriety he feels he deserves. However, he shares that his last attempt to conjure a magic spell brought him into contact with “his twin.” Kraklow’s twin gave him a case of clay and taught him how to create superheroes like Big Shot and Hard Line. However, the clay serves as the sole energy source for Ygarddis. his story teaches us that Hard Line and Big Shot are clay creations that Ygarddis could devour at any point. This part of the story is clunky but adds to the overall message of the book. Tracking the two different Kraklow’s is confusing but it provides the backstory for his connection to Ygarddis.
Robin brings the group back to the present by urging them to think about “what’s right in front of us.” However, he also thinks that the clay creations, like Hard Line and Big Shot, are expendable because they’re not human. Furthermore, Robin cautions everyone to ignore their emotions so that they can focus on defeating Ygarddis. This reset by Robin allows Superboy the opportunity to build up the young female superheroes. Superboy tells the two girls that they are the true heroes because they put their lives on the line for him and Robin. Superboy’s statement exposes the self-serving motivations expressed by Robin. The young superheroes are filled with hope and energy because of recent success. Who will win out in this fight? Youthful hopefulness or aged cynicism?
As the story moves to its climax, Ygarddis has neutralized Robin, Big Shot, and Hard Line. He has Superboy surrounded by his minions. Big Shot and Hard Line begin to incinerate despite Robin’s pleas for them to stay focused on who they are. Inexplicably, Ygarddis also begins to disintegrate. We learn that Kraklow has had a change of heart and uses powerful magic to ameliorate Ygarddis’ efforts to defeat the young superheroes. Robin and Superboy console Hard Line and Big Shot as they begin to recover from the effects of Ygarddis’s attack. Before Robin and Superboy re-enter the fight, Kraklow tells them to use the open portal to go back to earth while they have the chance.
Kraklow shares, “I learned from two children, two heroes, that there is more to life than reaching the top of a mountain that cannot be climbed. I learned, finally, that the simplest way to never be forgotten is to keep doing the best you can.” Superboy argues that he won’t leave until the planet is saved and their two young friends are safe. However, Kraklow convinces him that he can raise an army to fight Ygarddis. Kraklow learns from four young children the motivation to be a better man, to have a meaningful life. Paradoxically, Kraklow becomes a better version of himself by giving up his ego-based motivation for notoriety. Although Kraklow makes the more significant change it is Superboy’s compassion for others that shines in this book. The zeal and heroism demonstrated by Superboy and Robin are contagious and energizes this story.
9.5 / 10
Reviewed by Tom Zimm Super Sons #9 Planet of the Capes part 4, It’s a madhouse Written by Peter J. Tomasi Art by: Jorge Jimenez & Carmine Di Giandomenico; Colors by, Alejandro Sanchez & Ivan Plascencia; Letters by, Rob Leigh Published by DC Release Date: 10/18/2017