There is a new Superman in town and he Jonathan Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Jonathan is stepping up to take over his father’s mantle as it looks like Clark as Superman will be busy with dealing with other things going on in the DC Universe like Warworld. To tell the story oof how Jonathan starts out as the new Man of Steel DC Comics has tapped writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms as the creative team for Superman: Son Of Kal-El. How will things start out for Jonathan? Let’s find out with Superman: Son Of Kal-El #1.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Over a decade ago Superman joins the Justice League in stopping an attempted invasion of Earth. Green Lantern John Stewart and Martian Manhunter tell Superman they can stop the alien invasion without him. Superman tries to help but John and Martian Manhunter remind him that he has somewhere much more important going on at the Fortress of Solitude.
Later Superman gets to the Fortress of Solitude where Batman is standing guard at the entrance. Batman reassures Superman he will continue to keep watch, including keeping track of the attempted invasion, while Superman is in the Fortress of Solitude. Superman thanks Batman for being there for him. Batman says he wouldn’t be anywhere else.
Inside the Fortress of Solitude, Wonder Woman is helping a pregnant Lois Lane while she is dealing with her contractions. Superman is surprised Wonder Woman isn’t with the rest of the Justice League. Wonder Woman says that it is just an attempted invasion and that the birth of Superman and Lois son is the most important event occurring as it could be the birth of the greatest hero ever. Lois requests Wonder Woman give her and Superman a moment alone.
After Wonder Woman leaves, Clark and Lois talk each other through the upcoming birth of their son. They are able to ease each other’s nerves by talking.
Sometime later Lois successfully gives birth to Jonathan Kent.
Outside the Fortress of Solitude, Batman reveals to Wonder Woman that he has done tests on Jonathan’s unique physiology and found that he could be more than Clark. Wonder Woman says that no matter how much power Jonathan has he will inherit the compassion of Superman and commitment of Lois Lane. Wonder Woman goes on to say she believes Jonathan will be the best of them.
In the present, firefighters are doing what they can do to stop a wildfire in California. Jonathan Kent shows up on the scene as Superman to help out. He uses his X-Ray Vision to discover the source of the wildfire.
When he goes to the source, which turns out to be a metahuman whose fire power is out of control, Superman finds that the military attacking the guy. Superman tells the military that the metahuman isn’t trying to hurt anyone and that the guy is just scared.
Superman approaches the guy since he isn’t hurt by the fire. Superman tells the metahuman his name is Jon and he is there to help him. The guy admits to being scared. Jon says that it is okay and he just needs to breathe. Jon then hugs the guy, which calms him down enough so he can deactivate his power.
The military show up and quickly get the metahuman wrapped up. The metahuman tells Superman to go help the people in danger of the wildfire.
As he takes off Superman hears the military general knocking out the metahuman. Superman returns to confront the military general over his actions. The military general has his soldiers surround Superman while demanding he hand over the metahuman.
Later, in the Island of Corto Maltese, Jon finds Damian and talks to him about what happened in California. Jon wonders if he did the right thing. Damian honestly answers by saying that there is no telling if the military is experimenting on the metahuman as they speak.
Damian then wonders how Jon found him. Jon says he used his powers to find Damian’s exact location. Jon then asks why there are a bunch of ninjas in the area. Damian reveals he is in the middle of a fighting tournament and his opponent does want to fight him directly.
The ninjas suddenly spring out of the shadows to attack. While Damian fights the ninjas Jon talks about how he has to always be Superman since everyone knows how he looks. Damian says he can fix that by building Jon a new secret identity.
As they finish defeating all the ninjas Damian then calls out the real reason Jon wanted to talk was because Jon isn’t sure how he can help with all of he world crisis that happening from climate change to rise of demagogues. Damian then shows Jon an underground stream called The Truth that covers news that the mainstream does not cover.
Damian then asks Jon what he wants the symbol on his chest to stand for. Jon says he wants it to stand for “Truth. Justice. And a better world.” Damian says that is good to hear as it is about time Superman starts to fight the symptoms and becomes powerful enough to be the cure.
Later Jon as Superman is shown flying high above Earth’s atmosphere. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 does exactly what you want from a first issue of a new series. Tom Taylor and John Timms set up what Jonathan Kent’s mission statement and journey as the new Superman will be. It is all done in a way that gets you to immediately understand where Jon is at this point in his life.
Starting Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 by updating Jon’s birth was a great way to define what the character represents within the DC Universe. This was something that was needed since up to this point Jon’s origin started with the Convergence event where his Lois and Clark from the pre-Flashpoint continuity had him. Updating Jon’s origins so he was born within the current DC Universe continuity simplifies what Jon’s story is.
It also helps to establish what Jon represents within the DC Universe. He isn’t just the son of Superman. Jon is someone that even before he was born was seen as representing a better future, as both Batman and Wonder Woman discuss. Basing the hopefulness that comes with Jon’s birth not just on being the son of Superman but also of Lois Lane was a great addition. Because while Jon may or may not be as powerful as his father it is the fact that he is the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane that potentially makes him the greatest hero of all time. He is someone that equally inherits Superman’s compassion and Lois’ determination that makes him someone that brings new hope for the DC Universe.
Adding in how Jon’s birth was the most vulnerable both his parents have ever felt shows how much becoming parents meant to Lois and Clark. It wasn’t just about them being Superman and the world’s greatest reporter anymore. At tat moment they both became parents together.
Which was well set up prior to this with how we saw Clark still trying to be Superman by helping the Justice League help repel a new alien invasion. The rest of the Justice League reminding Superman they got this covered as he has a more important place to be emphasized how important becoming a parent was for both Clark and Lois’ characters.
This first half of Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 established what kind of Superman that Jon is in the present. The way he is able to stop the metahuman whose fire powers are raging out of control spoke to why Batman and Wonder Woman spoke so highly of Jon when he was being born. We saw how Jon used all of his powers not to simply defeat a new threat. Instead Jon used his powers to help him better connect with the metahuman who was out of control by using his compassion to do so. It all helped to showcase how he really is the son of both Superman and Lois Lane.
This made the no-win scenario that Jon felt he ended up with as he had to hand over the metahuman to the military leave Jon understandably upset. Just as Jon felt he saved the day without fighting he then found himself having to do something he didn’t want to. The entire scene sets up how Jon does have a lot of things he will be working against more than just supervillains as he becomes more comfortable in his new role as Superman.
After going through this experience it was a good character move that Jon wouldn’t go to his parents or other heroes but instead sought out Damian Wayne’s thoughts on this situation. While Jon may have aged quickly he still sees Damian as his best friend. And with everyone around him seeing him as the son of Superman getting the opinion of his best friend, who just sees him as Jon Kent, was an understandable decision.
Taylor did a great job with how Jon and Damian speak to each other the entire time as friends and peers. Damian is the honest opinion that Jon needed to hear as he reminds Jon of what he inspires to be as a superhero. It is not just about being the next Superman. Jon does see how there are crisis around the world and he wants to be part of the solution. The conversation with Damian helped Jon realize that he should be part of the solution to help make the world better rather than just maintaining the status quo.
This also worked in how while they are best friends that we are seeing Damian and Jon’s paths diverge from one another. While Jon is going into carrying on his father’s legacy as Superman, Damian is going in a completely different direction. Taylor’s depiction of Damian was in line with how Joshua Williamson is writing the Damian as possibly returning to being more of the grandson of the Demon’s Head, Ra’s Al Ghul, rather than son of Batman. This could make Damian an even more interesting supporting character for this Superman series if Taylor brings him back as a guest star in the future.
John Timms artwork was a great fit for the story being told in Superman: Son of Kal-El #1. Timms artwork, along with Gabe Eltaeb’s coloring, worked to get over how Jon is bringing new hope to the DC Universe as Superman. The way his birth was in the middle of a crisis came across as a big, memorable event that took place. Timms also did a very good job showing through the art how Jon as Superman approached the out-of-control metahuman with compassion.
The Bad: The only thing that slightly held back Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 is explaining why Jon is taking over for Clark as Superman. After the flashback to his birth, we are right into Jon already being Superman. There is no explanation for where Clark or Lois are as it comes across as Jon is on his own. That seems out of character for both Clark and Lois to just leave their son to be Superman without mentoring in him in some way. Explaining where Clark and Lois are and why Jon has stepped up as the new Superman would’ve helped make this more friendly to new readers.
Overall: Tom Taylor and John Timms kick off Jon Kent’s era as the new Man of Steel with a strong start in Superman: Son of Kal-El #1. The entire issue gets over how important Jon Kent is to the DC Universe and why he can potentially be a better Superman than his father. By the end you are left looking forward to what Jon’s era as Superman will be moving forward.
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