Superman, Son of Kal-El #1 – Tom Taylor, Writer; John Timms, Artist; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: One of the most controversial decisions of the last few years at DC has been aging up Jon Kent from a sweet ten-year-old to a powerful 17-year-old with a lot of deep-space trauma. I was skeptical—but this new run by Tom Taylor and John Timms may just prove it a winning decision. The first quarter of this comic is an intriguing revisit of the day Jon was born (since the circumstances surrounding his original birth would have taken a whole recap page to explain). There are so many fun details in this segment, from how genuine the relationship between Superman and Lois feels, to the way the League is determined to keep Superman from missing his son’s birth even amid an (attempted) alien invasion, to a conversation between Bruce and Diana about what Jon could become.
In the present day, we see Jon coming into his own as a hero. He’s definitely his father’s son, trying to find non-violent ways to resolve difficult situations. When a massive forest fire turns out to be the result of a young metahuman out of control, Jon manages to defuse the situation—only to see the meta go from being the danger to being the one in danger at the hands of the military. And this is where the comic is likely to be controversial—this is not a book that shies away from topical stories, be they addressing climate change, police brutality, or the anxiety that Gen Z’ers feel when looking at the state of the world. This should not be a surprise to anyone who reads Taylor’s Twitter feed, but it’s a rare DC comic that actually goes there with its heroes.
It’s handled very well, and Jon takes his anxiety to the one person he can talk openly with—Damian. I’m not sure about the art on the character—he looks older and buffer than his fourteen years—but Taylor’s Damian has always been excellent, a caustic counterpart to Jon’s cautious optimism. It’s fun to see how this intersects with what Robin’s up to in his own book, but it’s good to see their friendship has not taken any hits from Jon’s aging up. This feels like a first issue that’s designed to spark conversation and set up a new Superman who may not operate like his father. Clark is a good man and a great hero, but he’s someone who largely believes in the system and tries to improve it. What happens when a young Superman sees a different path?
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.