Truth, Justice and a Better Way (Superman Son of Kal El #1 Comic Review)
Superman Son of Kal El #1
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Gabe Eltreb
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Jonathan Kent, son of Clark Kent, is now Superman. This was teased out during Future State, but it has finally come to the main Superman line. Being a first issue this is a clear jumping on point. The very minimal backstory needed is all contained in this issue.
For an introductory story it is very straightforward and sets the tone the series is going for. The comic opens with a flashback to Jonathan’s birth. Just in case someone did not know that the new title Superman was in fact Superman’s son, it is a nice set up. It shows how important Johnathan’s family is to him, and even goes further how the Justice League in general was there for him day one. The book then jumps to present day and covers an adventure the new Superman is on, a wild fire. Turns out the wild fire was started by someone with fire based powers that got out of control. The military is also there and is shown as an antagonistic force that really does not understand how to handle things Superman’s way. The comic is then ended with a conversation Jon has with Damian (Batman’s son). This conversation is simply there to highlight this new Superman’s mission, and his thesis, “truth, justice, and a better world,” and what that means to him.
I loved this book. There might be a new Superman on the cover and interior of this book, but everything feels like it should be. Jonathan Kent is going back to the socilaist roots of the character (shown in Action Comics #1 way back in 1938) fighting for a better world. The best example of this is his confrontation with the military. He is able to disarm a powerful metahuman with words, understanding, and empathy. The military decides to treat the situation with violence (Superman has to tear apart a rocket). It is a simple scene, but highlights how Tom Taylor understands what makes Superman, Superman. He does not need to snap necks to stop destruction from happening. Taylor also smartly leans on Jon and Damian’s friendship. A highlight of the “Supersons” (as they were previously known) was the joy a reader got from seeing how they got along. Both are very different heroes, but they also have impossible shoes to fill. To add some of Tom Taylor’s humour and fun into the mix this whole conversation takes place while Damian is fighting ninjas. It is just a fun read and adds a dynamic element to the conversation. Jonathan explains that he wants to do more to help the world, sometimes it feels good to punch a ninja but doesn’t change the world like solving the climate crisis would. It really gets into the old idea “why doesn’t Superman just fix everything?” and tries to explain that he wants to, but really struggles with how to do it effectively. Overall Tom Taylor has me sold 100% on this new vision for Superman. I have not read a Superman book this delightful since All Star Superman issue #1.
John Timms and Gabe Eltreb (art and pencils respectively) make this a really fun comic to look at. Jonathan has a light energy to him and is full of hope (as Superman should be) and the art here has the same weightless feeling. Emotion jumps off the page, and everytime something horrible happens (like the military violently attacking someone) it hits you. It simultaneously looks like every great Superman comic you have ever read and also feels wholly unique. This is a great team here that just fits perfectly with the vision of this comic.
Summary Superman is all new, but the core ideas that make Superman a "Super" man remain. This comic is full of hope for a new and better world. This is a very promising start to an all new Superman title.