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DC Showcase: ‘Superman: Son of Kal-El’ Comic Review

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Superman: Son of Kal-El is an 18-issue comicbook series that follows the journey of Jonathan Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, as he takes on the mantle of Superman. It’s written by legendary comic book veteran Tom Taylor with stunning artwork by Ruairi Coleman, Clayton Henry, Bruno Redondo, John Timms & Cian Tormey.

Son of Kal-El captivates with its compelling narrative, powerful character development, and thought-provoking exploration of social and political issues. With bold storytelling and homages to Superman’s rich history, the series offers a fresh and contemporary take on the iconic superhero. Most of all, Son of Kal-El is invaluable as a humanized and down-to-earth take on Jon Kent, who is revealed to be bisexual during the series.

With Superman: Legacy entering pre-production soon and Superman & Lois wrapping up as well, let’s take a look at Superman: Son of Kal-El to see how such a groundbreaking comic could inform the future of Superman on screen and what type of role his son could have.

Jon Kent is a person, just like us

The story of this comic book series delves deeply into Jonathan Kent’s role as the newest Superman. Writer Tom Taylor emphasizes Jon’s fitness for the title by highlighting his upbringing in Smallville and his loving relationship with his parents. As Jon grows older, he becomes aware of his superhuman abilities, and his parents carefully guide him to embrace his powers responsibly. Jon isn’t interested in politics or in becoming a sidekick; he just wants to be like his dad. A hero for justice and a symbol of hope, not another PR marionette. But when Clark has to leave the planet, Jon becomes the Earth’s only Superman.

As Superman, Jonathan must navigate his new role while grappling with anxiety. He questions whether he can live up to his father’s legacy and struggles with the weight of public expectations. Through introspection and interactions with his mother (Lois Lane) and trusted allies like Robin (Damian Wayne), Jon embarks on a transformative journey to forge his own path as Superman.

In a quest to confront the pressing issues of our time, he seeks solace in an underground journalism stream called The Truth. Jon’s perspective is forever altered when he meets Jay Nakamura, the head of The Truth. Jay introduces Jon to the problems of the war-torn nation of Gamorra and their oppressive dictator Henry Bendix.

As the series progresses, Jon continues to deal with global challenges like climate change, human rights, and political corruption. A mesmerizing love story unfolds between Jay and Jon as they ignite a spark of revolution that will forever alter the destiny of their world.

Jon Kent and his boyfriend Jay Nakamura
Jon Kent and Jay Nakamura (DC Comics)

Themes and character development are handled well throughout the series

Superman: Son of Kal-El explores a range of themes, including legacy, responsibility, and the struggle for identity. Jonathan’s journey from a hesitant successor to a symbol of hope and justice is a testament to the series’ exceptional character development. The writers skillfully portray his internal conflicts, showcasing his growth as he comes to terms with his unique role in the world.

The comic also addresses contemporary social and political issues, offering insightful commentary on topics such as climate change, immigration, and systemic inequality. These thematic elements elevate the storytelling, making it not just a superhero tale, but also a relevant reflection of the world we live in. Making it a story about Jon’s self-discovery, while showing he’s a mix of both human and alien worlds, works perfectly. Especially when it comes to going on this journey with him, and feeling like we can also find out who we are while reading.

Cover for one Superman: Son of Kal-El issues
Cover for one Superman: Son of Kal-El issues (DC Comics)

Revealing that Jon Kent is bisexual is also a really big part of this story. Showing that Superman’s son is a representative of the LGBTQ+ community is a decision that wasn’t made… just because. It was a thoroughly guided story. And what’s best, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can still identify with Jon at many levels.

The artwork is visually appealing

The artwork in Superman: Son of Kal-El is really nice to look at. The illustrations by the main artists are dynamic, with vibrant colors and detailed paneling that bring the story to life. The action sequences are stunning, capturing the grandeur and power of Superman’s abilities.

Equally impressive are the quieter moments, where facial expressions and body language convey the characters’ emotions. The attention to detail extends to the backgrounds and settings, creating a visually rich world that immerses readers in the narrative. Each issue is a visual treat, blending traditional comicbook aesthetics with a modern flair.

Is Superman: Son of Kal-El friendly for new readers?

This series is really friendly for new readers. As soon as you start reading, Tom Taylor explains who is Jon, why this story is about him, and why it needs to be told. If you think you may get confused at some point don’t worry. All you need to know in order to read it is who are the Justice League, and who is Lex Luthor. 

You can easily get through the main story of Son of Kal-El without having an extended knowledge of previous comics or watching every DC movie/series. The final issue fills all the story gaps that appear throughout the read.

Adapting Jonathan Kent on screen

I really like the character of Jonathan Kent. In comics, he was always a son who was meant to take place of his dad when the time is right. But while preparing to do so, he wasn’t cocky or childish, but rather serious and he was acting like any other teenager. It all changed when Superman & Lois series was released.

In this story, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) had two sons – Jordan (Alex Garfin) & Jonathan (Jordan Elsass & Michael Bishop). It’s different than the comics because in Superman & Lois, it’s Jordan who has powers. But Jonathan’s character from the comics can be well seen, especially in season 3. I believe there is still a high possibility to reveal his sexual orientation in season 4, and I hope viewers will get to see it.

Jonathan and Jordan in Superman & Lois Season 3 (DC/CW)

James Gunn will give us a fresh look at Superman and his friends and family, but Jon Kent is not in this plan so far. But there’s a chance they’ll give us teenager/adult Jon Kent Superman in Chapter 1 finale or in Chapter 2 of DCU. They could do this by using time travel technology, which would be similar to how Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) children were able to help him in his fights in the past.

If Gunn and co. decide to bring Jon into the live-action films, it can’t be an Easter egg or cameo or something that will work just as a fanservice. He is an important part of Clark Kent’s (David Corenswet) life and he’s a symbol of hope in the future. There’s definitely a right time and place to introduce Jon Kent’s Superman in DCU, but I don’t believe it’ll happen in the very near future.  

My final thoughts on Superman: Son of Kal-El

Superman: Son of Kal-El is an exceptional comic book series that pays homage to Superman’s legacy while boldly forging a new path for the iconic character. Through its compelling narrative, well-developed characters, and exploration of timely issues, the series offers a fresh perspective on the superhero genre. The artwork further enhances the storytelling, delivering breathtaking visuals that perfectly complement the narrative.

Whether you’re a longtime Superman fan or new to the world of comics, Son of Kal-El is a must-read. It serves as a reminder of the enduring power of Superman’s symbol of hope, inspiring readers to believe in their own ability to make a difference. It also serves as a great representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

Jon Kent is a very lovable character and creating a story about him and the legacy that he has to live up to, was a great choice. This series is a triumph of legacy and evolution, solidifying Jonathan Kent’s place in the pantheon of DC’s greatest heroes. If you want to prepare for the upcoming season 4 of Superman & Lois or the first DCU film Superman: Legacy then you can read it.

Although they won’t be adapting that story, it’s always nice to watch something Superman-related, and notice even the smallest Easter eggs. Have you read this comic before? What’s your favorite Superman story? Let us know on Twitter @mycosmiccircus, or our Discord!

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 128 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss