Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: John Timms, Gabe Eltaeb, and Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Jonathan Kent has suffered a lot in his adolescence. He’s battled evil villains with ROBIN as the SUPER SONS, traversed space and time with his grandfather, and survived the future with the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, who equipped him physically for a time when his father could no longer be SUPERMAN. Still, with all the above, there was a gap in Legion history that precluded Jon from learning precisely what happened to his Dad. However, all indications suggested it was relatively soon. Let’s soar into SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #1 by Tom Taylor as we witness Jon Kent begin to don the very cape of his father and resume the continued battle against the forces of evil as the symbol of hope like his father before him.
As SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL kicks off, readers are slowly introduced to what appears to be a coming-of-age story for Jonathan Kent. Why? Well, if you remember FUTURE STATE, readers experienced a world where Jon was SUPERMAN, BATMAN was someone else (not Damian), and WONDER GIRL (Yara Flor) was WONDER WOMAN. In this future, our “Trinity” of Heroes was completely different. So, this left new and old readers alike wondering how and why. Enter Tom Taylor with SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL.
Now, will Taylor give readers all the answers we need to see the proper transition? Maybe. However, perhaps readers need to discover what happens to SUPERMAN and the Warworld Rising storyline before we get too deep into Jon Kent’s rise as the new SUPERMAN. Nonetheless, seeing how well DC creative teams have been working together since INFINITE FRONTIER, I’m fairly confident that DC COMICS is aware of this dilemma. Therefore, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a more gradual reveal from Taylor as he focuses more on the inner struggles and dynamics tugging at the core of Jon. Moreover, I expect to see two to three-page cliffhangers at the end of each issue that will begin to piece together the how and why behind Jon’s rise as the new SUPERMAN.
Furthermore, Taylor uses SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #1 to provide a small taste of Jon’s characteristics. WONDER WOMAN said if best in this issue, “ he will have the compassion of SUPERMAN and the fierce commitment of Lois Lane”. And readers, that’s exactly what Taylor introduces in this inaugural tale. Regardless, readers will begin to witness personal growth from Jon as he begins to sort out his place in the world with a little help from his SUPER SONS bestie. Yet, the fierce action and spirited skirmishes that fans are accustom to from the SUPER SONS will be missing from this opening installment.
As usual, John Timms’ illustrations are rock solid and reminiscent of his time on YOUNG JUSTICE. However, his edges are sharp and lack curvature at times leaving characters seem more cartoony in nature. Furthermore, everyone seems to have the same facial shape and eye structure making many of the characters resemble each other. That said, Gabe Eltaeb’s colors fantastically blend with Timms’ linework crafting each moment with vibrant tons of detail and enthusiasm. Together with Timms expertise, the color changes help express a mood surrounding each scene that puts readers in the middle of each conversation. It’s the incredible artwork by this creative team that intensifies and kick starts Jon’s emotional journey towards being the SUPERMAN he’s meant to be.
Readers discover what Taylor’s true mission is with this series after only one issue. SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #1 is meant as the book to take young, adolescent Jon Kent and transition him to adulthood, as well as the future SUPERMAN. I have a feeling the story will be told through a myriad of flashbacks and even moments of heavy dialogue as young Jon Kent progresses into the FUTURE STATE SUPERMAN we witnessed at the start of 2021. Look for emotional moments, moral growth, internal struggles, and a journey filled with a different type of hardship that will mold Jonathan for the future to come.
Like this issue, I wouldn’t expect intense action, suspense, clever plot twists, and thrills. Could I be wrong? Sure. However, is that necessarily a bad thing? Every Superhero Comic doesn’t need all of the above nor do I think Taylor is going to completely remove those elements. Nevertheless, if SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #1 is any indication of the series direction, I would expect a book centered more on Jon Kent’s journey from SUPERBOY to SUPERMAN. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!