Review: SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb, Hi-Fi
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Superman: Son of Kal-El #4: Kal-El has left, and the weight of the world now rests on his son’s shoulders. Powerful forces have been threatened by Jon Kent’s first leaps in his father’s boots. It’s hard to hurt a man of steel, but his loved ones make a much easier target. Jon’s world is about to come crashing down.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 starts off with a bang – literally. On the orders of Henry Bendix, the metahuman Faultline was dropped on Ma and Pa Kent’s farmhouse. Luckily, Jon is present and is able to save his grandparents at super speed. I would not have been pleased with Tom Taylor if he had killed off Ma and Pa – especially considering they’ve only just been brought back into the DCU.
Also, Jon makes an interesting discovery about his friend Jay Nakamura, who was also present. When Jon tries to save Jay from the explosion, he learns that Jay is also a metahuman. Jon tries to grab him, but his fingers pass through him, as he’s become intangible. Luckily, this makes Jay able to survive the blast on his own without Jon’s intervention.
The Justice League is almost immediately on the scene, and Jon has some interesting interactions with his father’s former team. Jon is somewhat wary of the League, because of Clark’s recent standoff with the League. The League immediately assumes Faultline is a threat, but Jon realizes that she is the unwitting victim of Bendix once again. So, Jon puts himself in between her and the League.
There are a couple of odd bits about this appearance of the League. First off, the Flash refers to Hippolyta as Wonder Woman. While she has taken Diana’s place in the League, Hippolyta has not been referred to as Wonder Woman or referred to herself that way. I don’t know if this is an error, or if this is something that hasn’t happened yet in the Justice League comic.
The other thing is, that the Flash who is with the League is Wally. In the current Justice League comic, Barry is still with the League, but Wally is due to take his place. Presumably, this means that Justice League is a bit behind this title.
Speaking of the Flash, I was pleased to see an interesting connection being made between Jon and Wally. Wally is undeniably DC’s primary legacy character, going from being Barry’s sidekick, as Kid Flash, to becoming the Flash in his own right. It was great to see Wally offering to be available if Jon wanted to talk, as he completely understands his situation. As he tells Jon:
I know what it’s like to step into the boots of your hero. All those little doubts. All the ways you worry about measuring up. Anytime you want to talk, I’m around.
When you think about it, Wally would be a perfect friend and mentor for Jon. But I hope this isn’t a prelude to Jon joining the League. I would rather not see Jon join the League while Brian Michael Bendis is still writing that title. Bendis has already done enough damage to the Superman mythos and to Jon in particular. I’d rather that DC not allow Bendis to have any of the Super-family in his title.
Jay also introduces Jon to the Aerie and Wink, two members of the Revolutionaries from Tom Taylor’s run on Suicide Squad. They give Jon information about Henry Bendix’s illicit activities as leader of Gamorra. Jon takes that information to his mother, who praises Jay’s investigative skills, though this isn’t enough to support Superman confronting Bendix.
Well, it’s not enough for old-school Superman to confront Bendix, but this is a new Superman. Lois understands that Jon has a different approach than his father. So, she doesn’t try to dissuade him from confronting the President of Gamorra. Instead, she advises him to “go in with a level head and, you know, try not to cause an international incident”.
But Bendix has a trap set for Jon. Instead of the trap harming Jon, it overcharges his powers. It’s unclear if the trap was poorly designed or if that was Bendix’s intention. I wonder if will cause Jon’s dangerous Solar Flare power to activate again (as in the Super Sons of Tomorrow storyline).
I have no complaints at all about Superman: Son of Kal-El #4. Tom Taylor is a master storyteller and Daniele Di Nicuolo does a great job of illustrating Taylor’s story.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 was another great issue of Tom Taylor’s fantastic new series. Taylor has been hitting all the right notes on this title so far. Getting DC fans to accept a new Superman is a formidable task, but I trust that if anyone can do it, it would be Tom Taylor. And so far, Taylor is proving me right.