Review: SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: John Timms
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Superman: Son of Kal-El #5: Faster than fate. As powerful as hope. Able to lift us all. For all his great power, Jon Kent can’t save everyone, but that won’t stop him from trying. How much can Earth’s new Superman do before this Man of Steel buckles? And when he does, who swoops in to save Superman?
Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 has been stirring up a lot of talk in the weeks leading up to it’s release. In case you missed it, DC announced that in this issue that Superman would be coming out as bisexual. This has generated a lot of publicity, both good and bad. There are of course, those who complain at the inclusion of the of any LGBTQ+ characters.
But there are also those who are complaining about Superman’s sexuality being retconned. To be fair, I would also be complaining if they retconned Clark Kent in this way. But it’s not Clark that’s bi – it’s his son Jon Kent, who has very little established romantic history.
DC has been making a big deal of this revelation. They announced the news on National Coming Out Day. There are two covers featuring Jon with his new love interest, Jay Nakamura. And all three covers feature the DC Pride branding. However, in Tom Taylor’s story, the revelation is much more understated. Jon and Jay are having a talk that leads to a kiss.
I think this low-key approach was probably the best way to handle the issue. Jon doesn’t feel conflicted about his sexuality, doesn’t try to deny that he might not be straight, and doesn’t worry about what others may think. He just follows his natural attraction to Jay and kisses him.
Unfortunately, the two are unable to follow up on this, as he has to respond to an armed robbery. But Jon at least assures Jay that he’s not just making an excuse so he can flee the situation. So, we will have to wait to see if they become a couple, but the tone hints that it’s likely.
Also in this story, Jon is having to contend with having his powers being overcharged. But as the extra charge wears off, it leaves Jon exhausted. Jon feels this is worrying, but it’s hard to know whether this a normal response, given his unique physiology. As Jay ask him, “Are there a lot of half-Kryptonian half-human people running around dealing with this issue?”. It will be interesting to see if Jon will return to his normal power level or if Bendix’s attack will have a lasting effect on him.
I also liked seeing Jon seek out the to protect the metahuman he had just rescued from Bendix. It’s great that Taylor is following on the possible friendship hinted at when they met last issue. Wally would make a fantastic mentor-figure for Jon, having gone through the same experience of stepping into the shoes of a major superhero.
I have no problem with this story at all, and I certainly don’t have any issues with the revelation about Jon’s sexuality. I might if it were being introduced if it were a retcon, but Taylor has enacted this in a way that feels believable and true to the character.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 is another stellar story from Tom Taylor and John Timms. At this point, I’m convinced that Taylor couldn’t write a bad story if he deliberately tried to do so. I look forward to seeing what else Taylor has planned for Jon in the upcoming months.