This month, as the cover shows, someone drops in unannounced on Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Then, visiting grandson Jon gets through to new pal Jay.
The Justice League prove pretty pitiable as guardians of the cornfield.
The Kents define ‘sanguine’.
And Wally West lends a super-speed shoulder.
Or to put it another way, Jon has rather annoyed President Henry Bendix of the island of Gamorra, and he’s delivering a message. Said message comes in the form of a young woman Jon recently rescued, a victim Bendix has made into an unwilling bomb. Super-speed and endurance allows Jon to save his grandparents and the girl, while a surprise metahuman ability keeps Jay from harm. Queen Hippolyta, currently the League’s resident Wonder Woman, promises to keep the young girl safe.
Writer Tom Taylor really knows how to grab the attention, delivering an action-packed script for guest artist Daniele Di Nicuolo to draw. But there are emotional explosions too, as Jon mourns the loss of his ‘fortress’, the place he felt safe, and admits that while Bendix chose to attack, his father supplied the target.
The real surprise is that someone didn’t strike sooner. I was sure Superman would have a Brainac 5 forcefield or something to keep his parents safe, but it turns out he didn’t. I’m impressed that Jon doesn’t show more anger at his currently absent father, whose decision to reveal his secret ID went against a lifetime of instinct and experience. It’s incredibly sad when Pa Kent tells Jon they have their most beloved items in storage these days…
Rather than keep us waiting, Taylor immediately explains why Jay has phasing (?) powers, as he brings in a couple of surprise heroes.
Well that’s a turn-up for the books. The Aerie and Wink from the seriously superb Suicide Squad maxi-series Taylor created with artist Bruno Redondo. If you’ve not read it, all you need to know here is that the newcomers are members of a radical super group, the Revolutionaries. Jay being involved with them makes sense, and suddenly I trust the kid.
A plan? Why not just ask Jon to join, Jay sounds rather manipulative. Could said plan involve a certain romance that was blasted across the media last week?
We’ll find out in time, right now I’m just delighted to see lots of superheroic fun here and not a single protest march. Jon does stand up for his ideals, but in a Golden Age Superman way rather than by playing Greta Thunberg in a cape.
And it’s all very nicely drawn by Di Nicuolo, whose art is similar enough to that of regular guy John Timms here that if I hadn’t seen the credits, I’d likely not have known (whoever added the cover details apparently didn’t). I especially like pages two and three, where angled panels and shifting perspectives add excitement even as the frozen figure of Jay tells us Jon is in super-speed time. And there are some great facial expressions throughout – sadness, determination, relief, grief, melancholy, anger, caution and so much more. Once Di Nicuolo finishes up with Taylor on their Seven Secrets project at Boom, I hope the former finds a regular berth at DC.
The colouring is nifty too, shared between Gabe Eltaeb and Hi-Fi. Something tells me Hi-Fi could soon have the regular assignment… Letterer Dave Sharpe gets points for not using Valhalla Font (or whatever it’s called) for Hippolyta. There’s just no need!
Timms draws and colours the cover and I like the bold simplicity of the image a lot.
The big takeout for Jon from this issue is that actions have consequences. His dad opened the door to danger for his loved ones, but it’s Jon’s enemy who strikes. If he’s going to continue pushing the buttons of powerful people, he needs a plan. One thing I hope he knows is that said plan should be his own, not part of someone else’s agenda – I like the Revolutionaries a lot, but I don’t want them using Jon without his full knowledge and agreement.
A lot of people will soon be trying this series due to all the publicity for next issue, but they’re missing some very good stuff right now.