Superman: Son of Kal-El #12 review

After returning a victim of mad scientist Henry Bendix, leader of nation state Gamorra, to his loved ones, Superman 2 Jon Kent answers an alarm from his mother. Lois is currently staying at a Justice League safe house following the bombing of Jonathan and Martha Kent’s home by, presumably, Bendix. Why are they targets? Because son Clark decided to reveal ‘his truth’ to the world and now Superman has gone off on a long space mission, leaving other heroes to protect his poor old parents.

Pencils by Cian Tormey

Before Jon can arrive, the most loyal member of the Super Family sniffs out trouble.

Pencils by Cian Tormey

Good dog. Krypto has saved the day* and Jon, Batman, Lois and the Kents can come up with a plan to stop this happening again. Believing it unwise to attack a world leader with no real evidence, they need a plan… Jon reckons Bendix is working with Lex Luthor, if only they could get into Lexcorp, find proof of a link. Enter the man who is making the rundown city of Blüdhaven better, Superman’s pal, Dick Grayson.

I’ve never seen such a slick Dick – has he been watching Christopher Reeve? Pencils by Cian Tormey

Bug planted, the heroes eavesdrop on the villains.

Pencils by Cian Tormey

Hearing Bendix and Luthor refer to a senator, a bit of digging results in Jon, boyfriend Jay – stupidly masked reporter for the Truth website – and Krypto taking a trip to Washington.

Pencils by Ruairi Coleman

And after that things get very strange, as our young Superman learns there’s more to the senator than meets the eye – and it isn’t pretty.

So, here we are at the 12th issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El and the Gomorra storyline trundles on. It’s nine months since the Kent Farm was blown up and still Jon’s grandparents are in peril – the Justice League defences are a ruddy disgrace.

Also, with the League aware of Bendix’s machinations, and Batman and Nightwing taking a special interest, why the heck is Jon having so many problems? The idea that Batman would worry about borders makes no sense, he once formed an entire super-team to get involved in matters outside US jurisdiction.

Seriously, Bendix isn’t that impressive – he sends new, untrained, brain-addled metahumans against Superman, and every time Jon prevails. I’m so ready for this series to move on, perhaps bring in a few big name Superman villains – let’s see how Jon approaches the likes of Parasite, Terra Man or Toyman. It would be fun to see, given that he doesn’t attack problems in the traditional sense – if you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed that Jon restrains, he protects, but he rarely punches (the only time I recall him getting physical with baddies is in the Nightwing crossover).

Which isn’t to say I want Jon to avoid getting physical completely – some villains deserve a sock on the jaw!

For now, though, Jon prefers to directly challenge people he suspects of plotting against him, whether it be the senator here, an aide earlier in the series, or Luthor himself (they played chess). And writer Tom Taylor deserves credit for managing to keep Jon at the forefront of things without throwing a super-punch… this issue the violent stuff is delegated to lovely Krypto.

Super-Dog gets the full angry red-eye treatment that has been so annoying applied to Superman over the last couple of decades. Still, the Kryptonian mutt is likely very peeved at the threats to his pals Jonathan and Martha. And Krypto does get to show his soft side.

Pencils by Cian Tormey

I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop so far as Luthor is concerned. I can’t believe a man with his ego – as demonstrated in a nice exchange with Dick – would collude with a no-mark like Bendix. Lex Luthor is comics’ original mad scientist, if anyone is going to take down the Super Family, it’s him. And yet he’s letting Bendix attack the Kents with robots (?) painted in his signature colours. I’m betting he’ll play a big part in taking Bendix down.

I do have one big ‘tut’ for Taylor. Hear that signal watch?

Pencils by Cian Tormey.

Deet deet deet? I say thee nay. I say thee…


Department of Is Jay Nakamura Evil? Not this month. I rather liked him, actually.

I liked the art too. Regular artist Cian Tormey is joined by another Irishman, Ruairi Coleman, and I couldn’t see the join. I think Ruairi is drawing the Washington DC pages, but damn Comics DC for not giving credits breakdowns of who did what. They might also have given Coleman, making his DC debut, a cover mention with the other core creators.

Aha, Cian tells me, via Twitter, that Ruairi produced pages 12-15, to which I say, well done, sir – I look forward to your first full issue of a DC book.

The whole issue looks good. There are no storytelling issues, the panel-to-panel flow is fine, and there are some outstanding moments, such as the assault on the safe house and Krypto’s shock attack on, well, I won’t say in case you’ve not yet read the book. But boy, does it look great, intensely kinetic as drawn by Cian.

Pencils by Cian Tormey.

I couldn’t tell you who did the inks, as we have four artists named – Coleman, Tormey, Scott Hanna and Raul Fernandez. Logic says the page is by Cian, but this is comics… similarly, I can only tell you that the vibrant colours are by Federico Blee. Or Matt Herms.

All the lettering is by Dave Sharpe, that much I know, and he does a splendid job.

The cover by illustrator Travis Moore is gorgeous, helped by the beautiful colours of Tamra Bonvillain.

I was entertained by this issue. It wasn’t as great as last time, but it’s well done. But I do sigh a little at the preview box for next month, which states: ‘Next – the Nightmare Begins’. Seriously? We’ve had 12 regular issues and one annual, and it was all prologue?

* Or has he? I direct you to TN, who is smarter than me, in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Superman: Son of Kal-El #12 review

  1. What’s interesting is that these robots do have Lex’s signature green and purple colors – in your digital capture. In print, they are shades of gray and blue. I therefore never thought of Lex.

    My reading of this was that the robots themselves were deployed as the primary defenses, not attackers, and Krypto (the “threat”) runs right through them, and then bursts through the protective dome too! It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I think there was no threat, just an exuberant doggy. A bad, bad dog!

    As Batman says, “Your dog just took out a lot of very expensive defenses.”

    But I don’t know for sure what happened!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh phooey, I think you’re right. What was I saying about clear storytelling? It probably is clear if you don’t make the immediate mental link motivated by those bright colours! I’ll leave it as is and direct folk to your comment! Good TN!


      1. Several of the reviews of this issue also think Krypto repelled a threat, so you’re far from alone with that interpretation. The question would be: where did this threat come from, and how did they know the location of the safe house? But I do still feel the questions are irrelevant – but a different question would be relevant, which is when did Krypto get so destructive?


  2. Superman revealing his secret identity to the world continues to be just the worst idea & the only reason can think of they’ve continued it is a comment on the relatively consequence free aftermath of Clark doing so. It’s the sort of burden on his mythology that usually needs a reboot to correct. An ominous thought with Dark Crisis looking to take up the next year.

    Lex’s plans for Metropolis sound familiar, wasn’t Braincell, one of the Future State antagonists, supposed to be the result of the automated city?

    Not being a batbook reader hadn’t heard that Alfred was a secret billionaire. Sounds weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blimey, a million points for remembering anything from the Future State story! I hope they’re not going there. Lex should be in prison, not running around pretending he wants to make a better Metropolis. And surely he knows Dick is Nightwing?

      Apparently Bruce had been paying Alfred an awfully big salary, and he had shares or something. It was noted early in the current Nightwing run.

      I really hate the non-secret ID, if there’s one good reason for a reality rewrite, that’s it.


      1. Joker knows who everyone in the Bat family is.

        In the recent Batman story set in Badhnisia, Lex knows that Bruce is Batman.

        In Batgirls, Seer – who started out in Fear State as the anti-Oracle – knows who the Batgirls are.

        It’s only I who forgets!


  3. I read this as the JLA defenses mis-reading Krypto as a threat. But as you say, why bother having defenses this shoddy. And do the Kents get to hang out with their Smallville friends anymore? Or are they completely isolated now that The Truth is out. I feel for them.

    As for non-punching, I suppose this is part of the angle of this book. The progressive Superman will win through protests and hugs. You are right, some villains need a thrashing. That said, almost everyone Bendix has thrown at Jon seem to be under his control. Even this senator seems to decry Bendix before he transmutes. Jon probably doesn’t want to hurt an unwilling drone.

    All that said, like you, it is time to move on from this whole thing. This really felt like a ‘not enough happened to warrant this page space’ issue.

    I still think Jay is pushing Jon into places that Superman shouldn’t go. I have decided that maybe he isn’t evil … just misguided or naive. Superman confronting a Senator in public? Surely that could be looked at as threatening a leader of the country. No hero should do that. But for Jay and his shock media, it is clicks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you still think Jay is shady, it would be disappointing at this stage if he proved to be straight up decent! It could actually be interesting where he to come out as a baddie, and Jon had conflicted feelings. Then again, the romance was so out of nowhere, how emotionally connected could he be?


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