Superman: Son of Kal-El #13 review

There’s some very good news for Superman 2 Jon Kent this month. We’ll get there, but first, the lead-up. We open with Jon’s fella, Jay Nakamura, exposed as the madly masked master of The Truth, the alternative online news source.

After Jay expresses a desire to get away from the unwanted attention Jon flies him to the Fortress of Solitude. As it turns out, they’re not the only humans in the place.

The gal having tea with Fortress major domo Kelex is new heroine on the block Dreamer. And she comes with a warning about the future.

That’s the beginning of a scenario that ends with the Justice League dead.

Again, yes. I guess this issue takes place before the events of Justice League #75. The point of this issue is to properly introduce Dreamer from the Supergirl telly show into the DC comics universe. She’s appeared in a DC book previously, a Pride Special, but that was TV Dreamer. This is the debut of the DC Universe Dreamer. I was going to speculate they could be the same person, given Dreamer’s ‘whatever you need’ powers, but here she gets something she already has in the TV and DC Pride story, so it’s deffo a different Dreamer.

They’re basically the same though, a perky soul learning how to use their power, and rather delightful Dreamer is too. Jon is soon a fan.

And that’s the good news I mentioned – Jon’s time with the Legion of Super-Heroes has had him convinced his father was never coming back from his Action Comics Warworld adventure. Nia’s visions, though, are closer to today than the Legion’s 1000-year-old history texts so it seems Jon is happy to grab onto the Hope offered by Dreamer. I would too.

Dreamer’s offscreen incarnation, actress Nicole Maines, co-writes this issue with series author Tom Taylor and the team deliver one of my favourite issues yet. Sure, we’re still dealing with the tiresome Henry Bendix and his Rising project, but the addition of Dreamer tweaks the tone, refreshing the on and on and ongoing storyline. It’s also nice that nothing is made of Nia being Trans… she’s just a smart, brave, fun woman who happens to have been on an uncommon journey.

The long vision sequence begins well, but it’s so obviously a dark premonition that I was itching to get to the ‘how do we stop this?’ bit of the story. I’m not sure whether I liked or disliked a ‘Chemo dropped on Blüdhaven’ moment, but it’s certainly fiendish.

I did like Dreamer explaining that she snuck into the Fortress by wading through the dreams of the creatures in the Interplanetary Zoo… sorry, ‘a menagerie of rescued creatures from across the universe’. That’s creative.

Dreamer’s presence even allows for a more-fun-than-usual Jay scene.

My theory that Jay is evil really takes a knock this issue, but I could still make a case, if pressed.

The art this issue is by Clayton Henry, and I do wish we saw his byline more often because his slick style is always a treat. Also, he’s great with body language and facial expressions… just look at Jay during his trip to the Fortress.

And our first look at Dreamer, being served tea by Kelex on the credits page, is a hoot.

Henry’s work is coloured by Marcelo Maiolo and Matt Herms, and the pages glow with attractive hues and pulse with sickly shades, depending on whether we’re in or out of the premonition. Look at the stunning Northern Lights in the panel above, while the work that’s gone into the skin tones is amazing. Letters come courtesy of Dave Sharpe and are crisp and clear.

The admirably busy cover is the work of Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain; poor old Jon looks rather lost.

It seems that Nicole Maines and Dreamer are bowing out of the storyline as of this issue, which is a shame – surely the heroine should join the fight against Bendix? Ah well, maybe Nia Nal will turn up in another DC book soon. A man can dream.

For now, I’m off to have tea with Kelex.

7 thoughts on “Superman: Son of Kal-El #13 review

  1. What’s the sense in a Fortress of Solitude where intruders get served tea? It’s cute, but she really should have been in a cell. . .with tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a great cover.

    I suppose that could be Supergirl at the bottom left – in the print edition, that character is almost completely covered by the bar code. There’s one other unmasked blonde woman between Green Arrow and Yara Flor, but I think it’s Dinah. So that has to be Supergirl in the corner – it’s implausible she’d be omitted from a Superman cover, given the couple of dozen less relevant characters included. (I think I even see Amethyst!)

    The Fortress has been seen back in the Arctic for quite a while now, but it was moved by Bendis to the Bermuda Triangle. Did we ever learn that it was moved back?

    And I didn’t know they still used the Giant Key! What a silly Silver Age idea that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the giant key, especially this elegant version. Mind, I thought the recent (?) tiny-key-that-weighs-a-ton’ was really clever.

      I think you’re right about Supergirl on the cover, I wish the colours weren’t so washed out, but I suppose it allows Dreamer to ‘pop’.

      Maybe Superman is maintaining two Fortresses? Wasn’t it in a tesseract for awhile?

      Like

  3. It’s great to see Nia Nal… and also a real treat to see Clayton Henry’s art again. His run of Flash stories with Gail Simone made him one of my favorite modern artists. Such clean lines and expressive art!

    Liked by 1 person

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