Superman: Son of Kal-El #16 review

Here we have a Day in the Life issue, showing what Jon Kent does when he’s not bringing down national governments.

He begins by scanning the solar system for signs of his Dad who, in this story, hasn’t yet come back from Warworld.

Then it’s a round of good deeds.

Jay also checks in with a guy whose arm he accidentally broke while saving him, and looks in on the most famous man in Metropolis who isn’t his dad.

And finally, before the reunion the cover tells us is coming, an encounter with an old enemy of Superman Sr who predates even Luthor.

‘Have fun saving the world’ Supermom Lois tells Jon, but nope, as has been the case throughout this run, he can’t have one totally great day. By the time Dad returns from his spacefaring adventure Jon is suffering the evil mentalist version of social media bullying. Happily, Superman makes Superson feel safe, so hopefully the fact he’s no longer having to uphold his father’s good name will free Jon up to just relax and enjoy life. The final page shows someone is actively working against him – it’s boyfriend Jay I tell you! – but if he can meet the threat with a smile, great.

This was the best issue in quite awhile – the Bendix business is basically behind us, Ma Kent smiles at an apple pie and there’s a framing sequence calling back to Jon’s earliest comic adventures which pays off nicely at the end.

The only thing that irked me was that Jon still doesn’t get to punch anyone. I don’t understand writer Tom Taylor’s refusal to actually have Jon thump a bad guy. As seen above, Damian gets to kick someone… while Jon simply floats. When the Ultra-Brite – sorry, Ultra-Humanite – escapes from prison and starts messing with his head, Jon uses his brains to defeat him.

Which is great, of course, I like superheroes who use their intelligence. But he’s a Superman, he’s brains and brawn – what would be so bad about an image of him punching someone who deserves to be punched? He punched plenty in his Super Son days.

The book really comes alive in the scene with Lex… Jon is always good with snotty, superior types >cough< Damian >cough<.

But what’s up with that stinking Dominator Jon spots from space? Since when was a stinking Dominator worthy of neither comment nor follow-up?

The art by some combination of illustrators Cian Tormey and Ruairí Coleman is pretty great – clean, clear and dynamic. There’s a shot of Jon flying that’s one of the best pics I’ve seen of him since he became all gwown up.

And while Ultra-Humanite isn’t as hairy as he probably should be, he has some wonderfully fiendish expressions. Artistically, this is a great job all round, thanks also to the stylish letters of Dave Sharpe and imaginative colour choices of Romulo Fajardo Jr… points for keeping Lex’s signature colours even for the gym.

The stunning cover comes courtesy of illustrator Travis Moore and colour artist Tamra Bonvillain. As Dr Anj pointed out at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, it’s very reminiscent of a classic Action Comics coming out image…

It was announced this week that Superman: Son of Kal-El is to be cancelled after a couple more issues, which is a surprise given how DC has proclaimed it a massive hit. It’ll be succeeded by a new Taylor-penned mini-series, Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent, whose storyline sounds pretty promising – Jon goes after his one-time tormentor Ultra Man, and Earth 2 Superman Val-Zod will be on hand. And no mention of Jay Nakamura. Hmmm…

For now, though, we have this better than average issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El. How was it for you?

2 thoughts on “Superman: Son of Kal-El #16 review

  1. Yep, I liked it better than usual, too! And I’d pretty much given up hope that Jay was a secret baddie, though the last page certainly leaves the possibility open.

    Liked by 1 person

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