Earth 2 survivors Val-Zod and Red Tornado have journeyed to Earth 0 to warn that the evil Superman of Earth 3, Ultraman, is travelling across the Multiverse, murdering ‘himself’. Which puts Jon Kent’s father in danger. The senior Superman is off world but young Superman has another personal connection to the threat. As a child he was held by Ultraman inside a volcano and mentally abused… for five years.
Jon has a plan. Find Ultraman via Red Tornado’s multiversal tracing tech and zap him with the Phantom Zone projector, imprisoning him in the nightmare dimension where Krypton’s worst criminals were sent. As preparations are made at the Fortress of Solitude, Jon’s boyfriend, Jay, has a chat with his mother, Lois.
Lois also shares a touching moment with Red Tornado who, heartbreakingly, is her own other-world counterpart, having lost her physical body.
After being given a Fortress crystal containing a message by his mother in case of emergency, Jon, Val-Zod and Red Tornado cross to the unnamed parallel world where Ultraman currently hunts. Just before the monstrous Kryptonian appears, there’s a tender moment between teenager and android.
The leering Super-creep is delighted to find ‘my Jon’ but Superman II isn’t going to be distracted and fights back.
What Jon does about it is stop damping down the feelings of force he’s been repressing for a while, and release the power.
Ultraman admits he’s never been hit so hard, but that’s not what finishes him off…
Blue, blue, electric blue… it seems the potential to be Electric Superman was passed to Jon by his father, who spent time as a living lightning bolt. I don’t know how long Jon will be able to move into this mode, but it was darn useful for catching Ultraman off-guard long enough for someone else to show up and – oh what the heck, this is a spoiler-tactic review…
It turns out Jon and friends have travelled to the world of the Injustice series, whose Superman took a tragic turn after the murder of his Lois, who was pregnant with, presumably, their Jon. Certainly this Superman sees his lost love in Jon, and that should make for more emotional fallout next time.
Jon was almost never going to be able to kill his captor, a man who’s the image of his father, but Injustice Superman is in a very different place. Jon may have been disturbed by Ultraman’s death at the hands of another Kal-El ‘twin’ but at last he’s free of his personal bogeyman. Jon can enter the next stage of his life… if he survives the dangers of the next few issues.
Writer Tom Taylor continues the excellent work of this mini-series’ debut issue, with action aplenty and some wonderfully human moments. Every page features well-characterised characters in the kind of scenes that can only arise when parallel world people are mingling.
I liked Jay this issue. Maybe he’s not evil.
The only question I have for Taylor is, ‘whatever happened to Mr Terrific?’ He was a prominent partner of Red Tornado and Val-Zod last issue, this time he’s absent with nary a mention. I mean, I realise he’s a busy man…
As great as the writing is, the art matches it; Clayton Henry’s storytelling is as clear as his gorgeous linework. The expressions etched on the players’ faces hit all the emotional beats, with especially great work when it comes to Injustice Superman, who is here seen in another mode to to the angry or frustrated state in which we usually find him. Jon looks good in blue, though he’s not quite as electric as his Dad was – hopefully next time he releases the power he’ll go full electric imp.
If he does, that’ll give colourist Jordie Bellaire a chance to show off what she can do with hues of blue. Here she finds a fine balance between naturalism and special effects – every biff brings a delightful burst of colour. Letterer Wes Abbott gives us crackingly clear calligraphy throughout, and I especially like how he immediately signals Jon’s power switch-up.
Superman’s classic electric S-shield. Nice!
Clayton Henry’s cover with colour artist Marcelo Maiolo is, as you can see, superb.
If every issue is as excellent as the first two, I’d be delighted were DC ago promote this book to ongoing – Tom Taylor, Clayton Henry and friends are at the top of their game and Jon is flying higher than ever before.
8 thoughts on “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #2 review”
Sweet Grace! This reads like an issue of “Invincible”! Is Taylor that bereft of ideas for Jon Kent? The damage was initiated by Bendis, but Taylor is steadily doing his own. Superman, in any universe, shouldn’t be disposable cut-outs. . .especially if the world soon falls after he dies. Why is Ultraman so powerful; when did it happen? The Injustice universe was destroyed during Covergence, and now it’s back? Val-Zod can’t do anything because it’s Jon’s book?? So much is being done to give Jon some relevance and it’s borderline shameful. So much damage done to a promising character, for no good reason it seems.
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There was something mentioned in the first issue about Ultraman having an oojamaflip that weakened other Supermen. I don’t remember the Imjustice world dying in Convergence, I thought we’d had further instalments since then… I still have to finish Year 4!
You liked this more than me. But interestingly, as I read your review the parts I liked, mostly the character moments (Lois and Jay, Lois and Jon, Lois and Reddy, Reddy and Jon). Can it be I like the issue but don’t like the comic?
We are 1/3 through. Hoping this turns around and gives me a Jon I support!
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I think things may turn around for you. I do hope so.
Henry’s art continues to be too plastic, house style for me and Bendis’ teen Jon was much less bland than this one. Bendis might be crap at finales but I bet his Jon would have thrown more than one punch every other year. So when do you think Earrth-3 will respawn? Hopefully not by Johns. Doppelgangers are on the list with knowing when a character’s gone too far to redeem, ending a series without it actually starting a new one, and why alternate timelines aren’t alternate dimensions as things he doesn’t understand.
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Fair points! Isn’t Earth 3 still around, though?
Ooh, I liked this one! That was quite a nice twist at the end!
I’ve been a fan of Clayton Henry’s clean, clear style since his Flash series with Gail Simone (in DC’s Walmart books), and he doesn’t disappoint here. And I’m happy to see the story is striking out in a different direction than what I expected — I wasn’t relishing the prospect of 6 months of Jon vs Ultraman. (Although I loved the moment where he says “Is that MY Jon?” SOO creepy!)
And yeah, I liked Jay this time too. His request for a weird alt-universe postcard is great, and I hope we see it pay off by the end of the series.
I’m glad the Earth 2 characters were just phantom-zoned and not killed. Of course, the projector is busted now, so we won’t see them again without a little work. Does every alternate universe have its own Phantom Zone? I don’t think we’ve seen anything to say it doesn’t. So did the Earth Prime projector send them to Earth Prime’s Phantom Zone, or Injustice Earth’s Phantom Zone? (If it sends them to Prime’s zone, that’s one cool and dangerous way to travel between dimensions that another writer could make use of.)
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I’m not convinced I know how the Phantom Zone works but the mini-series could be read to imply that from the classic PX you can reach different areas of reality.