Superheroes encounter the fantastic all the time. It’s the core of the concept. But when happens when the fantastic encounters real world problems, and how do heroes like Jon Kent deal with it? It’s a question that Superman: Son of Kal-El #7 asks.
Tom Taylor, Cian Tormey, Raul Fernandez, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe kick off the book’s second arc. It’s a big team-up with Jackson Hyde, but it also finds Jon Kent confronting some real world issues, which have fantastical consequences.
A massive undersea leviathan has awoken as a result of warming ocean temperatures. The young Superman and Aquaman may be the best bet to calm it and prevent it from doing damage to Metropolis. Unfortunately Harry Bendix and Lex Luthor have other plans.
This story has a lot going for it, especially in regards to Taylor’s emphasis on real world issues in this series. He’s able to take climate change and show how it would affect the DCU as well, with the leviathan acting both as a literal threat and a metaphorical consequence. Jon and Jackson are a great duo too, with the team-up making sense and advancing the story, not just acting as a marketing ploy. The narrative device of Jay telling the story as a news report was very cool, and the story was stronger for it.
Where the story falls short is in its villains. Lex Luthor is out of character, helping Bendix like he is. Bendix, meanwhile, is a non-entity. He exists to be a threat, with no other motivation, little characterization, and no reason to care. A handful of other Superman villains could have filled his story role- including Luthor himself- and the story would have been stronger for it.
Tormey’s art is welcome in his guest spot. He has a soft line that’s different from DC house style, and gives each panel a great scope. The quieter moments are engaging thanks to unique point of views and ensuring the characters aren’t just static. The action moments draw back to show the scope of the leviathan, and Tormey does more with the action that just “Superman punch!” to make it interesting. Hi-Fi’s color work is great through the entire issue, especially when dealing with how the largely oceanic setting would change lighting and such on the characters. Sharpe does a really good job with his letters too, particularly with Jay’s new broadcast, using a caption style and font that sets it apart from regular dialogue.
I feel like this series may have found its footing, and found the balance between stories Taylor wants to tell and solid superhero action.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #7 is available now from DC Comics.
This issue has two sides. The adventure team-up side of story is a lot of fun and looks great. The villain’s part of the story is still struggling to find an identity though.