The first issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El hit all the right notes. Since then, the series has struggled trying to find both an identity and a balance between being a Superman story and being a story about being a young person in the 21st century. With this short arc, I think the creative team finally found it.
Tom Taylor, Cian Tormey, Raul Fernandez, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe show that last issue’s marked improvement wasn’t a fluke. If this is the Jon Jent book we’re getting from here on out, I’m excited to see what’s next.
Henry Bendix’s Gammora Corps has just escalated a conflict that Superman and Aquaman were trying to resolve peacefully. Now the two heroes are in a race against time to save Metropolis and prevent Bendix’s tampering for making the situation even worse. Even if the two heroes win though, could they still lose?
Taylor continues to weave his social messages through the story, but now he’s been able to find a balance that the series needed. Though a couple moments were still heavy, they didn’t overwhelm the story. He’s also able to convey how Jon is growing as Superman, through determination, attitude and power, while also showing how he has a way to go. The issue also continues to integrate the DCU better than most of the line, which does give it a stronger presence than a lot of DC books.
Tormey’s guest spot was a welcome addition to the book, which I hope becomes a repeat assignment. He’s able to match Taylor’s script beat for beat, while Fernandez’s finishes are subtle and help the linework pop. One of my favorite touches is that they never show the entire leviathan in a panel, giving the sea monster a sense of scale that makes the threat of it come to life. Hi-Fi’s colors are bright, which makes the threat of the leviathan feel different, rather than a nighttime fight or even just generally darker, muddier colors.
If this series continues on its upward trajectory, I think it’ll end up somewhere special. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s getting better by the issue.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #8 is available now from DC Comics.
The series had floundered for a while, but it’s clearly getting things right. I hope the upward trajectory continues from here.