It has been a minute since a new issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El came out, but reset the timer as Superman: Son of Kal-El #6 is out this week. With Jon Kent and Jay Nakamura on the same page — maybe even as a couple — their lives become even more entangled after the events of this week. We’re talking supervillain threats, secret missions, and a very pissed-off Batman.
This week’s story opens in Blüdhaven, where a mysterious figure kidnaps homeless people using his sleep-inducing powers. He’s clearly a super-powered character and his kidnapping is quite a big operation as we see he’s kidnapped enough people to fill many shipping containers that then sets off to an undisclosed location. This scene pays off later as we learn more about him and his connections to Jay’s backstory.
That backstory is revealed in a scene between Jon and Jay on top of the Daily Planet. They’re enjoying some dinner and Tom Taylor does well to flesh out where Jay came from, how he got his powers and a new mission for Jon to embark on with him. This scene not only shows the fondness they have for each other, but the care they show for each other, too. It’s obvious this isn’t some fling, but something more. Jon asks Jay if he wants to share, for instance, rather than demanding he finds out what happened in order to help him.
Their bond is pretty great throughout this issue, in fact, be it how John Timms draws them holding hands or how other characters react to them. Robin fans will get a kick out of a key scene, which plays into their team-ups in the past in a natural and heartwarming way.
This issue isn’t as heartwarming as I make it sound, though, as it’s steeped in darkness and fear. A key scene with Batman, for instance, gives the reader the impression nowhere is safe for Jon and his family. In the main action sequence, Jon comes seriously close to losing and it’s clear he is in great danger.
That action scene is marvelously rendered by Timms, who shows the speed of Superman in a cool way with speed lines and distance traveled between panels. When Superman rips the lid off a container, Timms makes it look like paper. Jay even mentions how strange it is Jon can knock on the glass when he’s so strong, and a lot goes into how Jon never struggles at anything he does. That power is all the more impressive because of how its rendered.
The plotting does seem to skip around a bit too much for its own good, however. The opening, for instance, is a bit jarring, but does come back around. A good example is a scene with Jon and Jay that immediately turns to a heist on the next page with Jay in an entirely new costume. Then later, Superman goes from the action scene to an interrogation, and then back to Jay who is in his traditional green mask costume. Add in Robin conveniently popping up, and the plotting can feel a little all over the place.
Superman: Son of Kal-El is back this week with a satisfying story, from its character moments to its action. It also lays out new details about Jay while setting Superman’s sights on a growing threat that sets up a superhero showdown for the ages.
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