Last month, Tom Taylor and Cian Tormey teamed up for “The Rising” story arc in Superman: Son of Kal-El #7. It’s a story that weaves in Superman’s friend Jay’s arch-nemesis Henry Bendix, a kaiju, and Aquaman. Metropolis is in danger thanks in part to Bendix’s super soldiers the Gamorra Corps and, like with previous issues in the series, Superman must do what he can to save an impossible amount of people. Oh, and the kaiju too!
This issue opens with some foreshadowing as Jay records himself saying Superman tried to do everything he could. Cut to Superman holding a dead Gamorra Corps and looking like he just lost a family member. If there’s one thing Taylor has captured in this series, it’s that Superman may care too much.
This issue does a great job juggling Bendix controlling his team and showing his true colors and showing Superman trying to save the day. He cares very little for any life and has a clear mission, which is revealed by the end of the issue. On the one side, we have Bendix, a politician of sorts trying to manipulate a situation for his favor and look like the good guy. On the other, Superman just wants to save everybody. It’s a tragic tale that certainly feels like something many very rich corporate people today could pull off.
The story is also a tragic one. Tormey draws incredible act after incredible act, but it’s never enough. The water effects are stunning and there are multiple creative things the team came up with to show off Superman’s awesome power. He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s super strong. There’s an act by Superman that staves off a threat that would decimate Metropolis, for instance.
There are a lot of cool details outside the water effects by Jackson aka Aquaman. His finger movements, for instance, are subtle but make him look like he’s actively affecting the water around him. Massive waves and the energy behind them are visualized well, too. There’s a lot on the page here that isn’t easy to draw. Hell, Superman hovering over Jackson with his cape splayed to look cool and exhibit a lot of energy is also well done. There are many big moments in this issue, but the finer details are well done as well.
Tormey is backed up by Raul Fernandez on inks and Federico Blee on colors. Blee adds a brightness that feels hopeful and true to Superman while the inks capture finer details well. Hell, a giant wave casting a shadow on Superman is just one of many great color moments.
Taylor has been crushing Superman with enemies and loss of life for much of this series, and Superman: Son of Kal-El #8 may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Superman’s decision by the end feels earned, and also suits his younger nature. Customary of Taylor, this issue juggles a lot of elements but is never confusing.
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