After the beautiful and meaningful chapter of Superman: Son of Kal-El #10, DC Comics kicks off an important chapter today with Superman: Son of Kal-El #11. It’s a huge relief to Jon that his mother Lois is okay with him being queer, but after Batman forced him to relocate and not trust his boyfriend Jay. All that, and Jay’s arch-nemesis is teaming up with Lex Luthor, Jon’s father’s arch-nemesis!
There’s a lot of story in this issue, so much so that it reads like an extra-sized issue. It contains meaningful scenes between Batman and Superman’s dad Jonathan Kent, pushes for the plot around brain bombs in Gamora soldiers, and most importantly gives us new info about Jay. The latter might be the most intriguing for the story–he was written in a vague way the last issue that was frustrating–as we learn how he joined the Revolutionaries.
Tom Taylor uses flashbacks to reveal how Jay got to where he is and what his crew is all about. These scenes are effective in that they don’t necessarily absolve Jay of sin as Batman fears, but they also give Jon something to go on. It’s a bit jarring when Jay admits this crew has killed before since Jon would never abide by it, but they don’t have much time to go over the details as Jon must rush to the Hall of Justice to avoid a catastrophic situation.
The Hall of Justice scene is quite good, with Cian Tormey doing well to amp up the danger and superhero abilities. Jon must use X-Ray vision and it’s depicted in a neat way with a skeleton that looks giant by comparison to our characters behind them to convey the bomb in its head. Later, there are all sorts of danger and fire that Federico Blee colors well. Jon exhibits a lot of emotions in this issue from joy, to fear, to depression, and Tormey nails it every time. The play with Jon’s cape is also interesting. Pay close attention to it and you’ll notice it’s different in most panels with a strong crease in many cases.
DC Comics super-fans will dig two key scenes in particular. The first involves Jonathan Kent chatting up Batman and it gives some humanity to the situation of being a father with a superhero son. Even though Batman has Damian, he gets some interesting advice from Jonathan about how to treat Jon who may be dating someone dangerous. There’s even a new in-canon detail about Alfred you won’t want to miss. It helps ground these characters. Meanwhile, Nightwing and Jon get another scene together. It’s refreshing to see Nightwing as a big-brother type to Jon.
Customary of serial storytelling, this book is a hard read if you’re new to the series. This isn’t a good jumping-on point and requires you read most of the series if not all of it.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #11 has it all. It’s got action, plot development, and character work in multiple areas hanging it all on a personal relationship crisis for Jon Kent. If that’s not good superhero comics, I don’t know what is.
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