Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman: Son of Kal-El Comics

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Superman: Son of Kal-El #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 16, 2021
Cover date: January 2022

"Who's Got You?"

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: John Timms
Cover: John Timms
Variant Covers: Inhyuk Lee, Travis Moore & Tamra Bonvillain

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Click to enlarge

Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 The overcharge of power courtesy of President Bendix sends Jon into a spin. Instead of reacting like the other teenagers who expended their power in one chaotic and devastating burst, Jon decides to channel the extra power.

Echoing Clark's struggle years before of wanting to help, Jon begins by rescuing the captive teen and dropping him off with Wally West in Central City, then he begins a crusade across the globe of fighting crime, and helping the weak and oppressed.

As he dismantles a bridge with sick and injured passengers, he transports them to Metropolis General where notices his power levels beginning to fluctuate.

Feeling faint and overwhelmed by calls for help, Jon struggles to continue and accidentally breaks a man's arm misjudging his strength.

Aerie soars in and takes Jon to safety in Jay Nakamura's apartment. Jay tells Jon his heroics are global news but if he's burning out as suspected he needs to rest, or he risks tarnishing his good name if he makes another mistake. Jon, near collapse agrees reluctantly while Jay monitors his vitals.

Jay theorizes that because of his half human genetic make-up Jon is susceptible to exhaustion. They also figure out a way to dampen Jon's hypersensitive hearing with noise cancelling headphones. Jon is shocked to find out he has slept for a full nine hours and struggles with his human limitations especially if he's to continue his fathers legacy ad protecting the ones he loves. Jay cuts Jon short and says something that shocks Jon. "I don't need you".

Jay explains that with his ability to become intangible he's the one person that will never need Jon to worry about him. The two teenagers kiss and in true Superman style, an emergency interrupts (plus Jon remembers he needs to return the bridge he dismantled). Jon apologises for kissing and running but duty calls and of course they need to plan retaliation on Bendix!

To Be Continued...

5Story - 5: Echoing elements of Clark's rescue of the Constitution space shuttle, this issue focuses on Jon's struggle to help in the never ending battle. The parallels between his father's debut and his struggle to be respectful to the legacy are very well told and like Clark, Jon fights on until his last breath.

It's also interesting that previous writers laid claim that Jon was even more powerful than his father, but Tom Taylor has concentrated on the fact that Jon is just as much Lois' son as he is Clark's and shares her human strengths and weaknesses too. This makes far more sense and opens Jon to more story opportunity than just kryptonite and magic.

The twist that Jay will never need Jon to rescue him because he is beyond physical harm is a great one and also helps remove the trope of so many other superheroes. Their interaction is touching and Jay proves to be far more analytical with issues than Jon. I really like that they are brains and brawn separately but together a dynamic team.

Oh yeah, Jon and Jay kiss.

4Art - 4: After last issue's unexpected artist change it is good to see John Timms back. Some of the anatomically focused panels were distracting. There is a panel where Jon's legs are Plastic Man level of distortion. I know it is the art style and likely because of the fast paced action I never noticed it before. The art is still great, don't misunderstand me, Timms excels in action sequences, it's just in some moments it's a little distracting.

3Cover Art - 3: I must admit I didn't like this cover. Maybe it is because Bendix is menacing but still hasn't presented much of a threat beyond... talking. The bigger problem for me is that the cover art appears to be more 'sketch-like' than the interiors and I feel it suffers because it looks less polished.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: I know Jon and Jay are in the beginnings of defining their burgeoning relationship, and this is a beautifully rendered portrait of the two... I wish it were a depiction of the two fighting side by side though!

4Variant Cover Art - 4: Like the other variant, Jon and Jay as a superhero couple is romantic and uplifting, over the past 80 years we've seen Clark in many a romance driven cover with his various girlfriends so it was only a matter of time before his son found love. I like that these type of stories are finally being told in a Superman book. It's a emotional cover but again given the story inside I would have preferred it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021

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