Superman: Son of Kal-El #17
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 8, 2022
Cover date: January 2023
“Unguarded” – “Kal-El Returns: Part Four”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Cian Tormey & Ruairi Coleman
Cover: Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Covers: John Giang/Jeff DeKal/Steven Butler & Lily Butler
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Jon puts on a front of strength but is struggling to bond with his father, especially after a very public coming out. There is an immediate assumption from both Jon and Clark that they can pick up from where they left off, which of course leads to emotional trauma when they stop super heroics and actually start talking. Jon struggles with opening up about his sexuality and relationship, fearing Clark would be disgusted and shun him.
Clark turns to the only man on Earth he knows that can give him sage advice, Jonathan Kent. Jonathan delivers some home truths to Clark that he probably was not ready to hear, but that will give his family a chance to reconnect.
When Jon is left powerless and in mortal danger, only Clark can save him and in the aftermath of an attack, the two men have a heart to heart that changes the Kent family relationships forever, for the better…
To Be Continued…
Story – 5: If you’re a Clark Kent/Superman fan this issue is unmissable. There are some absolutely beautiful scenes and probably some of Tom Taylor’s best writing. Let’s be clear, the subplots of Red Sin and Lex Luthor’s genetic experiments may as well not have been included, not because they were poorly written or placed in the story, in fact Red Sin’s attack gave us a powerful character moment, but because this was all about Jon and Clark rebuilding their bond. Yes, it is Jon’s book but Clark is central to a lot of the story because of his absence. He shares scenes with Jon and Jonathan that show how his experiences, even before Warworld, have affected him deeply. I won’t spoil the scenes for you, you have to read them for yourself, but suffice to say, they are an emotional experience.
Art – 4: I enjoyed the art but the cartoon style is sometimes an area where details are lost in the finished page in favour of what is happening in the forefront of the panel work. Some panels omit backgrounds entirely and leave me wanting so much more from the book..
Cover Art – 5: A wholesome family snapshot of Clark and Jon rebuilding Ma & Pa’s farm. We all love a little joy in comics sometimes and this really has the whole Smallville feel down to perfection. If I had only one wish to improve it, I would have liked Lois by Jonathan and Martha’s side or even carrying some tools to help.
John Giang Variant Cover Art – 5: I love a painted cover, this looks amazing – the only thing that throws me off, I think it’s a design choice, is switching Jon and Clark to metallic costumes over their usual fabric. It’s a tiny thing but the choice means that the suits look very, very busy.
Jeff DeKal Variant Cover Art – 5: I know dark and moody Superman is an overdone trope whether it is father or son, but this is once beautifully executed cover. It is exactly how I pictured him in “The Rising” finale about to take on Bendix for everything he had done.
90s Rewind Variant Cover Art – 4: Such a fun cover, with so much to love. The DC Bullet, the classic logo (with that 1990s Son of Kal-El flame text banner). It is a really fun cover, though Linda Danvers 90s skateboard was cooler than Jon’s! I love the whole vibe and was definitely transported to nostalgia heaven with it. Thank you to the Butlers!
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.