Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1

Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1

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Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 7, 2021
Cover date: February 2022



Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Steve Pugh & Clayton Henry
Cover: John Timms
Variant Cover: Romulo Fajardo Jr. & Steve Buccellato

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Lex Luthor and Metallo take Superman (Kal) down in battle. Luthor gets carried away in bravado over his fallen opponent and admits to orchestrating a crime. He realizes too late that it was a ploy to catch him in a confession by Superman (Kal) and the Justice League.

Later Superman (Kal) visits Lex in prison and they have a battle of wills over a game of chess, a game Superman (Kal) never finished leaving Lex on a cliffhanger he will never resolve.

Jon visits his mother and gives her the sad news that wherever Clark is he is far out of reach of even Kryptonian senses. Jon is surprised further when Batman stops by for a visit. Lois stops Batman in his tracks and tells him Jon is not to be a member of the League but he informs the Kents that Clark left a sunstone in his care to be delivered to Jon if he was ever missing or… gone.

Jon takes the sunstone to his Fortress and upon activating it is surprised to find an AI of his father as Clark Kent. Just as Jor-El had once done for Clark, Jon’s father has programmed a simulation of himself to be a confidante and provide some semblance of guidance.

As conversation steers to Lex, several high powered, but shady, business men and women receive a parcel from Luthor. The villain demands that they donate a portion of their trillions of funds to him in exchange for their lives. He informs them that the parcel they opened was infected with nanites that will kill them if they refuse to bankroll his new empire.

Within weeks, a new Lexcorp tower appears, towering over all others in Metropolis. With his parents’ words echoing in his ears Superman (Jon) decides to pay Luthor a visit. To Jon’s surprise Luthor’s armed android forces attack both he and Luthor.

Luthor suspects one of his ‘donors’ hacked into his androids but hides this from Superman (Jon). Lex brings up the unfinished chess game and offers Jon the opportunity to finish it if he truly wishes to continue his father’s legacy.

Lex underestimates Jon as an inferior successor to Superman and tries to make a mockery of him, however Jon proves to be as smart as his father and finishes the chess game, making a fool of Lex in the process.

As Lex watches Superman (Jon) soar away he instructs Mercy to contact the President of Gamorra to forge an alliance to take down this young upstart…

To Be Continued…

5Story – 5: Has Jon changed the future? Even he is unsure and wants his father home as soon as possible. The battle of wills between Lex and Superman renewed for a new generation was pretty fun, especially with the short prologue mirroring Luthor and the original Superman.

The AI of Clark Kent was a nice addition for Jon and gives both he and the readers the opportunity to see the two bond. This was something that was stolen from us when DC decided to age Jon so I appreciate the addition to the lore and a way for us to see a new layer to Jon’s mythos.

I also like Lois showing up, she seems a bit more sisterly than maternal but that’s perhaps because she and Jon haven’t had much story opportunity yet.

It’s been a slow process, but Jon is slowly but surely stepping out from his father’s shadow.

5Art – 5: The art in the Annual is clean, crisp and packs a visual punch. Coupled with the bright color palette this issue has a really fun atmosphere. The downside for me is Jon’s very curly hair; don’t ask me why, it just looks a bit odd. A weird thing to fixate on I know!

4Cover Art – 4: Although I like the cover (who doesn’t enjoy a good old fashioned word balloon cover?) it’s the exact opposite to the story inside. I am guessing it was a deliberate red herring catering to people’s misconceptions over Jon’s character.

4Variant Cover Art – 4: I understand the visual imagery and it is a great visual piece, but as a Superman cover it just feels a bit like overkill. Then again this is exactly what Lex thought of himself when Clark first arrived in Metropolis… so maybe it IS the perfect cover!

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Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1