Jonathan Kent's Superman – A Century Baby? Jenny Sparks Returning?

Is Jonathan Kent a century baby? Let's back up. This was the planned DC Comics Timeline before Dan DiDio and other DC editorial staffers were fired. The Timeline was junked, but some aspects of it survived into Infinite Frontier.

2000 Year 49: (G3 – Y9) Identity Crisis, Stephanie debuts as Robin, Dick Leads Outsiders, Public Enemies, President Luthor, Jon Kent Born, Supergirl Reborn, Death of Donna Troy, Graduation Day, Teen Titans Re-Form, Tim, Bart, Cassie, Conner, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, Dinah & Oliver Break Up Again, John Stewart is Green Lantern of JLA, Kyle Restarts The Corps, Sub Diego, Lorena Marquez debuts as Aquagirl, Firestorm killed, Jason Rush = Firestorm, Atom MIA, Captain Atom joins President Luthor's task force, Captain Atom blows up. Dick (33)  Tim (18) John (40) Kyle (28)

Including that Jonathan Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, was born in the year 2000, though he would have been aged up a couple of times into his twenties, to take over the role of Superman of Earth. Something that Superlad39 on the Comic Book Resources forums thought was rather interesting alongside the return of The Authority to the Action Comics, and Henry Bendix to upcoming issues of Superman, Son Of Jor-El. And he allowed Bleeding Cool to reprint it, though I have followed it up with an investigation of my own. In a previous interview, writer Tom Taylor said "He gets one very good friend very early on, by issue three. Someone that he can talk to, that can be a confidant like Damian Wayne. And they're going to have a big role in this." Superlad39 writes;

Jonathan Kent's new friend is a Century Baby. Taylor said Jon's friend would be a very important aspect of the run going forward, and in addition to being Jon's friend that he can talk to similar to Damian, as Taylor put it, he'll also be somehow coming to Jon's aid in issue 5. Century Babies personify the time that they're born into, and it's fairly obvious that this new character is very of-the-now in his (their?) design, so that would fit. For those that don't know about the concept of Century Babies, they are usually (but not always because of reincarnation and things like that) children born at the turn of the century. Because of this they have metahuman powers, and they are said to be born of the Earth's will and act as a form of an anti-body defense system for the planet itself. This is a Wildstorm concept, and with the inclusion of Henry Bendix (a major WS villain) and obviously The Authority, it wouldn't at all be a stretch to include this concept. The most notable Century Baby is the former leader of The Authority, Jenny Sparks. She's notably absent from Morrison's take, and has been replaced by Manchester. Morrison explained that the point is to do Wildstorm ideas, but with DC characters, and this would fit the bill in the sense that it would be a new DC character taking this WS concept. Also Jon would literally be teaming up with the Earth in a sense if this were the case.

Or JON KENT IS A CENTURY BABY. So this seems somewhat random at first, but then you think about it. Maybe THIS is why Jon is so powerful? Remember PKJ floated around the idea that maybe Jon being half Kryptonian as the reason was *just* a theory/assumption on Bruce's part? So what if it's because this in addition to his Kryptonian biology? Taylor also keeps stressing that Jon is the "Superman of the 21st Century". That would then take on a whole new meaning if Jon is literally a CB. This may be why Jon's focus as Superman is in part to combat the climate crisis. But maybe the most compelling bit of info is the fact that the timeline shown by Bleeding Cool actually has Jon being born in the year 2000 aka at the turn of the century when all century babies are born. And interestingly enough, the timeline doesn't show any other notable births then aside from his. Now, I'll grant you that the timeline is no longer in play, they've shifted from the overall concept of that, and realistically Jon couldn't have been born in the year 2000 anymore now, but similar to how quite a few of those ideas have changed shape and live on now (like Superman & The Authority), this could be another one of them. As I said before, it's not quite set in stone that they need to be born at the turn of the century. There are instances where they they're born later. The idea here could just straight up be that the Earth pulled some strings, and said that Superman's kid is gonna be a CB to help it out more directly. The second one is kind of out there, but I think it has potential to be right. I'm leaning more towards the first one just based off Taylor's hype, but Jon being born the only noteworthy DC character to be born at the turn of the century in 5G seems like pretty compelling evidence, so I honestly don't know. Also super worth pointing out that literally no other Century Baby has been shown yet even though both the Wild CATS and The Authority are back, so that concept is very much open to be used.

Indeed, Century Babies in The Authority were powerful beings born on the turn of the century that summed up the spirit of the age, created by the Earth to defend it from upcoming threats. Jenny Sparks was born in 1900, Jenny Quantum in 2000, but they are only supposed to live for that century and not beyond. Bleeding Cool did a little digging around and, for 5G at least, we learn that Jenny (Sparks or Quantum) was meant to be a romantic interest for Jonathan Kent. It is possible that this may be a vestigial remnant in the new series. As for being a Century Baby he was meant to inspire the Legion Of Super-Heroes rather than Superman in the 30th and 31st century – could Jonathan Kent have been a Millennium Baby instead? And might that have been enough to help a human/Kryptonian hybrid exist? Before I could tell Superlad39 this, he was already ahead of me, adding;

Okay, so it's kind of crazy that you mention Jenny Sparks/Q (safe to say, regardless she'll be Asian), because if Jon's not the century baby in this run (if there is one) then I think there's a pretty perfect role to slot Jenny in: she's the leader of The Truth! She's roughly Jon's age, and since she's no longer associated with The Authority, this could be her thing. And I may be jumping the gun here, but given just how interlinked Lee likely wants DC to be with Wildstrom (remember back when Halspont was set up to be Superman's ultimate foe in the New 52?) what if they dated?

According to BC research, Jenny and Jonathan Kent, it seems, was the original 5G plan. But moreso, if Jonathan Kent was indeed born in 2000, not just a Century Baby but a Millennium Baby. Jonathan Kent was to become the Superboy that would, a thousand years hence, inspire the Legion Of Super-Heroes. And just as with a number of aspects in Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman comic books, there are vestigial remnants of 5G in the main DC Comics storylines in Infinite Frontier. Superlad39 continued his theories as what might be happening now.

 What if Jenny did in fact reincarnate herself again…but as Jon's friend from the cover? "Jeremy Sparks" if you will. We assume that the cover for issue #5 is Bendix trapping Jon and his friend in some sort of energy cage. But suppose it's "Jeremy" putting up an electric force field to keep them safe? A subtle misdirect that's right in your face. And doing some quick reading on Jenny Sparks, it says that she didn't find out about her powers till she was 19. "Jeremy" is likely that age given the fact he's in college, so this may be him finding out about his powers.

That on its own answers some questions, but I dare to go further beyond. Remember how 5G's crown jewel was the tragic falling out of the Super Sons, and how it gave rise to Damian as the DCU's new Big Bad? Well, so much seemed to be riding on that, and given the fact that they've reworked and made use of so much from 5G already, I feel like it's more than possible this major plot point was asked to be reworked and used. But Damian is clearly off the table in terms of turning into Jon's greatest foe. The solution? Create a brand new character for Jon to become best friends with and eventually have a falling out with. Taylor himself even said that this new friend would be comparable to Damian in the fact that Jon will confide in him discuss things with him similar to how he does with Damian. Taylor could may be giving us a great misdirect by starting off with the very Lex-like Bendix and the obvious foe while he slowly builds "Jeremy" in the back. The goal would be to get to that Prof X/Magneto dynamic where they were best friends (even serving on a team together with The Truth) want the same thing, but one just goes way to far in how they plan on getting it. "Jeremy" would be a Century Baby (and the no BS taking reincarnation of Jenny Sparks), so he'd have a natural inclination towards protecting the Earth's interests by whatever means. Jon obviously agrees that all the "bastards" need to go, and we need to start taking care of our world, but he's trying to figure out where he draws the line in regards to how he gets to his goals. If this eco terrorist, world without borders idea sounds familiar to you, it should because that's Al ghul written all over it. "Jeremy" then makes for a great proxy to the big bad Damian would've became. This also makes this run and this Superman far more adaptable to outside media because you don't also have to explain Batman's son while you adapt it. It's an in-house character, thus allowing things to run a bit smoother. This idea even works just as well (in some regards better if you're really driving the Prof X and Magneto stuff home) if Jon is also a Century Baby.

THIS is why "Jeremy" is important. He's not Jon's Jimmy Olsen…he's Jon's Lex. Somehow I'm only now just realizing the really strange fact that Jon's Superman book is actually more in line with Ellis' Authority than Clark's actual Authority book is. Jon's book has him rolling up his sleeves and getting directly involved real, contemporary human issues that will be making the whole world nervous. But Clark, with the actual Authority, will be going off to space to fight space dictators and free alien civilizations. Jenny's Authority simply wouldn't have bothered with stuff like that especially if Earth was still in shambles. So it would make good sense for the spitfire of The Authority to play Jon's opposite number in yet another reincarnated form. It's also kind of funny how much Injustice share/owes to the original Authority, and now Taylor is talking about how his take on Jon is a rebuttal to his own Injustice.

1) In PKJ's opening arc/crossover the ending scene features Mongul and his subjects spying on Jon and Clark. One of his subjects says that Jon is strong and growing even stronger, but Mongul says "the son is an infant, tethered to the Earth" If that sounds noteworthy to you it should because Jonathan Kent has spent quite literally the vast majority of his life AWAY from the Earth. PKJ even draws attention to this in Jon's Infinite Frontier story. And PKJ didn't write him as being particularly tied down to the Earth. So it seems like a pretty strange line on its own, but makes far more sense if Mongul was being more literal and knows that Jon is a Century Baby.

2) At the close of Son of Kal-El #1 Damian says "it's time for Superman to stop fighting the symptoms. You're powerful enough to be the cure". On its own, this is a fairly uneventful line that just uses metaphor. But when you add in the fact that Taylor is confirmed to be rereading Ellis' Stormwatch, it take on another meaning. For those that don't know, the Century Babies are thought of as the Earth's immune system. This characterizing the Earth and its issues as an living thing is consistent.

I also have an alternate possiblity for who/what Jon's friend could end up being: The Doctor By that I mean the Wildstrom character The Doctor. This totally works in a similar way to him being a CB because The Doctor is also part of Earth's defenses. The Doctor is a shaman with the collective power and knowledge of all other Doctors past. It's like The Avatar or One For All. But The Doctor isn't without their limits. Every action they take with their power will have an opposite reaction somewhere on Earth, so each Doctor is usually pretty clever about how they use their powers. But this works for a number of reasons. For one, it holds back on the Century Baby reveal for Jon (that being the leading likely reason for his power). But it also makes it so both Jon and his friend don't have to be two special cases of late birth Century Babies. It would just be Jon since a Doctor can come about anytime. All that needs to happen is the pervious one dies. And they aren't born Doctors. The power just shifts to them upon the death of the last. Also The Doctor isn't actually obligated to be "good". There have been evil Doctors. And if this young man is to be Jon's greatest foe/his Magneto, then I could see Taylor exploiting the classic magic weakness of Superman more generously with this character. It fixes the issue of some reads or viewers going "how is Lex Superman's greatest foe? He's just some smart dude." Also, this would justify Taylor making Jon this much more powerful. With a rival like The Doctor, you'd need to be Superman and then some. Also this fills what seems to be the mandate by DC for all major creators to create new characters either with ties to existing one or all on their own. We see this with Thao-La, Punchline, Ghost Maker, Matt Price and all the new Titans kids, and Flatline. We're also seeing it with villains in particular as we're seeing in the current Batman run and even back in Bendis' run.

My guess is the big moment event in issue #5 that Taylor is hyping is that unbeknownst to Jon or his friend, the current Doctor dies and Jon's friend becomes the new Doctor, and that's how Jon's friend comes to his rescue. Both were literally born to save the world, but they'll eventually be unable to agree on how to do it.

Ha! This puts even greater meaning to Damian saying "but unlike him, you were literally BORN to do this." Obviously Damian isn't supposed to know that Jon's a CB (if Jon's a CB), and that's not what I'm implying, but I could see that being a little nod by PKJ that will have readers coming back to that page and going "aaaahhh! I see what you did there!"

Okay, the theories go wild, are contradictory and based on all sorts of supposition but a) they are fun b) they do actually reflect a hidden Jonathan Kent plan in 5G that may still have sway over the current storylines and c) the Superman books are taking in a lot of Wildstorm history right now, and yes that includes Henry Bendix.

DC Comics Full November 2021 Solicits - Not Only But Mostly Batman
Jonathan Kent's Superman – A Century Baby? Jenny Sparks Returning?

As well as Tom Taylor's tweets a few days to Tom Raney, artist on Stormwatch, the series that led into The Authority, and the co-creator of Jenny Sparks alongside Warren Ellis.

It's starting to look like a Century Baby…

SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #5
Written by TOM TAYLOR
Art and cover by JOHN TIMMS
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
Variant by INHYUK LEE
$4.99 US (Card stock)
ON SALE 11/9/21
Faster than fate. As powerful as hope. Able to lift us all.
For all his great power, Jon Kent can't save everyone, but that won't stop him from trying. How much can Earth's new Superman do before this Man of Steel buckles? And when he does, who swoops in to save Superman?

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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