Superman: Son Of Kal-El – Has Everyone Forgotten How Stories Work?

So, Clark Kent, Superman, has left Earth to take down a slave society on WarWorld. Seemingly oblivious to the news that slavery still exists on Earth. In his wake, he has left his and Lois Lane's newly aged-up son, Jon Kent in charge as the Superman of Earth in his absence. Clark Kent's trip to WarWorld is set to be a long one, with creators promising a bigger and more impactful story than The Death Of Superman in the mid-nineties. We have also seen a Superman Future State where Clark Kent never came back from WarWorld and was enslaved himself, while Jon Kent made some serious errors as a new Superman, including putting Metropolis in a bottle, and caused a life-long split between him and his cousin once removed, Supergirl. While in Infinite Frontier #0 that previewed much of these storylines, The Spectre warns that Jon Kent could become dictator of Earth, a tyrant.

And in issues of the current series, we have seen Jon Kent reinvent himself as an interventionist Superman, far more than his father, in political world affairs of this planet rather than others. Getting himself arrested for helping illegal immigrant refugees (like his dad was). Wanting to shake things up. And using the term "Truth, Justice And A Better World".

So that's what's happening. Then Jon Kent is announced as a bisexual young man by DC Comics on Coming Out Day, with his new journalist boyfriend Jay Nakamura, and the world goes mad.

One major criticism I have heard is that Jon Kent is being portrayed as a perfect figure, that by making him a bisexual lead character will give him what's known as "plot armour", that by being a representative figure of the queer community, nothing terrible can happen to him and he can't make poor choices without that reflecting on everyone badly. Firstly, no one seemed to make that argument about Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman, or Harley Quinn. And secondly, it is clear from the comic book that Jon Kent is heading for a fall. So much responsibility placed on such young shoulders, with the world looking over them, something is going to give. You couldn't have had more foreshadowing of this if he's started wearing an alien symbiote as a cape. His standing up for Gamorran refugees against US forces saw his grandparent's Smallville farm destroyed, and the lives of those he loves almost taken from him.

Because here's the other thing about plot armour. As you have more and more prominent characters of previously unrepresented communities as part of your gallery of characters, then any perception of plot armour falls away. It becomes much less of an issue – if it ever was. The trope "kill your gays" and the line from Scream "brothers don't last long in these situations" didn't come from nowhere. But even if there was an attempt to swing the balance the other way, by having a wider diversity of characters, when you do kill off a black guy, say, you are no longer killing off your only black guy. Having a bisexual Superman is one thing, but if you have a bisexual Tom Drake, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and more, suddenly it's less of an issue.

Jon Kent, Son Of Superman, As An Environmental Activist

Next up? The solicited cover for Superman: Son Of Kal-El #7 for January 2022, which also caused a lot of internet… let's call it banter, shall we? For seeing JonKent as Superman on a protest march. When, if he were so minded, he could probably put a stop to whatever is being protested. And in previous issues has expressed such a desire to do so.

Well, first, this is a Superman comic book and so classically doesn't always show a perfect portrayal of what is inside the comic on the cover, it is often thematic, and frankly, since the fifties has been the comic book cover equivalent of clickbait, spawning the Superman Is A Dick memes. If you want  Bleeding Cool scoop, that scene does not appear in the comic book, no more than a previous cover having a giant purple Henry Bendix looming over Jon Kent's body. Instead, we have young Jon Kent, at a time in your life when people think they know everything there is to know and acting like you do. He's also a Superman which only underlines and exaggerates that feeling. The idea of "why is he protesting when he could be doing something about it" is clearly the topic of upcoming issues, not some kind of flaw people have seen that the creators have not.

Because Tom Taylor does show the consequences of people's actions, taken in the heat of the moment. Whether that's killing the Joker, or infecting the world. He doesn't do plot armour, terrible things happen to the best of people, and actions taken in the heat of the moment, play out for decades to come. Why would anyone think Superman: Son of Kal-El would be any different?

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL-EL #7 CVR A JOHN TIMMS
(W) Tom Taylor (A/CA) John Timms
Superman has recovered from the devastating attack against him. After the life-changing events of issue #5, Jon Kent and his new ally Jay Nakamura are ready to strike back. They are on a collision course with the type of power that is used to swatting problems out of the way. But Superman is not so easily swatted. Retail: $3.99 FOC Date: 12/5/2021 In-Store Date: 1/11/2022

Oh yes, we also posted the other day that all the issues of Superman: Son Of Kal-El were going to second of third printings, here's a look at the final covers going to FOC this week.

Superman: Son Of Kal-El

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL EL #1 3RD PTG
DC COMICS
AUG219227
(W) Tom Taylor (A) John Timms
Jonathan Kent has experienced a lot in his young life. He's traveled the galaxies with his Kryptonian grandfather and lived in the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes, who were intent on training him for the day his father, Clark Kent, could no longer be Superman. There is a hole in the Legion's history that prevents Jon from knowing exactly when that will happen, but all signs point to it being very soon. It's time for the son to wear the cape of his father and bear the symbol of hope that has told the world who Superman really is. Join writer Tom Taylor (Nightwing, DCeased) and artist John Timms (Infinite Frontier) as they usher in a whole new era for the House of El! In Shops: Nov 24, 2021 Final Orders Due: Oct 31, 2021 SRP: $3.99

 

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL EL #1 3RD PTG 1:50 VAR
DC COMICS
AUG219228

Superman: Son Of Kal-El

 

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL EL #2 2ND PTG
DC COMICS
AUG219229
(W) Tom Taylor (A) John Timms
Jonathan Kent now dons his father's cape, but can he be Superman and still have a normal life? It's tough in this modern world. Danger is everywhere. The new Superman learns this the hard way on his first day of college, and a deadly attack forces Jon to step from the shadows and into the spotlight-where his identity is exposed to the Truth, an activist news machine ready to upset everything. But first, the son still has some things to learn from his father-and a few cool toys to inherit. Ask yourself, what would you do with your very own Fortress of Solitude? This all-new chapter in the legacy of Man of Steel has only just begun to reveal its surprises!In Shops: Nov 24, 2021
Final Orders Due: Oct 31, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Superman: Son Of Kal-El

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL-EL #3 2ND PTG
DC COMICS
AUG219230
(W) Tom Taylor (A) John Timms
Jonathan Kent hasn't been Superman for long, but he's upset some powerful people with his heroism. And the underground news source known as the Truth is helping Jon open his eyes to evils in the world that could be more powerful than the new Man of Steel. Continuing the brand-new saga of Superman from Tom Taylor, the writer of Nightwing, and John Timms, artist on Future State: Superman of Metropolis.In Shops: Nov 24, 2021 Final Orders Due: Oct 31, 2021 SRP: $3.99

Superman: Son Of Kal-El

SUPERMAN SON OF KAL EL #4 2ND PTG
DC COMICS
AUG219231
(W) Tom Taylor (A) John Timms
Kal-El has left, and the weight of the world now rests on his son's shoulders. Powerful forces have been threatened by Jon Kent's first leaps in his father's boots. It's hard to hurt a man of steel, but his loved ones make a much easier target. Jon's world is about to come crashing down.In Shops: Nov 24, 2021
Final Orders Due: Oct 31, 2021 SRP: $3.99

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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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