Comic Book Recap & Review – Superman: Son of Kal-El (2021-) Issue #1

Today’s post is a recap and review of the first issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El. I wrote a while back about how excited I was that there was a bi superman, and I’ve finally been able to sit down and read the first issue. I haven’t read a DC book in quite some time, and I’m excited about getting to see what is going on with this character.

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The first issue starts with Jon Kent describing the day of his birth. He explains that his father, Clark Kent, was trying to save the world from an alien invasion on the day he was born, but the other superheroes wouldn’t let him miss the birth of his son. During the explanation, it was revealed that Jon has both Kryptonian and human physiology, and Batman seemed to think that will somehow make him the best superhero Earth has ever seen, even more-so than Clark. No pressure right?

Next, we see Jon rescuing people from a forest fire in California. He goes in search of what is making the blaze continue and finds the military attacking a person who is on fire. He stops the military attack and attempts to calm the person setting the blaze. He discovers the person doesn’t know how to control their fire powers, which seem to be exacerbated by anxiety and stress. Jon helps the person calm down by helping him breathe a bit and then turns him over to the military once the flames have died out. They abruptly knock him out to keep the flames from starting again, but Jon is unsure if it is the right course of action since they have intentionally hurt the man.

After he finishes putting out the fire, Jon tracks down Damian, Batman’s son and Jon’s apparent best friend, to process the experience and question whether he did the right thing by turning the man over to the government. The two had a pretty deep conversation about how Jon could change the world and the importance of fighting the root problems rather than the symptoms. Of course, the entire time they were also fighting a group of ninjas (because why not? lol). Damian reminds Jon he is the son of Lois Lane, who has spent her career finding and exposing injustice and corruption. So, it is literally in Jon’s blood to feel like he needs to do the same. Damian points him to a group that creates videos exposing the truth about systemic injustices as a place to start.

My Review

I really enjoyed this first issue. I don’t usually recap and review only one issue at a time. However, I have quite a few thoughts about this one on its own, and it felt like a complete story by itself. Starting from the beginning, the retelling of Jon’s birth really set the stage for this to be an epic story. I hope they continue to explore the ramifications of him being part human and part alien. I think there are a lot of interesting things they could do with that. I loved the first rescue Jon pulls off. The fire in California was a great opportunity to bring up climate change, and I’m glad the writers didn’t shy away from it. I also liked that the first “villain” Jon meets is just someone who is anxious and afraid. I loved how he dealt with the situation using techniques I would use as a therapist. It showcased a different kind of strength than one I usually associate with superheroes, which was nice to see. From reading this, it definitely seems like the story is poised to go in a direction of directly fighting against systemic inequalities with the government/military being at least one face of that inequality. I think it will be interesting to see how it gets approached because Jon will have to figure out how to balance generating real change while avoiding abusing his powers to make things the way he wants. Finally, I’m happy they changed Superman’s original slogan and dropped ‘the American way.’ The new one (Truth. Justice. And a better world.) just works better for today’s interconnected world. The old slogan also screamed nationalist propaganda, which I always thought was weird to use for a literal alien being (even if he was raised in Kansas). Overall, I enjoyed the beginning of this new story and am looking forward to seeing what Jon Kent does with the legacy of Superman.

Have you read the issue? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

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