THIS WEEK: Listen, it’s not my fault that every time my turn comes up it’s a Superman heavy week, but here we are to talk about Superman: Son of Kal-El #3 and Action Comics #1035 which fully take the Man of Tomorrow into, well, tomorrow.
Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #3
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: John Timms
Superman: Son of Kal-El #3 and Action Comics #1035 happen pretty much simultaneously, or at least the ends of the issues do. Both issues end to fully set the status quo of this new era for the Men of Steel, as this is Clark’s farewell to Earth.
This issue of Jon’s book though continues to play with the politics that we’ve seen throughout the series thus far, but with a little more tact than the previous issue’s bad and heavy-handed school shooting. This issue turns it’s attention back to the refugees that Jon saved, and their imminent deportation back to a land they fled from. Again it’s a very real issue that has a lot of nuance to it, but this time I think Taylor handles it better.
I do appreciate a Superman willing to stand up to power and allow himself to be arrested alongside peaceful protesters, but I think I’d appreciate even more a Superman who stood up to power and got them to back down and not arrest anyone. That said, his speech actually resonated with me, because it’s a point I’ve tried to drive home to many comic fans who don’t seem to get that Superman wouldn’t support deportation policies. Especially now, Superman’s origin is one that feels timely. He’s a climate refugee who was given the opportunity to live the American Dream. That’s something powerful, and this is a comic that embraces that.
I also appreciated Jay’s reaction to meeting the Lois Lane. As a journalist, she would be the biggest deal in the world to him. Truth be told, I don’t know whether I’d be more in awe of meeting her or Clark myself. Probably her if I’m honest.
The one thing that drops this book down from a buy to a browse this month for me is the ending cliffhanger. Ending with the potential fridging of the Kents is overwrought and passe, and I wish we got something a little more original.
Action Comics #1035
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Daniel Sampere & Alejadro Sanchez
The other side of the farewell coin is the issue focused on Clark’s side. While both issues have him saying goodbye to Jon, Action‘s heart is him saying goodbye to Lois.
I didn’t know why it hit me as hard as it did at first. But then it clicked. This issue was the opposite of Adventures of Superman #505. That issue was the culmination of a year’s worth of stories as well, but it was the long-awaited return of Superman, while this is the one that leads to him going away for the foreseeable future.
But the thing they have in common is the part where they show that no matter what, Superman always comes back around to Lois Lane. She’s been the star of this series just as long as he has, and there’s a reason why. The parallels don’t exist just in the themes of the story though, they also exist within the art itself. In Adventures Lois answers a rapping at her window to Clark’s chest and immediately flings herself out the window and into his arms. This issue is softer, Clark asking her to fly with him, but the end result is the same, and that’s love and passion above the streets of Metropolis as articles of clothing plummet to the pavement below. Of course this is a Superman comic, and not part of the Black Label line, so what happens next in both is left to the imagination, but one of the issues has both of them showering and the other has Lois naked in bed wrapped only in a top sheet, so you can do the math.
Sampere shares another thing with Tom Grummett who drew that Adventures issue, in that the two of them draw my favorite versions of Lois Lane. Grummett’s has been my favorite version for nearly thirty years now, but Sampere is working his way up the list. It’s a shame that we’ll likely be seeing less of his Lois in the future as the story shifts away from Earth. Hopefully, like during Exile, we’ll find moments to check in back home while Superman is off planet.
The last thing I’ll say about these books is that letterer Dave Sharpe does a fantastic job with sound effects in both issue, and his work really does a lot to elevate both comics.
- I was going to write about Strange Adventures this week, but that book got delayed, so thank you global shipping crisis for saving me from that one.
- Robin continues to be an absolute blast, and I never thought I’d ever like a Damian-led Robin series nearly as much as I’m liking this one.
- I personally felt like this month’s Icon & Rocket lost a step from where the series started. It just felt a little too “the war on drugs was good” actually for me.
- Superman ’78 is still fantastic. Loving every moment of it.
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