Friday, February 11, 2022

Review: Superman Son Of Kal-El #8

Superman Son of Kal-El #8 came out this week and something is missing.

I wish I could say what it is that just didn't work for me this issue. It just reads somewhat flat. I felt no passion as I read this book which should have coaxed more emotion and energy out of me. There are moments that should have packed a punch. There are emotional scenes that should have tugged at me. 

Writer Tom Taylor is bringing us a different Superman these days, young and socially conscious. This story is a comment on climate change and damage being done to the ocean. Jon is getting more embroiled in an international conflict with Gamorran president Bendix. But even that, including President Bendix's odd world domination plan, seems off. And yes, I am still wondering if Jay Nakamura is not a good guy.

Artist Cian Tormey is back for this second issue and I definitely like his work. There is a lot of water spouts, waves, and splashes in this book. Aqualad is manipulating water. Jon is flying around saving people. It is all visually appealing. Even the drab Gamorra Corps has a great panel. 

I don't know what to say. It wasn't boring by any means. But it wasn't gripping. Maybe someone more articulate than me can help.

On to the specifics.

Last issue, the Gamorra Corps tried to kill a leviathan sea creature who had been roused to the surface due to pollution. Jon stepped in trying his best to protect nearby Metropolis and guide this monster to safety.

While Jon flies into the city to check on everything, the Corps takes a second crack at it.

Meanwhile Jay at The Truth is reporting the whole thing. 

Injured, the leviathan leaps out of the ocean to try and attack the Corps, even pulping one in its claws.

But when it hits the water again, it creates a tidal wave.

I love that second panel by Tormey. You can sense the shock and surprise, feel Jon whirling around to see the wave forming. Great art there, conveying just what Jon must be feeling.

What can he do?

Luckily Aqualad is there to tell Jon that an underwater sonic boom will dissipate the wave.

Again nice mix of art and words here.

Love the super-clap with the description that folks in the city can feel it in their chests. I imagine it like the bass at a loud concert thrumming through me.

While it clearly lessens the destruction of the wave, it doesn't completely diminish it.

There is still a flood, still damage, still people that need to be saved. 

I thought this scene with multiple images of Jon racing through the streets saving people was very nice, evocative of super-speedsters. 

Here is that panel I loved of the Gamorra Corps. 

Again given the order to kill this giant crab, the female corp member juices up, with the intent to fly right through this thing and kill it.

The contrast of the yellow and oranges of her body with the blues behind her make the panel pop. Kudos to Federico Blee for making it really sizzle. And the angry face and swoosh flight lines by Tormey really sell how much power she is gathering for this kill shot.

Of course, Jon steps in and stops her.

Here is another great exchange. The Corps are confused why Jon doesn't just end the threat. He could fly through this thing's brain and kill it.

The exasperated Aqualad (I know ... he's Aquaman too) stating the obvious (that Superman doesn't do that) was a funny moment. 

Instead, Jon uses a giant shelf of rock to basically shepherd this thing into deep waters where Aquaman can find a place for it to live. Aquaman even gives Jon a compliment for the way he handled the situation. 

When Jon returns to the city, he finds out that no one bats 1.000.

Someone did die in the flood. One person. 

But the Gamorra Corps uses that to denigrate Jon. This man didn't need to die. Superman could have stopped everything from happening seconds in ... had he killed that thing. But he chose that creature over humanity. 

Already feeling guilty, Jon apologizes and flies off. 

I don't know. Jon has been doing this heroing for a while. You think he would have more to do and say about this accusation. Some way to defend himself, or inspire others.

Instead he flies off ... like Superman in Batman V Superman when the Senate is blown up. 

I know I don't need an emo Superman.

Bendix continues to push his agenda. The Earth is in danger because of super-heroes with free will. The Metropolis situation was just the latest.

In front of a packed house of politicians and CEOs, he talks about The Rising. Not only has he created super-beings but he has made them automatons. He can control them completely from his gaming chair. He equates them to drones.


I mean Superman and his pals just saved Metropolis from being leveled by Luthor's Secret Society in Bendis' last run. The world has been saved over and over by the JLA. Is one death from a giant crab going to push the needle? Hasn't this PR battle been tried before?

And with the idea of consent and control so key these days, does Bendix think the idea of enslaved soldiers will fly? Won't the world be in more danger if one crazed mind hacks into the minds of a super-powered army?

Finally, Jon is so disturbed by how he has been portrayed that he decides the time is right to mask up and join The Truth. 

I still think Jay is mentally nudging Jon. Notice how Jon has yet to say one word of dissension with anything Jay has said?  Even here, Jon says that pissing off people sounds perfect.

Really? 'Sounds perfect'?

You can see that a lot happens in this issue. But somehow it just sort of happens. 

I keep waiting for this book to really grab me. I am rooting for it to do so. Maybe soon?

Overall grade: C

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

It’s great to read your thoughts, I’m just the same, I can appreciate the craft but I’m just not enjoying this series. It’s not fun, the entire vibe is gloomy - in the Golden Age, Superman fought social problems with a smile, but everything seems a slog for Jon.

And I really don’t trust Jay… he can go phantom, he’s apparently messing with Jon’s head. White Martian?