Reading those stories, it’s pretty wild to think about the direction his work eventually headed. Though, an argument could be made that DC’s reluctance to back him helped nudge him in that direction. It worked out pretty well for Millar in the end, but I can’t help but wonder what might have been.
This makes sense. I don’t sense it going in the Jon being less proactive direction, but I could be wrong.
As for my own thoughts:
The art by Clayton Henry was pretty. He does facial expressions very well.
The issue was a breeze to read through. That’s kind of been the case for all of Tom Taylor’s Jon Kent output: decompressed, with few moving parts. It makes for very quick reads every month.
Jon himself has consistently been written by Taylor as quite an easygoing character. Yeah he wants to change the world & all that, but there’s this calmness that usually surrounds him. It’s hard to describe. Sometimes I think Jon could use a different alias. Not only because Clark is Superman, but because of the different presence Jon has compared to his dad.
No. I think you’re right! The most likely scenario is that this just ends up being your standard superhero story where Jon helps overthrow the bad Superman (or something like that), and that none of what I wrote above comes into play. There were two thoughts I had about why it would go down the less proactive path. One of them involved Future State, but I think I just debunked that one for myself since Taylor didn’t write Jon’s Future State book. The second comes just from that moment where Jon remarks how his father doesn’t believe in taking that active a role and Injustice Supes mentions how it’s probably because they both feel like outsiders. It was a small moment but it was powerful enough to make me think there was a possible direction nudge there.
I could also be making the mistake of equating Injustice with Squadron Supreme. The stories are very, very similar, but they are not exactly the same. If I’m being fair, Squadron Supreme (the original) was a bit more politically charged than Injustice was. It could be that or I just really didn’t like Injustice and feel the angst of being reminded of a story I didn’t like…
In any event, we’ll see where this goes.
They could always pull a Bronze Age and call him Superman, Jr. or Superman II
But do you feel a Superman vibe from Jon? I admit he puts out a good vibe, a calm & cool one like I mentioned, which Superman does give off a calming reassuring presence… but I also associate Supes with this awe inspiring larger than life feeling, which I don’t get from Jon. Maybe as he ages he’ll “grow into it”, though I think a major point of Jon Kent Superman is how he’s different from his dad. I’m going around in circles.
As for Injustice, I played the game on mobile a lot (the 2nd one), so I have an appreciation for the visuals. As a story, I think its alternate universe status lets it get away with Superman character assassination. Yeah, “our” Supes shows up to save the day in the first game, but still, given the game’s popularity an entire generation of gamers will remember the dictator as their Superman, & I dislike that quite a bit.
The inspiration for that image and for parts of All-Star Superman was a moment when Morrison stepped outside a convention and saw a guy in Superman cosplay, sitting on a bench, and looking entirely at ease (or something like that). The spark that lit in Grant was the realization that Superman would be entirely at ease 99.9% of the time. Why wouldn’t he be? Nothing’s going to harm him, due to his powers everything is beautiful, and he has that inner peace. So, I think the calm and cool vibe is absolutely integral to Superman and I think that’s what you’re reading from Jon in his stories. Like, in issue #3 there was that moment when Jon was flying around the Injustice Earth and just taking in the clean air and basking in the quiet. That’s a great example if that and I see why it probably pops out at you more than anything else, but I do think it is an important part of being Superman.
But, I also get what you’re looking for and what you think is missing. You want Jon to have that same presence his father has where he flies in to save the day and you know everything will be alright. I think Jon has had those moments like when he stood alone against the Dark Army in Dark Crisis (probably the best example he’s had of a moment like that). In my estimation, his willingness to be arrested while standing with the protestors fighting for the Gamorran refugees was also a moment like that- though, from a different sort of angle. I think those were both moments where he exuded the kind of assertive confidence that gives Kal that larger than life presence. Does he have that all the time? No, but-
There’s merit to both these points. Jon is still in the early stages of his heroic career and that kind of confidence is tough to maintain when you’re just starting out. Also, yeah, Jon is not Kal and he will not/should not be Kal so it’s probably always going to feel a bit different. Finally, Kal has something that Jon doesn’t have: Reputation. Part of the reason Kal has that larger than life aura is because we’ve been reading/watching/listening to him for years and we’re trained to regard him that way. We are conditioned to feel reassured that evil is $%*#ed and the day is saved when he comes to the rescue because he’s done it for 85 years. Jon has been Superman for like two and change…? It may just take more time than that, is all…
Edit because I was so focused on the question and forgot about the second part of your post:
I played the first mobile game a lot (the second always worked kind of funny on my phone). I pretty much just concentrated on powering up my Superman cards. I also played through the first Injustice as Superman on the PS4 and remember that ending you mentioned. I have the second one in my library from my PS+ subscription, so maybe I should fire it up and see if much changed. I definitely get why you’re annoyed by the dictator Superman possibly being the first image of the character that a generation of gamers being exposed to. My hope that their minds will change if they get into the comics. Just… not the Injustice comic.
All very well articulated, my friend. I think you’re answering my question by confirming some of the stuff I was saying to myself regarding Jon’s age, exposure, and experience.
I too thought of that All-Star Superman image. It’s why I said a calm reassuring presence is definitely a trait I expect of Superman, and Jon definitely has that. And yes, Jon flying around taking in the clean air was a moment where I felt that. I was just too lazy to type it .
You described my feelings about Clark perfectly. Actually I’m very happy that you didn’t take my words as a knock on Jon. Good point about us as readers having not lived that long with Jon. Who knows how stories, and our feelings towards the character, will unfold over time. The moments you listed were definitely good ones, and hopefully he’ll have a lot more to come.
There’s another part of me… call it shallow or escapist if you will… that enjoys spectacle. In these threads there’s a lot of talk about Superman’s core, his values, what he stands for, etc. It’s all valid and I of course don’t disagree with any of it. I also want to see Superman soar and do the unbelievable things that we know he can do. Visuals I can couple in my head with that John Williams theme, you know? We’re getting that in spades in Clark’s comics at the moment, so I guess it’s ok that Jon’s are little bit… quieter… would that be a good word for it?
I say that and feel a bit hypocritical. The latest episode of Superman & Lois had absolutely zero spectacle, with no Supes action, but was still phenomenal. I think it may very well go back to what you said about having spent decades with a character and just caring about every little thing.
Thanks! But… yeah, I think it’s mostly just that he’s younger and has had less time. Probably not too much more complicated than that.
I feel that. I wish I could be lazier with my posts, but whenever I am someone eats me alive for missing a single panel where Blue Beetle is holding a pistol. That’s not relevant to anything we’re discussing. I’m just taking a self-pity moment over the bed I made for myself on DCUI
I tend to get a bit defensive of the kids both because I feel a significant chunk of the fanbase is pretty unfair to them (or are constantly petitioning for them to be de-aged) and because I seem to naturally take the path of most resistance. However, since it came from you, moro, I was not suspicious of your motives for the comment and correctly reasoned it was a genuine reflection on where we’re currently at with the Jon Kent Superman.
Shallow? That’s a hard no. Escapist? Of course. We’re comic book fans. None of us would be here if we didn’t want the escapism. If I didn’t need the escapism then I would finish reading all those novels I’m currently avoiding because they make me feel bad feelings despite how brilliant I think they are. Enjoy the magic of super powers because real life is tough enough!
I think that comes down to the differences between PKJ and Taylor as storytellers. PKJ tends to sprinkle in a lot of little fights as his plots roll along (and, well, he is writing Action Comics, so fair enough). Whereas, Taylor seems to prefer to build to one, big battle at the end with maybe only one or two significant fights in between. Though, I should point out that when fists do fly in Taylor’s Jon Kent stories then they tend to end with something significant happening. Last time around, Ultraman died and I completely no-sold that in my reaction to the issue. In hindsight, though, that was a pretty significant character death, so… apologies Ultraman!
Looking forward to getting caught up on that once it hits HBO Max which I assume will be this summer.
Agreed. Tom Taylor loves to build up to shock & awe moments. PKJ likes to use action frequently to service the story or character.
Don’t forget that Williamson’s and Priest’s books have also both been quite a treat when it comes to action and spectacle.
If I remember correctly, you no sold it because we didn’t see enough interaction between the two. I know I wouldn’t have minded Jon handing him his ass after a few choice words. Come to think of it, it would have been nice to see Clark do that, but that’s not the story they decided to tell.
This season is different. We’re more than half way through and so far it’s more drama and less action than the previous two seasons, but not in a bad way. I won’t spoil the big thing we didn’t know going into the season, but I will say two words: Clark helpless. I’m curious to see your take on it.
I didn’t see mention of this in recent posts here, so here we go:
I love that PG is getting a new solo gig, and that Fire and Ice will be back in starring prominence as well.
Between Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman and now Power Girl and Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville, I like how things are shaping up with female-led titles in Dawn of DC. I hope more are on tap, because the more, the merrier.
Lastly, the one thing I’m curious about is, will F&I be an ongoing or a mini? The press release doesn’t specify, but I get the feeling it’ll be a mini.
Yeah I saw that. Not sure how I feel about the Power Girl series. Aside from the art, I didn’t enjoy the backup in Action Comics. PG’s new power was meh, her personality was not very likable (lots of complaining, that one), and the new character was just… there. The “sitting on the couch” setting was especially odd. Then again, it was but a short story; maybe the main series will be better. They do mention something about her saving her newfound family, which I presume is Clark & Co, and that I find very intriguing. Will probably support despite my misgivings about the backup.
Fire & Ice… I’m only familiar with them from the Death of Superman comic and the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. Will probably check that out, because I think the characters are cool, and because of the Smallville setting.