Okay, THAT copy of “Superman, Son of Kal-El” is out. You know the one. It’s been all over the net and even TV. Anderson Cooper interviewed its author Tom Taylor about it yesterday. The New York Times wrote about it a month before it came out. Fanboys have been rending their garments and bewailing the loss of their childhood over the sacrilege. That one. So, what about it?
It’s not earth-shattering. But it IS fun and sweet, and like the four issues before it, helps flesh out just who this new Superman, son of the “Last Son of Krypton”, is. And guess what? He’s a kid of the 21st century. And he’s his father’s son. He’s developing a romance with an investigative reporter, albeit a pink-haired Asian guy who runs a crusading Truth and News website. And like his parents, they meet cute with dialog and titling that harkens back to what’s pretty much the iconic rendering of that earlier meeting.
No, this isn’t your father’s or your grandfather’s Superman. It’s a new young guy trying to figure out what being Superman means-this time while weighed down by the whole world knowing who he is—no secret identity—and having to live up to the reputation of being not only his father’s son, with Those boots to fill, but his mother’s as well: Lois Lane crusading reporter who is brave enough to go up against the criminals, world conquerors and corrupt politicians of the world without any superpowers.
What would it be like to be that kid? Tom and his team are doing a pretty decent job of imagining it. He’s got a pretty serious challenge in doing so, one that really hasn’t been faced by too many. John Byrne comes to mind—having to reintroduce the Man of Steel after the Crisis on Infinite Earths wiped out all that had gone before and gave us the tragedy of the old Kal holding the dead body of his beloved cousin. John got a lot of praise and a lot of crap for Man of Steel, and it was inevitable that Tom would for this one—no matter how he handled it.
For my money, this new series, this new Superman is some of the best Superman storytelling since Chris Reeve made us believe a man could fly, and John reintroduced us to the Man of Steel, probably better than when Smallville showed us who Clark could be with no flight, no tights. It has made me grin like Brandon Routh donning the Kingdom Come suit (with all it brought with it) and Tyler Hoechlin telling us “my mother made it” after lifting a green car. I feel really good about how Superman is being handled these days.
And we need him as we try to re-find Truth and Justice, not lose our Way, and create a better tomorrow. Again, I recommend this series—not for what it isn’t, but for what it is.