DC fans got their first taste of Jon Kent as a full-time Superman all the way back during DC's crossover event Future State. Since then, Jon has stepped into his own monthly title during a run that's proved nothing less than historic. However, all things must end, and with Superman: Son of Kal-El #18, Jon's first solo title as the Man of Steel has drawn to a close.(opens in new tab)
The latest and last Superman: Son of Kal-El goes on sale December 13. It is drawn by Cian Tormey and Ruairi Coleman, inked by Scott Hanna, colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr., lettered by Dave Sharpe, and written by Tom Taylor, who has had the reins on Jon's adventures since the title began. Ahead of its release, Newsarama sat down with Taylor to discuss the (semi) conclusive issue.
Read on to hear about closing this chapter of the junior Superman's adventures, how it's affected Jon's personality, and what's in store for the Son of Kal-El. Be aware, though: SPOILERS for Superman: Son of Kal-El #18 follow.
And oh yeah, we've got all the covers to March's Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #1 along with the first look at DC's full description of the issue.
Grant DeArmitt for Newsarama: Starting off, Tom, Son of Kal-El #18 is the last issue of Son of Kal-El. So my first question is; how are you feeling about that?
Tom Taylor: Fine. For me, it's not really the last issue because we're going straight into Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent. So it's all one story, which is getting a nice little rebrand for a specific reason that we can't talk about yet. There's something very exciting happening with Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent that we won't reveal until a couple of issues in. It's very exciting; sorry to be so mysterious.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Okay, I want to talk about Jon Kent's state of mind heading into Issue #18. Was there any point during Dark Crisis that Jon believed he was ready to be the world's only Superman?
Taylor: The thing about Jon is that he's a very humble guy. For one thing, and he doesn't feel like he's ever going to replace his dad. But at the same time, he knows 100% that he has to step up and be the hero that the world needs when the world needs it. So he's come to terms with his own power, and he certainly has that sense of responsibility that he has to step up and be the one to do this when no one else can. He has to be Superman.
But his Superman is a different Superman than Clark Kent's. His Superman comes at problems and villains from a different angle. In all our issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El, he's punched one person. That's the thing. We've had seventeen issues where the most powerful person on the planet hasn't thrown a punch. I think there's a real strength in that and a real heroism in that.(opens in new tab)
The first action we see of him, there's a man on fire who can't control it. There's a forest fire that's been lit by a man whose powers are dictated by his own anxiety. And Jon walks into fire and hugs him and calms him down. And I think there's something not just heroic, but powerful about that. And that's Superman.
Nrama: Yeah, absolutely. Now that Kal-El has returned, is his mindset about taking over that role different in any way? Is he going to change his methods now that he knows there's another Superman out there?
Taylor: Not really. He's become Superman over the last, what, two and a half years? Almost certainly longer. I've been writing this character in this form of sort of working on these characters since the last month of 2019 or something, so I’ve had a long time to develop him and find his level of hero. And he is not going to change who he is just because his dad's about.
The threat coming up in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent is huge. It's going to need Jon very, very specifically for reasons we can't quite divulge, but I can tell you, if you'd like, a little teaser of where that story is coming from.(opens in new tab)
So the truth is that Kal-Els are being murdered across the multiverse. Val-Zod manages to come to Jon Kent because, for some reason, he's one of the only people who can possibly stop this. The murderer is Ultraman, the man who kept Jon imprisoned in a volcano, who tortured him, who stole his childhood.
Jon's going to have to face his torturer, this man who treated him so badly for so long to save the people who are his father across the multiverse.
[editor's note: Here's a good a place as any to include DC's full description of March 7's Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #1 (of 6), by Taylor and Clayton Henry, with variant covers by Zu Orzu, Rafael Sarmento, Yasmín Flores Montañez, A.L. Kaplan, Henry, Megan Huang, Jordi Tarragona, and Dan Mora seen throughout this interview.]
"ANOTHER SUPERMAN HAS FALLEN.
"Across the Multiverse, Kal-Els are being murdered. Val-Zod, the Superman of Earth-2, believes only one man can help stop the killing—Kal-El's son, Jon Kent! Jon will have to step across dimensions and face the killer of the Kal- Els, the monstrous Ultraman, the man who kidnapped and tortured him for years. And Val-Zod is not acting alone in trying to save the Supermen. Who is the mysterious woman alongside him? And what is her shocking connection to the Super-Family?"(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Alright, Tom, back in the present, Jon is facing off against Red Sin, AKA Luis Rojas. He is a character that views the Super-family as inherently evil; what drives that opinion he has of them?
Taylor: Where Luis is coming from is, his parents died developing the Red Sin project, which is red sun radiation being used to take down the cells of any Kryptonian. It was something that his parents couldn't make work. They worked for Lex Luthor, but they couldn't make this work, and Lex couldn't see any way for it to work.
But Luis actually finishes the work of his parents. He does what they couldn't. So not only does he see Kryptonians as a threat just like his parents did, but everything they represent is a threat too. He sees them as a ticking time bomb. The destruction that they can cause if they have a bad day, if they just change their minds… he sees that as a threat to the entire planet.
He thinks it's his responsibility to stop them because his parents tried and died in the process of developing this project. So he's finished off their work. And now there’s Jon, who's the same age as Luis basically, who he sees as this massive threat to the world and something that he has to stop. And in his mind, you know, it's quite heroic.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Definitely. Doesn't he also have something against Lois Lane? He says something in this issue about her using her massive platform as propaganda, essentially. Actually, he sounds very much like someone who's been radicalized online. Has that been part of his character-building?
Taylor: Yeah, he is a character that's been radicalized. I think on some page, Lois basically says, "Yeah, most of his personality seems to be about hating you." Looking at his online presence, he hangs out at a forum called Not My Superman before he then has the power to do something about what he's saying.
So, yeah, he's certainly a radicalized character and there's a lot more out there. And yes, he resents Lois Lane, essentially saying she’s a propaganda tool for her husband. You know, they think she has this amazing platform to sell these great things about him but doesn't talk about the threat. So, the place he's coming from – of course, nobody's saying he's correct – but we wanted to show a character motivation that makes sense.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Gotcha. Alright, winding down here; let’s talk about the upcoming landmark issue, Action Comics #1050. You're on it, so are Joshua Williamson and Philip Kennedy Johnson. What has the process been like in terms of collaboration between you three?
Taylor: We've all been planning together for months and months and but it was great when Phillip and I could find that synergy between what our two books had already established and use that and corrupt that to create Project Blackout, to create what happens in Action #1050.
I don't think I can talk more about that because this interview goes live before then, but we found things that Lex Luthor could take from each of our books, something, you know, pretty heinous, in Action #1050. This momentous thing, which is out already, and that's taking the identity of Clark and Jon. So that will all come to a head.(opens in new tab)
I don't think I can talk more about that because this interview goes live before then, but we found things that Lex Luthor could take from each of our books, something, you know, pretty heinous, in Action #1050. This momentous thing, which is out already, and that's taking the identity of Clark and Jon. So that will all come to a head.
[editor's note 2: You might want to read Superman: Son of Kal-El #18 and/or check this out before reading Action Comics #1050. You'll thank us later.]
Josh and Phillip and I have been planning for a long time and chatting regularly, jumping on a call and talking about all of this. Obviously getting to write Action #1050 together was really exciting, finding ways that we can all meld together into one huge story with some great artists.
I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who's read Son of Kal-El. I'm so excited that we get to continue his story in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent, that he gets his own title. If you've read any of my Elseworlds stuff, Adventures of Superman is as action-packed and twisty and funny as all of that. It's incredibly fun.
Nrama: That's awesome to hear. I can't wait to see where the whole thing goes; Superman's got such exciting things going on for next year.
Taylor: Yes, absolutely.
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