DC’s Superman: Son of Kal-El comic series focuses on Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who takes over the mantle of Superman while his father is away from Earth. He certainly has some big shoes to fill, so it lends itself to a solid coming of age story about following his father’s footsteps while including exciting superhero action. Not only is it a greatly entertaining read, but it allows readers to experience a story with an extremely important new comic book character.
The first and most obvious reason that Jon is important to DC’s universe is that by being named “Jon,” it further shows how much Clark’s Earth father, Jonathan Kent, influenced him. Clark’s father has always been extremely important, as he plays a massive part in what makes Clark such a good person and why he uses his powers for good. Clark naming his son after his own father further shows what he meant to him.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Jon Kent Superman is so important is that he is half Kryptonian and half human. One of Clark Kent’s main characteristics is that, even though he’s an alien from Krypton, he still feels tethered to the Earth. His loved ones are here and he considers Earth his home. However, there is often the idea that if that tether was ever severed, like Lois Lane and those he cares about being killed, that he wouldn’t have the same attachment to the Earth and would lose his humanity. Jon being born on Earth and being half human means that he will always have that tether regardless. He’s what happens when someone from our world has the powers of Superman. Earth is his home in every meaning of the word, and he now represents the best of anyone who comes from our planet.
Some of Superman’s most exciting stories over the last several decades have featured the Man of Steel battling against alien threats and other god-like beings. It always leads to riveting action. However, the recent comic run with Jon as Superman showcases something that those who don’t read a lot of comics may forget, and that’s that Superman fights for a better tomorrow in more ways than just punching and shooting eye beams.
Since he’s taken over the role of Superman, Jon has stopped a school shooter, rescued people and pets from a falling tower, showed compassion and empathy for someone who started a massive wildfire, and has fought for social justice. He has taken a stand against police brutality, as the perpetrators have a right to due process. He has saved refugees on a boat to bring them to Metropolis to protect them. He let himself get arrested at a protest and was bailed out after the situation went global. Jon, like his father, is becoming a beacon of hope for the world and encouraging others to do the same. He’s showing that anyone can be a hero just by doing what’s right for the world, and that it doesn’t take battling aliens to become one.
Jon is also bisexual and has a male love interest. With characters like his father, Batman, Aquaman, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, most Green Lanterns, and countless other big-name comic book superheroes being straight and cisgender, it’s important that there is representation for those who don’t fit those labels. For decades, straight, white, cisgender boys could see themselves in the characters they read about or watched on TV. Now, those who identify as part of the LGBT+ community have a hero to see themselves in which is extremely important and exciting.
After over 80 years of the Man of Steel, it’s also important that the writers continue to come up with new stories involving him. This time it’s a story about his and Lois’s son, which hasn’t been the focus of a story yet. Jon Kent is a more modern comic book creation, and he’s a rather important one overall. Let’s hope that comic books continue to focus on stories and characters like this in the future.