A Superman’s adventure in the world of Injustice comes to a close with the end of his self-titled limited series!
Written by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Clayton Henry
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Wes Abbott
It’s Batman versus Superman. Super Son versus Super Son.
Injustice Superman is ruling with a fist of steel.
Can Jon Kent free an entire world? And what could he lose if he tries?
“Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” has been an interesting exploration of the eponymous character and his relationship with his legacy, both as Superman and as Jonathan Samuel Kent. He is not the young, uncertain boy he once was, nor is he wise as his father, the more famous Superman named Kal-El (also known by his Earth name Clark Kent). He has a lot to learn, and that is even setting aside the new electrokinetic powers he gained from the rains of the ‘Lazarus Planet’ mini-event. With the new issues he has, we come to a somewhat familiar setting: Earth 49, or as it is known in-series, “Earth-Injustice,” home to the Injustice video game series, with which writer Tom Taylor has quite a bit of experience. How does the old interact with the new, and how does the creative team handle both put together as they come into the finale of this miniseries?
At its core, “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” #6 is a story about hope and mercy, one that Tom Taylor makes abundantly clear from the opening to the closing. In the process, Taylor dissembles some major players in the One Earth Regime, primarily Wonder Woman and especially High Councilor Superman.
As if to speak out against some newer interpretations in the audience, Taylor explicitly, deliberately says that Superman is not cruel or vengeful, and does not kill, lead through fear and violence, or deliberately intimidate. Instead, as per Jon Kent’s interpretation, the essence of Superman is a friend who tries to help. To that end, Kal-El of the Injustice Earth is not Superman anymore, but rather a tyrant, a torturer, and a bully who is only barely holding on to anything resembling morality through his memory of his late wife. In general, Taylor’s writing on “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” #6 clarify that despite Superman being very powerful; he is not out to fight people, or rather if he is for that itself instead of helping others, he can no longer call himself Superman at all. In fact, it is highly likely that not only could he no longer call himself Superman, but it is debatable that he could be considered Clark Kent, instead just being Kal-El, the Kryptonian conqueror without a family (in fact, the only time Jon refers to him by name in person, it is to call him by that Kryptonian name rather than his Earth-based one).
Taylor’s latest trip to the universe of the Injustice series may not have had much of an impact on the overall story or characters there (one more or less set in stone since the game’s release in 2013, with this series evidently taking place during the period before the first game itself), but it does for Jon Kent, who learns a valuable lesson about why not to use his awesome powers to enact major societal change. Could this take have done without using the Injustice universe again? Yes, but with the various in-built changes and many characters the young Superman knows personally on his home universe, the overarching plot is handled much more easily and smoothly, with Taylor needing less room to explain things or force the changes to occur.
Clayton Henry’s pencils and inks are perfect for the hope-fueled story of “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” #6. The story balances between a vast physical distance and a relatively condensed finale, and Henry is good with both. Intense emotion plays across the faces of the Kents present, particularly the High Councilor Superman, who alternates between smug satisfaction, confusion, rage, immense sorrow and even a hint of remorse in the brief pages we see. Meanwhile, Jon Kent’s hopeful response plays out not just in his actions, but in his calmer, more collective facial expression, implicitly setting aside his personal feelings for the good of all for a brief moment instead of having a breakdown in a public setting.Continued below
When it comes to the literally shocking nature of Jon’s new powers, Henry’s experience with electrically-charged heroes (including but not limited to his work on “Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands” and the 2021 run on “Shazam!”) shines through, having the power enhance, rather than override, the character himself. Further, the prior work with lightning-related heroes makes for very good work showing speed, the illustration of Jon’s confrontations in space being a key example of just how fast, how strong he can be if he focuses himself well and has enough energy.
While the writing and the artwork do a lot to make the case for hope and kindness, it is Jordie Bellaire’s coloring that truly brings it home. Blues, red, greens, and more pop out, enhancing the excitement of even scenes of just standing still and talking. The topics at hand may be serious, but with the bright coloration everything seems like it is going to be okay, enough to relax and enjoy this final installment of the “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” limited series.
Final Verdict: 7.5– Ending with small moments rather than a grand battle, Jon Kent’s stay in the world of Injustice ends with an appropriate use of what it means to be Superman.