As announced during DC’s Superman panel at New York Comic Con 2022 on Saturday afternoon, Jon Kent is about to move comic book addresses in the next few months, with his current title — Superman: Son of Kal-El — ending this December, ahead of the early 2023 launch of an all-new series… with a title very familiar to long-term fans of the Man of Steel.
Launching in early 2023, Tom Taylor and Clayton Henry will be responsible for the six-issue series Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent, which will bring Jon face-to-face with not one, but two different Men of Steel from the DC multiverse — including one with whom he’s got significant history, as he deals with Ultraman for the first time since the latter kidnapped Jon during Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run.
Popverse talked to Taylor about what lies in store for Jon Kent, and got far more than we bargained for… including an unexpected tease for the third issue of the upcoming miniseries…?
Popverse: 'Adventures of Superman' is a title with no small amount of history behind it; what does it mean for you as a Superman fan, as well as the writer in charge of Jon Kent's destiny, for Jon to take on this particular legacy?
Tom Taylor: As a huge Superman fan, it’s an honor to take on such an iconic series as Adventures of Superman. And I couldn’t be happier that Jon Kent is not only inheriting this famous title but having his name added. It’s a real testament to Jon’s popularity, success and importance that DC are having him headline this title with a new #1.
Superman: Son of Kal-El was a slightly slower burn, covering a huge global threat and a lot of changes in Jon’s life as he stepped into the role of the Superman of Earth. But Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent is all about the ‘adventures’ leading to action-packed places no one will see coming. We’ve established Jon as Superman. Now, with the amazing Clayton Henry on art, we let him loose. This book is practically an event unto itself. If you’re a fan of my DCeased, Dark Knights of Steel or Injustice comics, you won’t want to miss this. Trust me.
The idea that Jon will confront Ultraman in the new series suggests that you're going to be dealing with the character's past -- and in particular, the period he was separated from his parents, as shown in the Bendis Superman run -- more than in Jon's current series. Was it important for you to establish Jon in his own right as a hero in the contemporary DCU before going back and dealing with what is a pretty unusual history?
Yes, absolutely. We really wanted to concentrate on Jon’s present in Superman: Son of Kal-El. There were some major life changes with his father leaving, his new relationship with Jay, and Jon stepping into the role of Superman for the whole world. And then there was a global superhuman arms race, involving kidnappings and illegal human experimentation, and a nation to free from a despot. It’s fair to say Jon has had a busy and challenging time, but he’s risen to it because he's Superman.
However, we didn’t want to ignore his past, and now it’s time to deal with some of it head-on. But this book certainly doesn’t dwell on what’s come before. While there’s an action-packed conflict with Ultraman to come, there is something even bigger coming. I don’t want to spoil it here, but people will want to order a lot of copies of issue 3.
It's not just Jon who gets to be Superman in the new series, judging by some of the preview art: Val-Zod is there, from Earth-2! What's it like, returning to this character after a few years away? And how has he changed in the interim?
Ever since Nicola Scott and I created Val-Zod, I’ve wanted to return to him one day. It was always our plan to find a way for Val and Jon to meet. This story gives us the perfect reason as Val-Zod is the one who crosses dimensions to come to Jon for help dealing with a very big threat.
It’s been great to watch Val-Zod grow from what we created in Earth 2, especially seeing so many people cosplaying as him and seeing him depicted by great artists like Bruno Redondo and Jorge Jimenez.
Talking about multiple Supermen... This new series is the first extended chance you'll get to write a Jon series where Clark Kent is around, as opposed to rushing off to Warworld or being, theoretically at least, dead thanks to Pariah. Is he going to play a significant role in the book moving forward?
Oh, this is a very hard question to answer. I honestly don’t think I can. This is very much about Clark Kent and nothing about Clark Kent. Cryptic enough?
But to bring things back to the actual, titular Superman at the center of things: what's it like for you now that we're more than a year into Jon being Superman officially? What has the feedback been like, and what are you looking forward to most in writing him in this new series?
The feedback has been incredible. This book has meant a lot to so many people. The recent first hardcover collection of Superman: Son of Kal-El is selling absolutely brilliantly, and everyone at DC is so pleased to see so many readers, new and old, embrace Jon as Superman. Obviously, his bisexuality is a powerful and important aspect of the series, garnering global attention, but what he’s achieved as a hero is also being talked about every month. It’s great seeing so many fans talking about what Jon and Jay have stood for, and stood against, together. As for what I’m most looking forward to with writing Jon in this series, this is really where Clayton Henry and I take the training wheels off. This is where Jon leaves the nest and challenges powerful foes that threaten everything he stands for. Also, readers of Son of Kal-El will know that something Jon doesn’t understand has been building inside him. A new ability is growing. A new power will be unleashed.
Throughout all of New York Comic Con 2022, Popverse is going to be keeping up with everything that happens, from panels and breaking news to interviews and the best cosplay on the show floor. We’ll be sharing everything as it happens — including exclusive livestreams from the biggest panels at the show — so let us keep you in the loop all weekend.
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