Superman will always be a cornerstone character in DC Comics but the character has had to go through a number of different permutations and titles over the many decades. There have been untold numbers of new versions, reboots, and alternate takes on the character but there has usually been a comic book run that simply carried the name “Superman.” But it looks like DC is planning to end that tradition in a pretty significant way.
As reported by CBR, DC is cancelling their Superman title and replacing it with a new title called Superman: Son of Kal-El. The story will no longer focus on Clark Kent but will be centered around his son, Jonathan Kent, who has taken up the mantle in his father’s place. The first issue has revealed its cover and it is a very knowing bit of acknowledgment to the his tory of the character.
Here is the cover for the first issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El:
That cover seems strangely old-fashioned for the modern landscape of comic book artwork. And there is a very good reason for that. It is a direct reference to the very first issue of the Superman title (not the Action Comics one). Here is the original cover from 1939:
It is unclear if the plan is to permanently retire the specific Superman title with the Son of Kal-El one or if this will only be a temporary filler. This has certainly happened in the past when a certain title was put on extended hiatus and then was revived years later to a bunch of fanfare. The directive here is clearly to give more focus to the Jonathan Kent character and position him as a new focal figure in the DC universe. Will it work or will fans quickly yearn for the classic version of the character and his comic book title?
Jonathan Kent is part of a larger directive at DC Comics to introduce and focus on a new generation of heroes taking on the mantles of the classic DC superheroes. Jonathan Kent was originally introduced as a new Superboy but will now be upgraded to the grander title of Superman. This is in addition to a slew of new heroes that were part of the Future State storyline that posited a possible future for the DC universe of heroes. Whether or not some of these takes on the characters will become permanent installations remains to be seen. It will probably be determined by their eventual popularity.
If we were willing to bet some money, we would wager that the classic Superman title will return one day. Comic book mythology is notorious for having various reboots after a decade or so and that will probably happen again with the DC stable of characters. Whenever that time comes around again, we have to imagine that the Superman title will get a shiny new take. Until then, let’s enjoy the adventures of Jonathan Kent and see what he can bring to the legacy of the Man of Steel.