Superman #32 brings us the finale to Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s three issue mini series, and I have been really enjoying it so far. Part of me would be more than happy to see this story arc continue, but I am very excited to see what the new creative team behind this title brings us.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by John Timms and I love it, not only does it perfectly showcase the contents of the issue, but it features a fantastic portrayal of both Jon AKA Superboy and Superman. The detail is incredible in this piece, from the detail of the creature, the flow of their capes and the cosmic matter in the background, no expense is spared here. This is why I’m such a big fan of John Timms’ artwork, it’s an absolute delight to look at.
The first variant cover is by Inhyuk Lee and continues his run of excellent variant covers. I am a huge fan of his, not only does he capture the likeness of the characters perfectly, but he really does have a distinct style that is instantly recognisable and this piece is no exception. I love how both Superman and Superboy, father and son have adopted the same poses and likeness, it’s really sweet to see and I love how clear it is that Jon looks up to his father. Also, can I ask where he got his jacket from? I need one!
The pride variant is by David Talaksi and I cannot tell you how much I love this piece. Not only is it inspiring to see Superman supporting pride and the LGBTQ+ community, but this is such a gorgeous pin up. I love everything about it, I love how classic Superman and his suit looks, I love the fact that he is sitting atop The Daily Planet and I love the way the pride flag billows alongside his cape. This seems like an iconic piece that is pulled straight from the 50’s and I adore it. I will say though since sharing this image on social media the response I’ve had from so called ‘Superman fans’ has been appalling. Superman is for everyone, every race, gender, sexuality, he’s literally an alien. Just because he is holding a pride flag doesn’t make him gay (not that it matters), it just means he is in support of the community.
Superman #32 delves into the lives and history of the Thakkramites a little more, I have to say it was very interesting to find out the way that their alien race works in terms of hierarchy and family. This ‘prelude’ also gave us an insight as to how the ‘Shadow-breed’ came about, which too was great to see and very insightful, and it allowed us to see the cracks in the relationships between this race. Though Phillip Kennedy Johnson only had three issues in which to tell this story, the level of detail, thought and world building is phenomenal, that is most definitely one of his strengths when it comes to writing and immersing himself into a different world, and this final issue is no exception.
Superman #32 really allows Jon time to shine as Superboy, with his father overcome by the Shadow-breed or seemingly so, he really takes on the reigns and I loved exploring his level of thinking and capability. I adore his confidence in his father, against all odds he knows that his father can fight this, even with The Thakkramites underestimating his will power. Not only that but its nice to see some of that confidence rub off onto him, we know that he has been struggling with doubting himself in this series and also Action Comics, so that is really great to see. We are truly seeing a brand new Superman blossoming here and I am completely here for it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I absolutely adore seeing Superman and his son working together, it’s so wholesome and though the stakes are high they both clearly trust each other in terms of their capability, power-set and control and it’s great to see. Though I know the two will likely be operating separately in the two titles going forward, I hope we get to see the odd team up because it’s something I’m really enjoying reading.
The narration by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, specifically at the end of the issue really made me smile and actually brought a tear to my eye. As an expectant mother to a son it really got me excited for whats to come in this huge change of life that I’m about to experience. I can only hope to be as proud of my son as Superman is of his and I’m sure that will be the case.
Not only that but this is really going to resonate with readers that have children of their own because they grow up so fast and I feel this is something that will really hit them in the feels. I do also love that Superman missing the younger version of Jon is referenced in this issue, I know a lot of people have something to say about the aging up of Jon and I think referencing it in the issue itself is a great way to acknowledge their thoughts, but also allow them to appreciate the change. We wouldn’t be getting this incredible story arc and new series if that hadn’t happened.
The artwork by Scott Godlewski and Gabe Eltaeb is fantastic too and I feel their artwork and colours perfectly matches the tone that Phillip Kennedy Johnson has set within the writing. The level of detail when it comes to facial expressions is impressive too, I have to say the artwork is rather cartoonistic in comparison to other series at the moment (not a bad thing at all), but Godlewski’s facial expressions are next level. Even when it comes to the Thakkramites we can see exactly how they are feeling, whether it’s fear, joy, or anger.
The same can be said for Godlewski’s atmospheres and backgrounds, which are excellent too, he really knows how to draw space, and his imagination when it comes to some of the environments and creatures of the world is seriously impressive. This is only emphasised by the incredibly vibrant colours that Eltaeb brings to the table, it’s safe to say the pair work really well together and I hope to see them team up again in the near future.
Superman #32 is the perfect set up to the brand new series “Superman: Son Of Kal-El”. In this action packed and emotionally charged issue we really see Superboy blossom into Superman, and it has me very excited to see where this character goes next.
**The above links are affiliates, which mean I will earn commission from any products bought via these links**