Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #3, takes us back to Earth-49 along with Superman’s son – to a world where he was stopped from existing in Injustice. Now, as he will find out, this world isn’t butterflies and rainbows.
Regime Superman and insurgency Batman are back on comic book covers again for the first time in five years thanks to Clayton Henry. He does a great job capturing their in-game costumes that thrive off subtle details. They’ve all always been pad-heavy suits since their inception. Of course, you have poor Jon literally stuck in the middle with absolutely no context on what is happening. Superman and Batman aren’t posed too differently here from how they are on the game’s original box cover.
Travis Mercer’s variant is a recap of the electrifying events from the previous issue as Jon faced offed Ultraman using his Superman Blue-like powers. It’s no longer a spoiler at this point, he absolutely had the upper hand during that fight thanks to them. Mercer uses contrasts with his textures as Ultraman appears rough and dirtied by debris while Jon looks more laminated and illuminated as per his new power set.
Zu Orzu has the most unique variant of the set when it comes to her illustration of Val-Zod, Earth-2’s Superman. It’s simply a painting on a comic cover that belongs in a frame. Val’s facial likeness and features are handled with the utmost care while his suit and background of Metropolis consist of more simple brush strokes. Simple art techniques meet complex ones that make it almost feel experimental. It makes you wish that Val-Zod was in the issue.
Afua Richardson gives us a space shot of Jon in his suit from the current run of Action Comics. Maybe it’s the pants-like look, but it does make him seem more professional. And set to a space background with purple nebulas, he looks like a space ranger. Richardson’s linework is so thin that it appears as colors just coming together into shapes from certain angles.
Superman of Earth-49 has saved Jon from Ultraman and has brought him into what is known as the One-Earth society he has created with the full application of his powers and the help of anyone wishing to make the world safer. When Lex Luthor is an ally and Batman is the most wanted criminal on the planet that can raise some questions. The Injustice saga began on Earth-49 when the Joker made Superman the indirect cause of Lois Lane’s death and Metropolis’ total destruction. Kal-El fully succumbs to vengeance and goes full Justice Lord with any hero or villain joining him. Those that oppose usually find themselves fighting in Batman’s resistance. Unfortunately, it’s a story told a thousand times in this day and age.
It seems that the events of the game haven’t happened yet and Superman’s regime is still in power. Similar to Supergirl’s role in Injustice 2, Jon becomes the naive superhero in a world where he finds out that they don’t operate the same as they do back home. Unlike the game and the comics, this issue isn’t heavy on the action and hero fights that Injustice so often promotes. The stage for Earth-49 is set when Jon encounters an ally Lex Luthor and Bruce and Damian feuding in Gotham City. This is an especially significant scene where Jon meets a version of his best friend who has no idea who he is. But Bruce sure does.
Tom Taylor, lettered by Wes Abbott takes us back to the Earth where several of us may have been acquainted with him as a major writer at DC. Combined with the modern adventures of Jon Kent, this issue feels like a multiversal crossover where gamers are again seeing the Batman and Superman they played as a little over 10 years ago. Again, Jon fills a role similar to Kara in Injustice II. But here, the difference is that he really isn’t supposed to be here.
When you creatively go to the Injustice Earth, there’s an unspoken to get their costumes right. Superman’s Injustice costume has always been an interesting one because it subtly gives the slim suit a dictator-like feel. I’ve always thought it was all in the padding and more imposing use of the red elements of the suit. Clayton Henry nails his, Batman’s, The Flash’s, and Wonder Woman’s original in-game suits. There are not many action shots compared to previous issues with the majority of panels being reaction and dialogue shots. It’s Jordie Bellaire’s colors and tones during large scenes that make the issue an interesting read in the literary sense.
It’s more than exciting as we go back to Injustice in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #3, but that is all that the issue relies on at the moment. This is just the tip of the iceberg as Jon explores one of the furthest reaches of the DC Universe, one that existed before he did.