Adventures Of Superman: Jon Kent #4 follows his adventure into the world of Injustice and continues to show just how grim the Earth dominated by Superman’s regime really is. It gets even grimmer as Jon explores the relationships lost, gained, and even those that never happened on Earth-49.
While Clayton Henry is off art duties for this issue, he and colorist Marcelo Maiolo hype us up for a Super Sons reunion like no other with the main cover. Damian takes on the identity of a tragic Nightwing amidst the death of Dick Grayson. Unlike the in-game suit, Henry designs this one with a League of Shadows inspiration. As usual, his simple and laminated-like stylization makes for very appealing visuals.
Tyler Kirkham creates a match-up featuring Jon Kent as he takes on Injustice Batman. Kirkham is always an explosive artist when it comes to action and fight scenes, and costume details are always a nice touch. That’s the Injustice Batman based on the suit and it’s still wild seeing him in the year 2023. Jon using his new blue electric powers also continues a theme in his new adventures. Here, he does look a little more tempered with them.
Al Barrionuevo creates a POV not seen a whole lot in the DC Universe–one of fear in the presence of Superman. If you see that, then you know what Earth you are on. Barrionuevo intentionally designs Superman’s cape-like wings like an angel of vengeance rather than justice. There just may be a little bit of Henry Cavill reference in that photo-realistic treatment of regime Superman.
There are also two other variants by Zu Orzu and Stephen Byrne:
Adventures Of Superman: Jon Kent #4 continues and Jon knows something is up with the operation his father is running on this alternate Earth, it’s not like people to look at the insignia of El with fear. By now, he’s become acquainted with the regime and their presence but has yet to witness the cruelty. In this issue, he follows Luthor down the rabbit hole of Batman’s insurgency. On this Earth, Batman vs. Superman is a way of life. Jon meeting the insurgency on his own can be a level in the game, it seems so highly playable. It’s also great to see the Injustice iterations of these characters.
What is addressed plenty is Jon’s relationship with Dick, Damian, and even Jay. This also gives Tom Taylor, lettered by Wes Abbott the opportunity to reference some of the other series and stories he’s been working on – they all connect! Dick played a major role in mentoring Jon as Superman, Damian is his best friend, and Jay is his boyfriend. On this Earth, none of those are true. But they still prove to be some of the most valuable experiences that Jon has. In this issue, he seems to embrace them as a security blanket as these versions of people that he cared about overwhelm him. There’s a really great scene with him and Earth-49 Jay in the second act of the issue.
In lieu of Clayton Henry in this issue, there are Darick Robertson and Norm Rapmund, coloured by Jordie Bellaire. While Robertson mans the pencils, Rapmund comes in to help with ink. After years of drawing Homelander, the evil Superman illustration comes full circle as we finally see Injustice Superman done by him. With Robertson’s work, there are always small hints of classic comic art mixed with more modern handling. Rapmund’s work is more in line with the extreme artwork of the 90s. The two go really well here with not too many backgrounds being incorporated and a focus on faces and dialogue.
Jon begins to realize the game of Injustice in Adventures Of Superman: Jon Kent #4 and learns that it’s incredibly difficult to have friends in a world that is constantly at war with itself under the guise of peace. Above all that, the issue does ask a good question – in a world where you can’t really trust anyone, where do you go?