Superman: Son of Kal-El #18: Raising The Roof – Comic Watch

Author(s): Tom Taylor
Artist(s): Cian Tormey and Ruairi Coleman
Colorist(s): Romulo Farjardo Jr
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, LGBTQ, Psychological, School, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life, Space, Superhero
Published Date: 12/13/2022
While the Justice League reassembles the Kent house, Red Dawn is busily plotting his revenge for the death of his parents. Can Jon stop him before he permanently depowers his father?
 
One of the best aspects of Tom Taylor’s writing is how deftly he balances a focused plot with solid, well-considered character moments. This issue was no exception, providing an opportunity to see the Justice League spending a relaxing day reconstructing the Kent’s farm house — and stealing the Avengers’ catchphrase — before the story explodes into action. Taylor knows who these characters are and he gave all of the big guns at least one or two panels in which to show it.
If you want to see Flash zipping around a construction site, or Batman being his own very special mixture of lovingly considerate and deeply paranoid, this was the issue for you. But Taylor doesn’t spend all of his empathy in one store, the villains also benefit from his talent. Portraying Lex as a nuanced, deeply manipulative would-be father figure — one who senses his cat’s paw’s need for love and validation and then uses that need as a tool — is nothing short of brilliant. This is Lex as every cult leader who has ever lived, preying on the very human desires of his victims, feeding them what they want to hear (while maintaining a scrim of plausible deniability so that he can distance himself from the inevitable carnage) in order to achieve his bloody, vicious ends. I could see this Lex running for office in an American Red state and winning on a wave of racism and dog whistles.
As for the tool Lex is using, Taylor has instilled Luis Rojas with real pain, providing a believable motivation for him to seek out revenge against the people who, he imagines, robbed him of his family. Luis has taken the red pill and descended into a land where mainstream news is ‘Fake’ and only the dankest corners of the internet sprouts the dreams he takes for truth. Reading his story, one desires (without much hope) for him to find redemption rather than punishment.
As for the art, Cian Tormey and Ruairi Coleman work brilliantly together, capturing the nuance of expression and the thrill of action with equal talent and verve. Romuldo Fajardo Jr’s colors are bright and clear, enhancing the art without ever interfering with the tone.
This was another brilliant, thoughtful installment of the Job Kent story, told with exquisite characterisation and phenomenal art. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Bethany W Pope is an award-winning poet and novelist. She was named one of Huffington Post’s expat poets to look out for in 2016 and her work was described as ‘poetry as salvation’ in The Guardian. She is an avid fencer and a comic book enthusiast.
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