Long story short, Superman’s son, Jon, embarked on a trip through the cosmos with his grandfather, Jor-El. Jon eventually returned home to Earth, but with an upgrade, to say the least. Jon returned to his parents as a seventeen-year-old boy, despite the fact that only three weeks had passed since he initially left. Now, in SUPERMAN #8, Jon digs deeper into the reasons why he has aged so mysteriously in addition to newfound revelations regarding Jor-El himself. SUPERMAN #8 succeeds in its development of Jon’s adventures throughout the galaxy. However, paralleled by previous installments of this series, the issue struggles to formulate an arc that can truly stand on its own.

superman #8
SUPERMAN #8 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Supermassive Black Hole

SUPERMAN #8 continues Jon’s retrospection from the previous issue as he recalls a conversation he had with Jor-El while the two were exploring Sector 2815. Jor-El asks Jon why he decided to join his grandfather on a field trip across the cosmos. Jon simply states that he just does not understand his place in the universe. Being the son of Superman, Jon has found himself uncertain of his future. He does not exactly know if he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. Better yet, he does not even know if he is capable of being a “Superman.”

Rather than comfort his grandson, Jor-El informs Jon that he is not so sure Jon will answer as Jor-El expresses doubt that there is a meaning to essentially anything. Unsurprisingly, Jon is not satisfied with Jor-El’s statements, so he decides to leave his grandfather’s ship. Ultimately, Jon’s decision backfires as he and Jor-El end up falling into a black hole, which transports Jon to a place where he finds himself face to face with the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3.

superman #8
SUPERMAN #8 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Worst Road Trip of All Time

SUPERMAN #8 continues the series’ struggles to establish a worthwhile story arc. But its focus on character-driven plot development does shine. I particularly enjoy the focus on Jon’s point of view. His perspective offers an authentic vignette of Jor-El, which will be essential as upcoming issues continue to build on Jor-El’s evolving persona. It also appears as though Bendis is handling Jon’s character in a more distinct way than he is with Superman.

As of late, Superman’s characterization has felt one-dimensional. Particularly in this issue, his actions, reactions, and dialogue all take place in a less than fluid fashion. Therefore, it is hard to get a gauge on Superman. It is hard to identify with his character when it appears as though he is only going through the motions rather than operating as an engaged character in the story. As a result, Bendis’ portrayal of Jon greatly counters that of Superman.

Thus, I hope upcoming issues continue to build upon Jon’s adventures and the latest changes as it has proven to be an enhancement to the overarching series.

superman #8
SUPERMAN #8 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of SUPERMAN #8

One major positive aspect of this SUPERMAN run has been the artwork, primarily the scale that is captured in each and every issue. In the context of SUPERMAN #8, artists Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson formulate some truly captivating images. There are simply a plethora of images that stand out in this issue.

First, the depiction of Jon receiving a body scan is so immersive. Additionally, Alex Sinclair’s bold pop of color really bolsters the depth of the sequence. It is also worth noting the chaos depicted in the sequence showcasing Jon’s battles throughout the galaxy. The chaos exemplifies Jon’s perception of the unpredictability of space, an aspect he was not entirely prepared for. Finally, the closing image of SUPERMAN #8, depicting the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 maintains a level of obscurity that emphasized the ambiguity of what lies ahead for Jon. Thus, though SUPERMAN #8 falters in various aspects, its art rises above it all.

What Lies Beyond For SUPERMAN #8

SUPERMAN #8 is by far one of the stronger issues of the series so far. It succeeds where other issues have fallen short as it centralizes on the voice of its primary characters. However, there is still the issue of what exactly this narrative will bring forth. Jor-El is currently being presented as a villain, whether or not that will be a worthwhile development has yet to be determined. With this though, I do hope the narrative of this particular arc digs a little deeper as to give more gravity to this story and ultimately bring a much-needed boost to this run.

SUPERMAN #8 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, Joe Prado, Alex Sinclair, & Josh Reed
SUPERMAN #8 brings much-needed strength to the series as it fleshes out various ambiguities associated with Jon's mysterious adventures, though it still struggles to establish a rewarding narrative.
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