As a familiar, futuristic villain returns to threaten the DC Universe of Future State, Jon Kent may be doomed to repeat his father’s history.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1, by Dan Watters, Leila del Duca, Nick Filardi and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
As Jon Kent moves to follow in his father’s footsteps as the Future State DC Universe’s new Superman, he may have just endured one of Clark Kent’s most tragic fates as he and the new Wonder Woman step up to inspire a new generation of superheroes.
And while the Man of Steel is no stranger to facing his own death, Jon’s brush with his own mortality comes at the hands of one of his dad’s familiar foes, Solaris, the far-future antagonist that the Man of Tomorrow faced down in the crossover event DC One Million.
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Created by Grant Morrison and Val Semeiks in 1998’s DC One Million #1, Solaris the Living Sun was introduced as one of the main supervillains for Kal Kent, the Superman of the 853rd century. Solaris approaches the Earth in the Future State timeline and begins to consume the planet’s sun where he is noticed by the Brazilian demigod for the Kuat during a visit on his ranch by Yara Flor. Flying into the cosmos, Kuat defeats the villain, with the cosmic monster dormant in outer space. The creature revives to confront Jon, with Superman offering to face Solaris and Kuat in an epic test of might, with Solaris forced to withdraw if he loses. However, little does Superman know, Solaris has already inflicted Jon with potentially lethal wounds during their brief conversation by using his powers of solar radiation to break down Jon’s cells when they were in close proximity to one another.
Superman endured a similar terminal condition in the universally acclaimed maxi-series All-Star Superman by Morrison and Frank Quitely. Lex Luthor caused a spaceship full of scientists to hurtle out of control towards the sun as part of his latest plot to kill his lifelong nemesis. While Superman was successful in saving all the scientists, the Last Son of Krypton fell right into Luthor’s trap, with his cells overloaded with solar energy and causing them to gradually degrade. As Superman’s condition worsened, his powers began to go out of control, prompting him to relocate inside the sun to stabilize his condition, setting the stage for his role in the 853rd century in DC One Million.
After his confrontation with Solaris, Jon meets with Yara for an incognito breakfast at a local diner in Metropolis the following morning. While Jon is content that his ploy against the solar supervillain has given Earth time to recover from Solaris’ initial attack on the sun, Yara is more frustrated by Superman flying off the handle without consulting her, especially as the challenge involves her friend Kuat. While observing that Jon appears under the weather after meeting Solaris, Jon attempts to take flight when his heat vision fires out of control and he falls to the ground, seemingly unconscious.
With Superman and Solaris’ duel set to determine the fate of the entire planet, the Man of Steel is already finding he is weak on his feet before the contest of champions even begins. In All-Star Superman, Clark’s strength steadily failed him, yet he never stopped saving the day.
Jon Kent now finds himself on one of his father’s greatest gauntlets, potentially lethally poisoned as Clark had been in the acclaimed story. With Jon’s powers already failing him, the new Superman’s upcoming challenge may be the end of him long before Solaris’ poisoning takes its toll.
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