SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Man of Steel #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Adam Hughes, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair and Josh Reed, on sale now.
One of the biggest changes to Superman’s status quo ever was the addition of Jon Kent, the new Superboy, and fans have been concerned about what’s going to happen to Jon as Brian Michael Bendis takes stewardship of the Superman titles starting with The Man of Steel before taking over both Action Comics and Superman. So far, all signs point to both Jon and his mother Lois Lane not being a massive part of Bendis’ plans, at least to start with and an ongoing subplot in The Man of Steel has been about what happened to them and why Lois seems to have left Clark, the Daily Planet and Metropolis.
This week’s penultimate issue of The Man of Steel reveals the reason Jon isn’t around currently and it’s the same event which seems to drive a wedge in Clark and Lois’ marriage, as the Super-family’s life is turned upside-down by a request from Clark’s biological father, Jor-El.
Last year, it was revealed that the mysterious Mr. Oz who had been observing Superman and his family was actually Jor-El, who had survived the destruction of Krypton thanks to the intervention of some higher power — implied to be Doctor Manhattan of Watchmen — and had been working to serve his new master while also keeping an eye on the man his son became. He interfered in the lives of people in the DC Universe judged to be aberrations or those causing harm to the way the timeline was supposed to play out. He imprisoned Red Robin, stopped Doomsday from killing Superman again and even killed his own brother Zor-El, who had become the Cyborg Superman.
After finally introducing himself to his long-lost son, the pair were soon put at odds when Jor-El revealed he wanted to take the Kent family away from Earth, a planet he had decided wasn’t worthy of his son’s presence or protection. He established a network of followers on Earth who committed random acts of violence in an effort to tip the world towards a breaking point, and tried to convince the Kents to come with him away to a world more worthy of their powers.
As you might expect, this left Superman siding with his adopted home world over the wishes of his father, driving a wedge between the pair; Superman may have been born Kryptonian but he was raised on Earth, with Earth parents and Earth values and he would never abandon the only world he’s ever truly called home.