Warning: Contains spoilers for Superman: Son of Kal-El #12!
The new DC Superman will face the most important test of his entire career — and an enemy that the Man of Steel has yet to defeat. Superman’s boyfriend is a popular character among DC fans, but in the DC universe itself, most of the public has no idea that Superman is dating someone, let alone a man. But after he publicly reveals himself, Superman must face homophobia after Superman: Son of Kal-El #12 — and hopefully eliminate hatred and bigotry in the DC universe forever.
The identity of Superman as Jonathan Kent -Clark Kent’s son-became public after Jonathan publicly revealed himself to prevent a gunman from killing dozens of students at school. In contrast, Jay Nakamura has managed to keep a relatively low profile throughout writer Tom Taylor’s work on Superman; as a journalist who investigates powerful people, Nakamura often wears a mask at work. He even gave Superman his own mask, but Superman understood the value of not wearing a mask in his work and the need to wear one in Jay’s work.
Related: Superman’s son Has a More Personal Motivation to Be a Hero than his father
In Superman: Son of Kal-El #12, written by Tom Taylor with illustrations by Cian Tormey and Ruairi Coleman, Superman and Jay uncover a conspiracy involving President Bendix, the evil ruler of the island nation of Gamorra. The two are interviewing a United States senator who allegedly had a hand in the Kent farm attack that nearly killed Superman’s parents. When the senator turns out to be a monster controlled by Bendix (thanks to Superman’s loyal dog Krypto), Jay uses his powers to defeat the creature. Unfortunately, his mask remained in the process.
Apart from a few people in the superhero community, no one knows that Superman is dating Jay Nakamura. After his identity was revealed publicly (no less than in the US Capitol building), Superman and Jay’s relationship will soon be revealed. How will the citizens of the DC universe react to the fact that Earth’s most powerful and famous hero is dating a man? Although the world is much more progressive and embracing different sexual identities than before, there is still significant progress to be made; this Superman has already been accused of murder, and although he is clearly innocent, people will believe what they want to believe… and powerful people like President Bendix and Lex Luthor can further distort the narrative against Superman if they use hate and bigotry as weapons.
Lois Lane and Damian Wayne may approve of Superman and his boyfriend’s relationship, but if the DC universe is like our own, not everyone will accept it. Homophobia and hatred of “others” is a worldwide problem that Superman cannot solve with his physical strength alone, but the character is also known for his ability to talk to others and find common ground. It seems that the real villain of this Superman is not the hate—filled President Bendix, but hate itself.