Review: The Existential Despair of the House of El in SUPERMAN #8


An explanatory story detailing the harrowing journey Jon Kent and Jor-El faced in space.
- Advertisement -

After SUPERMAN #7 brought Jon Kent back from his space excursion with grandfather Jor-El, readers have been waiting anxiously to learn what happened during that time. The former 11-year old seems to have gained an additional six years on his life during the few months of space travel. And now Superman must learn what happened during Jon’s travels and confront the existential implications of the journey.

Superman #8 cover


Brian Michael Bendis dives right into the heart of this story from the get-go. We’re shown a flashback scene from the beginning of Jon’s trip with Jor-El wherein the patriarch asks point blank why Jon wanted to come in the first place. You can almost hear Jon’s internal monologue as he weighs his options on how to respond. He initially explains how cool it would be to travel in space. But then immediately unpacks a much more somber claim: He wanted answers about his purpose and place in the universe.

Jon speaking with Jor-El

- Advertisement -

Jor-El’s response to Jon’s internal crisis of identity comes in the form of his own shared sense of existential anguish. The aging scientist contemplates whether his attempt to find some sense of order in the universe was actually sheer madness. To him, the improbability of his survival of Krypton’s destruction, as well as Jon’s existence in the first place, seems to throw all ideas of a rational cosmos out the window. The reader can sense his escalating despair, especially when witnessing its effects on Jon.

Jor-El speaking with Jon

Bendis also gives Clark and Lois two realistic reactions to Jon’s story. The guilt-ridden Lois bemoans her decision to let Jon leave on such a dangerous trip and questions her competency as a parent. Shortly thereafter, Clark tries to cope with the fact that he missed seeing his son grow up. The reader can feel Clark’s seething anger at his father and Lois’s unbearable guilt from leaving Jon with such a man.

All of the Kent’s express their anxiety and angst in their own ways throughout the issue. And the tension only escalates as Jon describes even more bewildering tales of his trip.


Joe Prado, Ivan Reis, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed and Brandon Peterson work together to create beautiful artwork fitting of a Superman story. Sinclair’s varying shades of primary colors, combined with Prado’s inking, emphasizing the centrality of the House of El in this issue. In addition, Reis’ and Peterson’s sharp edges and effective use of shading serves as a direct contrast, which further highlights the angst and anxiety each member of the family is feeling. And Reed’s lettering helps showcase the differences between each character’s manner of speaking.

In addition to the main cover and and story artwork, Rob Liefeld adds his talent via the variant cover. He depicts the Man of Steel in his more classic form, using brighter colors and fewer shadows. Nevertheless, the intensity of the story is foreshadowed in his expression.

variant cover for Superman #8


SUPERMAN #8 offers readers a satisfying return for Superboy while holding enough information back to keep them wanting more. It’s up to Bendis and team to keep the anticipation high as they reveal more secrets of Jon’s travels in the issues to come.

What did you think of Superboy’s return in SUPERMAN #8? Let us know in the comments below!

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!


AfterShock Exclusive Preview: DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD #1

Dark Ark: After The Flood #1 kicks off the Halloween season on October 2, but thanks to AfterShock Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has a...

Review: NAPOLEON DYNAMITE #1 is Flippin’ Sweet

For a generation not raised on Rocky Horror Picture Show, Napoleon Dynamite might be the absolute definition of a cult film. So when IDW...

Interview: BRYAN EDWARD HILL Talks About The Vampire With A Soul

Bryan Edward Hill talks about his Angel run for BOOM! Studios and his intentions on pushing the narrative in exciting and surprising ways.

Review: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: LEX LUTHOR #1 – Another Year, Another Ode To A Classic Villain

Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 is a strong collaborative effort that is a true celebration of one of the most complex villains...

Review: It’s Alive’s PINK LEMONADE Mashes Kirby & Knievel

It takes a special kind of talent to be retro without being repetitive. Too often comics that harken back to the Silver Age just...

FIREFLY #9 Shows How The Past Is Never Far Behind

Firefly #9 is a poignant reminder that no matter how far Malcolm Reynolds runs, he’ll never escape his past. This dark issue is perfect for fans of Mal and Zoe.

G.I. JOE #1 Is a Joe-Tastic Start For New Readers

This Wednesday the action-packed first issue of IDW's newly rebooted G.I. Joe releases, where everyone can be a Joe, even you! The G.I. Joe comic...

A Dark and Deadly Tale Begins In NOMEN OMEN #1

Nomen Omen #1 is the start of a dark and disturbing series from Image Comics. It's a tale of the supernatural coming after what is their due, and so much more.
Corey Patterson
A comic book nerd and reviewer with a special interest in the underlying themes of superhero, sci-fi and fantasy stories. He enjoys writing for Monkeys Fighting Robots, Pop Culture and Theology and other publications.


If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

Review: The Existential Despair of the House of El in SUPERMAN #8 3


Review: The Existential Despair of the House of El in SUPERMAN #8 4

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.


Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

Review: The Existential Despair of the House of El in SUPERMAN #8 5


COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!