Superman’s Future Family Is Almost As Tragic As Batman’s

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Future State: Superman: House of El #1 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski!

Tim Drake probably summed up the Bat-Family’s abysmal current state of affairs best in Future State: Robin Eternal #1: “Dick’s ranting and raving in Arkham. Jason’s betrayed all of us to work for the people that killed Bruce.” As for Stephanie, “The last time I saw her, she’d hung up the cape.” Meanwhile, Tim has been struggling being on his own and, without his full team by his side, ends up ingesting a serum that’s ostensibly fatal to humans, causing him to hallucinate.

In Future State: Superman: House of El #1 written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Scott Godlewski, the obvious correlation between the Bat-Family and Superman’s is that the House of El has an equivalent to Jason, Pyrrhos. Pyrrhos has not only defected but has waged war against Superman’s house and all those who still cling to its shattered ideals. The inherent irony in his betrayal is that, as Superman’s son, Pyrrhos is Kal-El’s closest descent. Unlike himself, Pyrrhos views everyone else as “some far-flung descendant…with blood so sullied [they] are scarcely Kryptonian at all.”

But that’s not the true tragedy behind Superman’s future family. It’s that Superman finally has an established house in his namesake that’s dedicated to his ideals – and he can’t even be there, thanks to his wife Circe. In fact, only Pyrrhos actually knows for sure that Kal-El exists. Some house members think he’s fake while others view him as a mythical legend. This is important to realize because, before Future State, Superman’s family was always broken. After fathering his biological son, Jon Kent, Superman lost him soon afterward when Jor-El ferried him away for years-long training; Jon left a boy and later returned a man. And then upon his return, Jon was immediately recruited by the Legion of Super-Heroes that exists in the future, separating the two further, not by distance, but time. Meanwhile, as a result of Superman’s universe getting rebooted again and again, Superman has no memories of his teenage clone, Connor Kent.

The rarity of his family ever getting together in the present is further exemplified in the teaser for Action Comics #1025: “It’s a new adventure featuring Superman like you’ve never seen him—or them—before, in a story guest-starring Supergirl and two—yes, two!—Superboys!” So even though Superman‘s closest descendant is tearing apart the House of El, what’s truly tragic is that he’s been separated from his established family, since he’s rarely had a house of his own. Batman‘s family might have crumbled in the future, but at least he’s had a Bat-Family for a much longer period of time… and his family knows for sure that he existed.

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