- Posted by Johanna on January 21, 2006 at 7:37 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: story by John Ostrander; art by Tom Mandrake, Timothy Truman, and Michael Bair
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $19.95 US
The Kents is the story of the forces that shaped the family who raised an orphan baby into Superman. It’s a historical Western that incorporates real-life characters into a tale of the American frontier. The creators do an incredible job of making an unusual story work within the background of the DC universe.
Kansas, the home of the Kents, was a bloody battleground during slavery battles, the Civil War, and the succeeding outlaw era. In this book, Jonathan Kent finds a buried box of letters and journals while digging on the farm. Together, they tell a family saga over twenty years of the nineteenth century.
It opens with the Kent family moving to Kansas as one of a group of abolitionists who want to keep the territory free. Pro-slavers will do anything to oppose them, leading to family blood feuds. Over the years, various Kent brothers hook up with Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James, the Union army, and more.
The conflicts are different from your typical superhero book, but there’s still plenty of them, whether the characters are fighting to hold free and honest elections against ballot-stuffers or arguing with each other over when it’s appropriate to break the law for a greater good or battling to maintain a free press or opposing anti-Native American bigotry. The Kents brings history alive with violent conflict the more affecting for being based on real-life events. This is an excellent book to expand a comic fan’s knowledge of or interest in American history.