In classic DC lore, the Kents raised Clark Kent to become Superman, but in the larger DC multiverse, they are capable of molding everyone into heroes.
For as long as they have existed in DC Comics lore, Jonathan and Martha Kent (aka Pa and Ma) have been two of the most important characters in that universe because of how they raised Superman. Everyone knows his origin story: small alien boy on a dying planet raised by elderly farmhands after he crash lands on Earth. Kal-El was always going to grow up to become powerful, but it is through the tutelage of his adopted parents that instilled the values that make Superman the man he is today. Without them, he likely wouldn’t have become a hero.
Dark Knights of Steel suggests this to be true. In a medieval take on the DC Universe, Kal-El’s spaceship crash lands on Earth, but he isn’t alone. He arrives on the planet with both of his birth parents, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, who raise him under their own kingdom. Under their teachings, he grows into a ruthless prince who leaves his best friend Bruce Wayne for dead upon learning they’re half-brothers.
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Kal-El never meets the Kents in this world, but interestingly enough, they are introduced in Dark Knights of Steel #7 by Tom Taylor and Nathan Gooden as farmhands and former soldiers of King Thomas Wayne’s army. They retired to raise a small boy named Arthur who turned up on land looking for a home. That boy grew up to become Aquaman. This wouldn’t be the last lost child they would adopt, as they did the same for four young children who would grow up to become Raven, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire. They even find time to help Bruce, who they take in after Kal-El left him for dead.
After he learns his true half-Kryptonian origins, Bruce Wayne is initially doubtful of his place in the ongoing war and is certain he is nothing more than a monster. The Kents proceed to instill the confidence that Bruce needed to believe otherwise. “You are not a monster,” Jonathan begins. “You have a great power. And if that power can stop a war, you know where you need to be.” Dark Knights of Steel isn’t the first time that the importance of Superman’s parents is emphasized. In an Elseworlds tale called The Nail by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, Jonathan and Martha Kent have to deal with a flat tire (caused by a nail in the road that punctured it) before they have the chance to find Kal-El’s spaceship. Instead, the would-be Superman is found by an Amish couple who brings him into their community. While they still instill positive values into him, he doesn’t become a superhero because he’s encouraged by his family not to engage in matters outside of their community. This creates one of DC’s darkest alternate timelines.
It’s clear that the Kents’ ability to mold lost souls into heroes is practically a superpower in itself. Their skills go beyond just instilling solid values and a moral compass into the people they help. Again, the Amish couple did the same for Kal-El in The Nail, but it didn’t produce a superhero. On the other hand, the Kents molded the canonical Superman. It’s more than just instilling strong, positive, moral values—the Kents are a symbol of hope for the world around them.
It’s ironic that Superman’s chest emblem means “hope” on Krypton. A world without the Kents is a world without hope and any aspiring hero without the Kents in their life is missing the signal of hope they need. Hope that not only inspires them to do great things but a hope that can be passed on. Superman and other DC Comics heroes alike use the hope passed on from the Kent Farm and bring hope to a world that, otherwise, would be hopeless.
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About The Author
Joe Anthony Myrick
(179 Articles Published)
Joe Anthony Myrick is a writer for Screen Rant. Since first beginning his career as a professional writer after graduating with a B.A. in English studies, Myrick (or JAM) has spent much of his time under the Valnet umbrella for sites like TheRichest and TheTravel. Now, a seasoned veteran of his practice, JAM dedicates his expertise to the Comics column of Screen Rant.
Previously, he served as a head editor for Daily DDT and Under the Laces for FanSided. In addition, he serves as a writing teacher in his spare time.
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