This issue is titled "Funeral in Smallville" and opens with Jonathan Kent. And just like that, I feel a little tug in my heart, a little sadness. All of us know the story of the babe from space and the childless couple who found him.
Here's Clark and Pa Kent.
And here's Jonathan and Martha.
This is about people whom you love and who love you and about how you want to be with them when they pass away. Part of it is all the unsaid things, part of it is just to see them off. One final time you know? One final time.
Jonathan Kent is about to have a fatal heart attack.
Clark will spare no speed in rushing to his Father's side.
But it will be too late.
More so than for Clark, my heart is aching for Martha in this panel
Will it really be too late?
Time is an important topic in this issue so let's go back in time. Back to the Kent farm and the onset of a harvest. Things being as they are, Jonathan Kent doesn't really need farmhands to help out - he has Clark. But during this harvest, some people come ringing to offer help and right off the bat, there's something about this group.
And sure enough they are later revealed as members of the Superman Squad - a group of supermen and superwomen from different time periods that band together presumably to fight threats that will make even the Justice League pee their pants. The three "farmhands" are:
We've met Kal before in the pages of All-Star Superman No. 2 where he was being viewed through a time telescope in the Fortress of Solitude.
Here are the other two:
They have come in pursuit of a beast called the Chronovore - "time devourer"
They stop the Chronovore but not before it consumes three minutes. The three minutes Clark would have spent with Jonathan before Pa Kent passes away.
Somebody was beside Pa Kent that moment though.
The unknown Superman.
Who is later revealed to be . . .
Clark was able to be with his Dad after all.
At Jonathan Kent's wake, Clarks euology mentions the legacy this Son of Krypton inherits from a son of Earth - it is a philosophy that undergirds Superman.
Because of this, Jonathan Kent will always be a part of who Superman has and will become. It was important and lucky that it was Martha and Jonathan Kent who found Clark. Imagine if he was found by the more unsavory members of mankind. That list of lessons above would be vastly different and Superman would have a moral compass far inferior to what he has now.
It's a wonderful yet heavy-on-the-heart issue but it does have some lighter moments. Like Krypto the Superdog:
Playing catch with Clark in outer space with a tree.