Jon Kent has just unlocked a power that even his father couldn’t achieve, but they were the first signs that he was one day surpassing Superman.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Superman # 32 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltraeb and Dave Sharpe, on sale now.

Jon Kent’s latest adventure with his father has helped him build his confidence and reaffirm Superman’s faith in him. During their time at Thakkram, the duo faced off against an old Superman foe known as Shadowbreed. But as the problem continued to escalate, it became clear to father and son that Superman did not have the skills to stop them. But Jon did. To defeat Shadowbreed, they needed a Kryptonian whose heat vision was more refined than Superman’s, and Superboy had already shown versatility with power. Jon ended up not only defeating Shadowbreed, but also proving that he is shaping up to be a better hero than his father.

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In the midst of his final confrontation with Shadowbreed, the Kent family’s only remaining ally, Qarath O Bakkis arrived to explain the nature of the only weapon that could stop Shadowbreed. The radiation bomb being built to defeat them used hyperviolet light, a light between the ultraviolet and X-ray spectra. But even though this weapon was based on Superman’s heat vision, Clark admitted that it did not have the nuances to use the hyperviolet spectrum. But Jon could. Recalling his son’s previous unique twists in heat vision, Superman encouraged him to give it a try.

It took a few misfires to get it right. Just because Jon had the ability didn’t mean he could do it right away. But with enough faith in himself and some extra time bought by his father, Jon managed to perceive the hyperviolet spectrum and unleash a new kind of heat vision in a brilliant display of power that made even his father stare at him in awe.

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It was a turning point for Jon. Until then, he had had doubts about his worth to take over the Superman title one day. This was despite the objections of virtually everyone around him, including his father. He had been developing his own unique abilities for some time, but he was working under the assumption that his father could probably do the same things if he put his mind to it. So this win over Shadowbreed is a much-needed confidence boost as Jon did something even Superman couldn’t pull off.

It underlines how much Jon could be an improvement over Superman for years to come. Even Batman once said Superman # 20 by Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi, and Rob Leigh, that Jon, as a human-Kryptonian hybrid, should be much stronger than Clark one day. And it seems that the prediction is coming true. Jon has just unlocked an ability that his father, after living more than twice his life, has never been able to achieve, and he did it in just a few seconds.

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And as Future State has shown, Jon’s time as Superman would eventually lead to world peace. Of course, this was in conjunction with the Justice League as well, but it is still an achievement that Superman has never been able to claim for himself. And now the beginnings of how Jon will distinguish himself from his father are beginning to take shape.

In the present, Superman already believes that a Jon will be better than him. He knows beyond any doubt that when Jon is ready to step up as the Man of Steel, he will be the hero that everyone else will face. If there was ever any doubt that Jon was going to be bigger than his father, it was eliminated by the fact that Superman believes in him. Rarely is he wrong about a good thing.

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