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Young Justice: Why Superman Struggles With Explaining Death To Jonathan

One episode of Young Justice showed Superman struggling with a very human problem, having difficulty in explaining the concept of death to his son.

Warning! SPOILERS for Young Justice season 4, episode 8

A recent episode of Young Justice showed that Superman is all too human when it comes to facing a problem like explaining death to his son, Jonathan. This is a common theme in many classic Superman stories, as there are few things that can challenge Superman on a physical level. This is why most writers opt to have Superman struggles to deal with emotional challenges that he can’t simply superpower his way through.

A subplot in the Young Justice season 4 episode “I Know Why the Caged Cat Sings” centered around the Kent family, as Superman, his wife Lois Lane, and their son visited Clark’s parents at their farm in Smallville. When Martha Kent asked Jonathan if he was ready for dinner, Jonathan innocently asked if his Uncle Conner would be joining them. An awkward silence followed, as the adults looked to one another and thought about Conner Kent, aka Superboy, who had died earlier in Young Justice season 4.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

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It was revealed that Lois and Clark had tried talking to Jonathan about Superboy’s tragic death at some point, but the innocent toddler didn’t fully grasp what they had discussed. Jonathan thought that Connor “passing away” meant that Superboy had just “passed by them” on the way to somewhere else. Jonathan also concluded that, since Connor’s dog Wolf was at the Kent farm, Superboy most be close by. This led to Clark Kent struggling to explain everything about how Superboy had been killed and that death meant that Conner “doesn’t breathe anymore, he doesn’t play anymore and we don’t get to spend time with him anymore.” Martha Kent was quick to add that they believed they would see Conner again someday, but the conversation was still incredibly upsetting to the young boy.

Young Justice Crying Clark Kent Superman

The conversation was more upsetting to Superman, however, who was in tears later when Lois found him later on the porch at the Kent farm. Beyond the difficulties Clark experienced in introducing his son to one of the harsh truths of life, he still blamed himself for Conner’s death and thought he might have saved him had he gotten there five minutes sooner. Ever practical, Lois pointed out that if Clark had been there, the kryptonite that killed Conner (kryptonite that had been left by a mysterious time traveler, who might be the Legion of Superheroes villain, the Time Trapper) would have killed him, too. Regardless, Superman still felt tremendous guilt over how he had treated Conner ten years earlier, having been slow to trust the young man for being a clone made by Lex Luthor.

While Superman is not the main character of Young Justice, these brief scenes showed that the series’ writers have a tremendous insight into his character. For all of the power Superman has, he continually feels that he isn’t doing enough to help people in general and fears neglecting his loved ones. It is moments such as these that have given Young Justice a devout following — that have previously resurrected the series from cancellation and that seem to ensure the cult hit animated series sees a season 5.

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