Superman’s dad has stepped up to fill one of Gotham City’s most important roles

It’s been nearly three years since Alfred Pennyworth died, a casualty of Bane’s war on Gotham in the final acts of Tom King’s Batman run, and the effects of his murder have been felt far and wide. Nightwing is pouring the inheritance Alfred left him into free public services in his hometown of Blüdhaven. Robin is still struggling with the guilt of indirectly causing his death. And Batman hasn’t been able to find a replacement for his foster father’s particular brand of no-nonsense support.

But in this week’s Superman: Son of Kal-El #11, Superman’s adopted father steps into the role for at least a moment. Kansas farmer Jonathan Kent misses Alfred, too. He and his wife used to speak with him regularly, comparing notes on how to parent adult superhero sons. That means one very important thing: Jonathan knows all of Batman’s business.

And just like Alfred, he is prepared to roast him to the ground about it.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Image: Tom Taylor, Cian Tormey/DC Comics

Batman has brought Jonathan’s grandson Jon to the family’s safe house in order to tell him that he can’t trust his new boyfriend, and Jonathan has something to say about this style of Batcopter parenting. (Also, Batman’s mug says “WORLD’S BEST MOM.”)

A man looks out on an altered and chaotic city street, at sights like a giant man, UFOs, giant robots, a man riding a dinosuar, a flying car, and a monster truck full of gold in Eight Billion Genies #1 (2022).

Image: Charles Soule, Ryan Browne/Image Comics

If you caught our summer comics preview you already know this, but Eight Billion Genies is about the chaos that ensues when every one of the eight billion humans on planet earth is simultaneously offered one genie wish. The twist is that the story will be jumping forward in time in increasingly big leaps: eight seconds after the genies arrived, eight minutes, eight hours, etc., for eight issues. I’m dying to know what this world is like eight centuries after all this.

A dinosaur man with scales in the colors of Aquaman’s costume brandishes a trident as he yells a challenge, riding a giant crab, surrounded by other fearsome sea creatures in Jurassic League #1 (2022).

Image: Juan Gedeon, Daniel Warren Johnson/DC Comics

Look, there is one best image from Jurassic League #1, and it’s Batsaur’s tragic origin story, but if there’s a runner-up, it’s probably this Aquaman Dinosaur’s entire deal.

The Watcher, a robed figure with an enormous bald head, sits in a riotous crowd of aliens, eating a bowl of popcorn in Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War #1 (2022).

Image: Donny Cates, Martin Coccolo/Marvel Comics

A hat tip to writer Donny Cates and artist Martin Coccolo on telegraphing the tone of their Hulk vs. Thor punch-stravaganza on the very first page, with this full spread of the Watcher with a bowl of popcorn.

Three grim reapers, one a petite goth woman, another a skinny punk man, and a black man in an Elizabethan era coat and cravat, discuss how the woman has lost her scythe with the dread of low-level employees who’ve screwed up on the job in Grim #1 (2022).

Image: Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano/Boom Studios

Grim is a workplace comedy about grim reapers, and as a one-time fan of Dead Like Me, I think that’s neat.

Mojo, an awful yellow man with a bulbous body, spindly limbs, and wires and cords for hair, bends to speak to his lawyer, an extremely tiny suit-wearing man who has an oyster for a head in X-Men #11 (2022).

Image: Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

I’m sure there were some events that happened in this week’s issue of X-Men, but all were eclipsed for me by this tiny oyster-headed lawyer man and his tiny briefcase. He is now my favorite comic book character.

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