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The Kents Paperback – January 1, 2000
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The Kents recounts Superman's adopted family's settlement in Kansas in the 1860s. Told against the backdrop of the Civil War and the western expansion movement, this book tells the epic tale of Nathaniel and Jebediah Kent, two brothers divided by personal and political differences. Featuring cameos by some of the most popular figures of the time including Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James and George Custer, this volume is an excellent representation of the issues and events of that turbulent era.
Top customer reviews
Basically we get to learn here what made the Kent family this paragon of hope that was passed down to their son from another world.
Set in the backdrop of America's near destruction over the issue of slavery leading towards the Civil War and the Wild West, the Kent family was set up in the East but it eventually settled in Kansas. While Kansas today may be the epitome of American values whether its in the rural prairies or the wonderful cities. During the mid 1800s it was rife with war and crime. Silas Kent decides to take his sons to fight slavery as well as make a new home alongside his two sons Nathaniel and Jebediah.
I have to admit the best thing about reading this is that its all a great Western. No superpowers necessary to tell a great story of adventure. I have to admit this was truly a great read, since I love American History at this age it was great having the fictional Kent family meet up with such legends. Jeb joining Quantrill's Raiders and Jesse James. Nathaniel meeting with Buffalo Bill and George Custer. There is also a nice reference to Jonah Hex, which I found great. Though it could have been bigger.
The Kent men were pretty amazing. Nathaniel being the better man than Jeb. But still there is plenty of good and bad of each. Wonderful story. A-
This is not a tale about Superman, but instead of Clarks Earthly family history. Nice change of pace.
The Kents by John Ostrander, Timothy Truman and Tom Mandrake is one of the finest recent examples of what the comics medium can do when it sets out to do something special. The Kents is a historical fiction. It sweeps across the years of the 19th century from the peak of the Abolitionist movement to the taming of the west. The primary characters are the Kent family, the fictional ancestors of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Superman's adoptive parents. But you'll find little of Superman, Lex Luther or anything of Metropolis in this tale.
The story is guided by correspondence between Jonathan and Clark Kent. Jonathan has uncovered a volume of letters and journals from his ancestors that chronicle their family history and he's relating his findings to his son, Clark (yes, *that* Clark Kent) with letters of his own.
Silas Kent brings his two sons, Nathaniel and Jebediah, to Lawrence, Kansas, where they set up a printing press and fight for the abolition of slavery. What follows is an intense and emotional journey of this family. History is not kind to them. In the process, they experience the Civil War and the raging chaos of the Wild West. Along the way, we meet historical figures like the violent abolitionist, John Brown, Wild Bill Hickok, George Armstrong Custer, Jesse James and the James Gang and dozens more figures who made history in this era.
The art is superb. The Kents is actually a collection of a 12-issue monthly series. The first eight chapters are illustrated by Tim Truman, no stranger to western comics having drawn several recent Jonah Hex series, also for DC Comics, and his own Scout, the story of a Native American character. The last four chapters cover the years after the Civil War and the opportunity to change the pace is met by illustrator Tom Mandrake, whose skill in working with darkness and facial expressions is virtually unmatched in the comics industry.
Writer Ostrander obviously did his research on this series. You'd think he was born to write westerns. Having had the opportunity to correspond with Ostrander while working as a comics industry journalist, I know that he didn't even like westerns until his late wife, Kim Yale, got him hooked on them! Many thanks for pushing her husband in the right direction. Ostrander has gone on to write other excellent western comics, such as Marvel's Blaze of Glory.
The Kents transcends what most people think of what comic books are capable of. Me, I've known it all along and hope that you pick up this book and find out for yourself!
When I read it, I understood his absorption, and also why it took longer to read than most comics. First, there is a LOT of history squeezed into the book. While I agree with one reviewer that it strains credulity that the Kent family should encounter practically EVERY important historic personage of the period, I felt that it made excellent dramatic sense. As a homeschooler, I loved how it summarized the historic period for my son. Yes, it is a bit violent, but appropriate to the subject matter. There is no gratuitous violence; rather, the characters and events demonstrate the value of human life and decry the lives lost to war and prejudice.
The book is thought-provoking. The art is superb. All of the artists are wonderful; the change of artists did not bother me in the least. The fictitious Kent characters were well-rounded, much less one-dimensional than most comic book characters. I was heavily invested in the story of Nathaniel by 3/4 of the way through; I literally couldn't put the book down because I wanted to find out what happened to them!