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Jay Nakamura

Jay Nakamura is a student at Metropolis College, hacktivast, and a refugee of the fictional island country of Gamorra. In its first mention in Stormwatch #40 (October, 1996) the country was originally known as Parousia and the name change happened after Kaizen Gamorra and his two brothers seized power. In current continuity the country is now ruled by Henry Bendix who is also tied to the original Stormwatch and Authority series.

Nakamura is a major in the college’s media department. At the same time he’s a reporter working for a web news cast called The Truth where he speaks out about conditions facing Gamorran citizens caused by its repressive government. Nakamura relies on a persona to disguise his identity to avoid the possibility of retaliation from Bendix. His dedication to media and outgoing personality will put him on the campus grounds looking to sign up students for the media department which has him crossing paths with Jonathan Kent, also disguised as “Finn Connor”, a persona created by Oracle and Batman for Kent to use since the decision made by his father, Superman, to reveal his Clark Kent secret identity creates complications for having a personal life.

Writer Tom Taylor has given the character a sense of fairness in addition to a dedication to truth and honesty. When Kent’s “Connor” identity is accidentally blown rescuing Jay from being shot, Jay then decides to reveal to Jonathan that he too relies on a disguise as a reporter for the aforementioned Truth. This decision also shows that Nakamura trusts Jonathan with his secret which in turn implies he has a keen ability to sense people’s character if we consider how even simple daily experiences can put an immigrant in jeopardy. The trust underlying this confession can be taken as mutual when in issue #3 Jonathan interrupts talking with his father to answer a call for help from Jay. Connecting the dots between Jay’s disclosure in issue #2 and the call in #3 could hint at the two having met again off panel, that is assuming that phone numbers weren’t exchanged immediately after Jay’s admission.

A sense of responsibility is also seen when Taylor has Jay attempting to “return a favor” Jonathan did by standing up to Metropolis police who were instructed to arrest the Gamorran refugees recently brought to Metropolis after being rescued from drowning at sea. Lois Lane is his hero and inspiration and as typically self assured and talkative as Jay is, he’s awe struck and speechless when he meets her at a Kent family dinner to which he was invited by Superman Sr. The scene with the invitation and meeting reads like bringing a boyfriend home to meet the parents.

At this time any of the character’s backstory Taylor may have fleshed out remains to be told. However, a couple things can be teased out based on his being a refugee. First, that he escaped an oppressive regime indicates he must be tenacious and resourceful. Secondly, his drives for the truth and to be a reporter implies he’s either witnessed or experienced injustice, inequality, and abuse as well as other tools used for intimidating and controlling people on both micro and macro scales. In Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 Tom Taylor shows a connection between Jay and Wink and the Aerie, two characters who debuted in Taylor’s too short Suicide Squad series of 2020.

At the end of Superman: Son of Kal-El #4, Jon is ambushed in a rather surprising and indirect way by Henry Bendix, the dictator of the island nation of Gamorra from which Jay has escaped, His powers are temporarily amplified, but it comes at the potential cost of causing harm, death, and destruction if extreme caution isn’t practiced, as well as the very real cost of becoming exhausted as the amplification begins to fluctuate. Worn out and drained, Jon collapses into a deep nine hour sleep on Jay’s sofa. The combination of factors over the previous issues, furtive glances, Jon’s internal monologs, the Kent family dinner (especially at his father’s suggestion) and the subsequent destruction of the Kent home, seeing Jay’s enthusiastic geeky and then shy reactions to meeting Lois, and the realization that Jay can take care of himself thanks to having his own power set, accumulates so that Jon feels emotionally safe with and cared for by Jay. The vulnerability sparks a feeling in Jon, leading to a kiss with Jay who’s rather pleased by the intimacy. Future issues will reveal how this relationship unfolds.

Jay reveals he has the power to become intangible in Superman: Son of Kal-El #4. Why and how Jay has this power, or possibly others, remains to be told.

Nakamura first appears in Superman: Son of Kal-El # 2. It should be noted that Taylor has not yet defined (and might not) Nakamura’s sexuality with a label.

Read Superman: Jonathan Kent’s profile here.

Created by Tom Taylor and John Timms. Art by Travis Moore and Tamra Bovillain from their variant cover to Superman: Son of Kal-El #5.

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November 19, 2021
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