- "You're the answer, son. You're the answer to are we alone in the Universe?"
- —Jonathan Kent, to a teenage Clark
Jonathan Kent (1951 – April 19, 1997) was a farmer from Smallville, Kansas. One of the many generations of Kent farmers, in 1980, he and his wife Martha found a spaceship containing Kal-El, whom they adopted and named "Clark" after his wife's maiden name.
Jonathan raised the boy with strong moral standards as he began to develop extraordinary powers, which he ultimately died to keep secret during a tornado, knowing that the man his son was destined to become would one day change the world.
Jonathan was born in Smallville, Kansas in 1951 as part of a family that had been farmers for several generations.
When Jonathan was young, Smallville was hit with a heavy rainstorm that brought a great flood. He and his father built a blockade to send the water upstream and thus protect the Kent Farm. Jonathan believed that he had saved his family's farm, and his mother baked him a cake to celebrate. However, the Kents soon realized that, while they had diverted the flood away from their farm, they inadvertently caused the Lang Farm to be flooded. Afterward, Jonathan had nightmares about the Langs' drowning horses.
Jonathan and Martha eventually took over the Kent Farm and ran it together, but they were unable to have children of their own.
One night in 1980, an alien spacecraft crash-landed in one of the Kents' cornfields. Investigating, the couple found the spaceship and a newborn baby, whom they took in and named "Clark" after Martha's maiden surname.
As Clark grew up, he developed a strong bond with Jonathan and also many incredible abilities. Fearing how others would react to this, Jonathan instilled in Clark the need to hide his abilities. He was also very overprotective of his son, despite the latter's abilities.
One time during Clark's childhood, Jonathan, while working on his truck, proudly watched his son play in the garden, wearing a scarlet cape.
Revealing Clark's Heritage to Him
When Clark was 13 and used his powers to save his classmates after their bus fell into a river, Jonathan, along with Martha, tried to dismiss Helen Ross's claims of Clark's amazing feat. He then promptly went outside to speak with Clark, reminding him that he couldn't reveal the "special side of [himself]" to anybody. Jonathan was, however, morally torn when Clark asked if he should've let his classmates die instead.
He then decided to finally reveal to Clark his origins and took the boy into the barn, where he showed Clark the latter's ship, before reassuring Clark that he would always be his son, regardless of him having another father who had given him another name. He then gave Clark the House of El Command Key that came with him and said that he had been trying to figure out why Clark was sent to them, then encouraged Clark to find out this reason, even if it took him the rest of his life to do so.
Teaching Clark Life Lessons
Sometime later, Jonathan took Clark with him to Sullivan's Truck & Tractor Repair. Clark waited in the truck, reading a book by Plato, until a group of kids led by Kenneth Braverman ganged up on him and pulled him out of the truck. Jonathan's presence, however, scared them off. After Pete Ross helped Clark to his feet and left, Jonathan asked Clark if the boys hurt him. He then reminded Clark that someday, when he was older, he would have to decide whether or not to reveal himself to the world. Regardless, Jonathan assured Clark that he would eventually become a man that would change the world.
When Clark was 17, the whole family was out on a drive and got stuck on a highway in traffic. Jonathan argued with Clark about the farm, which lead to Clark angrily rejecting the Kents as his parents. Despite Martha's shocked reaction, Jonathan conceded the point, though he insisted that he and Martha had done the best they could to raise Clark, but before he could elaborate further, a large tornado began sweeping across the area.
The Kents evacuated the car, and Jonathan told his son to get Martha to safety under a nearby bridge as he went to help a mother and her child. Clark took the child off of Jonathan and returned her to her mother while Jonathan went back to rescue Hank, who was left in the truck, breaking his foot in the process, as a car crashed on top.
Realizing that Clark was about to save him and reveal his powers to the people standing by and to the world at large, Jonathan held up his hand, signaling his son not to save him, as Jonathan was swept away to his death.
Jonathan was subsequently buried in the Smallville Cemetery next to his brother. Shortly after this tragic period, Clark left Smallville, finally heeding his late father's words, now determined to discover his birth name, heritage, and the reason he was sent to Earth.
Jonathan's prediction of Clark having to make the choice about revealing himself, as well as that of Clark changing the world as Superman, both came true. Due to the extraordinary heroics that Superman demonstrated while saving Earth from General Zod and the Sword of Rao, Clark was ultimately accepted and greatly respected by most of the people of Earth (with Metropolis' citizens even building a massive statue in Superman's honor), something Jonathan had feared wouldn't happen. Before moving to Metropolis and applying for a job at the Daily Planet, Clark and Martha remembered Jonathan fondly, with Martha assuring him that her husband had always seen the hero that Clark was destined to become.
After the Bombing of United States Capitol, Clark decided to withdraw from humanity and began walking in the Arctic. There, he encountered a vision of Jonathan building a pile of rocks. Jonathan spoke with Clark, telling him a story of how, when he was younger, there was a flood in Smallville and he, along with his father, diverted it from the Kent Farm, believing he was a hero when, in reality, it flooded the Langs' farm instead, and that it was Martha who helped him cope with the trauma as she was his world. Jonathan then disappeared after telling Clark that he missed him.
Jonathan was an honest man who always believed in ethics and honesty, and he loved Clark very much. Despite Clark being practically invincible, he was very overprotective of his adopted son, fearing that the world wouldn't accept Clark the way he and Martha did and that his presence on Earth would change everything. Ultimately, Jonathan was so adamant to not to reveal Clark's secret to the world that he died protecting it.
- Man of Steel: Friends and Foes (First appearance)
- Man of Steel: The Early Years
- Man of Steel: The Fate of Krypton
- Man of Steel: Superman Saves Smallville
- Man of Steel: Superman's Superpowers
- Man of Steel Prequel
- Man of Steel
- Man of Steel (Novel)
- Guide to the Caped Crusader/Guide to the Man of Steel: Movie Flip Book
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Kevin Costner played a farmer in the film Field of Dreams.
- Jonathan married Martha on October 21, 1973, at the age of 22.
- Jonathan died in 1997 at the age of 46.
- Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe, the actors for Clark/Kal-El's fathers, have both played Robin Hood in the films Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Robin Hood, respectively.