In the wake of revealing his secret identity to the world, young Kenan Kong must now deal with the consequences of his actions in New Super-Man #3. Is it good?
New Super-Man #3 (DC Comics)
New Super-Man #3 opens in the moments after the previous issue’s climax. Having just revealed his secret identity to the world, Kenan Kong almost gives up the identities of his teammates in the process of introducing the Justice League of China. It’s a scene that sets the tone for the rest of the issue.
From that opening scene forward, Gene Luen Yang’s script is full of humor, taking full advantage of Kenan’s youthful exuberance and contrasting it with the seriousness of his teammates. While Kenan is just excited to have the world’s attention (even if that means people like Batman and Lex Luthor are watching), his teammates wisely reel him in. Yang also takes the time to show some of the consequences of Kenan’s actions as his father must now go on the run, while Dr. Omen has to deal with the political aftermath of the team’s big reveal.
A criticism of previous issues had been that the “of China” elements and characters had not been given enough time to come into their own as characters beyond simply being a parody. With New Super-Man #3, however, the new characters are allowed to come into their own in a scene where they discuss the supervillain attacks of the previous issues. Baixi, the Bat-Man, especially benefits from this as this is the first time both Kenan and readers have seen him without his mask. A clear physical opposite of the dashing Bruce Wayne, Baixi displays a sharp intellect and focus on the mission, while Kenan learns to hold his tongue a bit. Through communicating with his teammates, Kenan begins to emerge from his cocky shell, though not completely. It’s a nice development that feels earned.
This scene also highlights the strengths of artist Viktor Bogdanovic, whose artwork continues to be stellar. Early in the issue, there’s a sense of adventure as Bat-Man’s vehicle changes form (much to Kenan’s surprise) as it goes from air to water, and Bogdanovic is able to create a sense of adventure in those panels. In the rooftop scene, however, Bogdanovic is able to show off the expressiveness in his characters. From Kenan’s dejected attitude to Baixi’s intensity, Bodganovic is able to make these characters come alive, and inker Richard Friend makes sure that every detail Bogdanovic draws is brought out perfectly.
Hi-Fi’s colors are equally spectacular, capturing the adventurous tone of the book in his colorful palette. The more vibrant colors capture Kenan’s attitude early on and when the book’s subject matter intensifies, the palette shifts ever so slightly to more washed out colors, giving the book a more serious tone.
Is It Good?
New Super-Man #3 is the best entry in the series thus far. Between Gene Luen Yang’s humorous script and the thrilling artwork by Bogdanovic, Friend, and Hi-Fi, the issue is the most exciting to read and the most human. And with a few subplots developing, New Super-Man feels like a series that has found its stride after getting off the starting blocks.